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Bridal Tool Kit

HOW TO MAKE MONEY: Here’s how to add another profit center to your business.



How can I test the waters in bridal?

Kathleen Cutler recommends beginning with a very slimmed down or custom offering. “It can be a great way to make sure you’re continuing to reach that millennial and younger audience,” she says. “Where an engagement ring is concerned, they usually they want it NOW. And then you have that opportunity to keep in touch with them over a lifetime.”

How can I get the word out that we specialize in bridal?

Find something high-profile that works for you. For decades, BC Clark Jewelers of Oklahoma City, OK, has given couples $5,000 refunds on their engagement rings if it rains or snows an inch or more on their wedding day. So far there have been 225 winners. Ramsey’s Diamond Jewelers in Metairie, LA, has had success with saturating the market with memorable radio ads. Zorells Jewelry, owned by Tim and Sharon Ell in Bismarck, ND, has a variety of cues on site, from the wedding bell tower that rings for every engagement and anniversary celebrated at the store to the rose garden with a wedding-chapel style gazebo where proposals and photo sessions take place. Ell also trademarked the line: “Zorells is where Bismarck goes to propose.”

Kanoff of Michael’s Jewelers covers all the bases. “I love social media because you can target customers looking for wedding bands, engagement rings or custom jewelry,” he says. His secret to success in 2020 was a continued focus on digital advertising, organic SEO and pay-per-click ads, as well as social media. Advertising isn’t limited to digital, though. He pays for billboards and print ads in local magazines. “Even though we were shut down for the pandemic, we never stopped advertising,” he says. “When we opened back up, we never sold so many engagement rings as we did in June, July and August. What we heard over and over again was, ‘We couldn’t wait for you guys to open back up.’”

When he asks customers what brought them in, nine times out of 10 the answer is Google search followed by reviews. Still, he’s committed to print and billboards as well. “Billboards plant seeds. The idea with bridal is to get your message out.”


What’s the best way to organize bridal cases?

“Imagine organizing your clothes closet at home in the order of the store in which you found that particular piece of clothing,” says consultant Larry Johnson. “Let’s see, I bought these six T-shirts, running shoes, belt and two dress shirt all at Target, so they go together here.” But that’s what jewelers do when they organize their bridal cases by vendor instead of by the way the customer shops. “If the customer is interested in a halo setting, why force them (and your salesperson) to move around to six different showcases all over the bridal section to look at halos from six different sources? Put them all in one case and make it easier on everyone.” An exception to this is the heavily branded items like Hearts On Fire or Tacori, where the brand itself is the motivating driver.

What’s the best way to engage with clients?

Before COVID-19 hit, Lauren Priori, owner of L Priori Jewelry in Philadelphia, already had operated by scheduling 90-minute appointments. She found she was better prepared for each customer, the customer was serious enough to make the time commitment, and as a result, her closing rate was high. When the pandemic did hit, Priori immediately pivoted to offer virtual appointments, but she also started an at-home try-on program for wedding bands. “We capture a deposit of $25, we let them select up to 10 bands, both men’s and women’s, and we nicely package up a box with a breakdown of each band on a line sheet. Clients keep the box for three to four days and ship it back on us. It drives sales and it’s a program we will continue to offer,” she says.

What’s an easy way to offer education virtually?

Cut Fine of Baton Rouge, LA, offers an Engagement Ring Buyers Guide e-book, downloadable from the website. It’s also a way to capture email addresses of those interested enough to download it.


How can I track trends?

Becky Bettencourt of Blue River Diamonds in Peabody, MA, spends time on Pinterest and Instagram and has a Google alert set to notify her when a celebrity gets engaged. She’s able to anticipate what customers will be coming in and asking for. “When I understand exactly what they are describing, it gives the customer a big confidence boost,” she says.

What’s important to women when it comes to engagement rings?

The appeal of a diamond shape to an individual seems instinctive, says jewelry designer Jade Lustig, who is founder and creative director of Jade Trau and a fifth generation diamantaire. If you’re selling a diamond ring, figure out which shape your customer is naturally attracted to. “A girl who wants an emerald cut doesn’t even see the other shapes,” Lustig says. “Her eyes glaze over.”

How can I stand out with diamonds?

Search out superior cut diamonds, possibly giving thought to your own store brand. “If you know how to sell cut, you can get a superior price and compete against the Internet,” says David Brown of the Edge Retail Academy. That is the strategy behind Cut Fine in Baton Rouge, LA, owned by Matthew and Evan Patton. Their goal is to sell the most well-cut diamonds they can find and showcase them in the highest quality settings they can buy or manufacture.




He Doubled His Sales Goals with Wilkerson

John Matthews, owner of John Michael Matthews Fine Jewelry in Vero Beach, Florida, is a planner. As an IJO member jeweler, he knew he needed an exit strategy if he ever wanted to g the kind of retirement he deserved. He asked around and the answers all seemed to point to one solution: Wilkerson. He talked to Rick Hayes, Wilkerson president, and took his time before making a final decision. He’d heard Wilkerson knew their way around a going out of business sale. But, he says, “he didn’t realize how good it was going to be.” Sales goals were “ambitious,” but even Matthews was pleasantly surprised. “It looks like we’re going to double that.”

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