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Editor's Note

Considering a Big Risk? Make Sure It’s Personally Rewarding

Those are the gambles most likely to pay off.

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IN THE PAST, the prevailing business wisdom was that risk-taking should leverage new technologies, evolving consumer preferences or organizational assets. One aspect that experts rarely, if ever, advised business owners to consider was the personal vision and strengths of the owners themselves. Yet that’s what many retail jewelry store owners are now using as the driving factor behind their big business risks.

This issue’s lead story examines the motivations (and results) behind the gambles taken by several store owners. One, executed by the husband-and-wife team of Steve and Melissa Quick, shrunk a three-store Chicago chain to a single store based on a desire for more “authenticity,” which translated into more product with stories they believed in, as well as more face time with customers. Another, a cross-country venture that required Pennsylvania store owner Cathy Calhoun to split time in Carmel, CA, was simply a result of the owner’s desire to live and work in that state. In the case of Leitzel’s Jewelry, the decision was made to open another location in a nearby market largely based on family dynamics.

Because independent jewelry stores are generally “family-owned” by a few people at most, it only makes sense that the biggest risks taken by these businesses should consider the personal vision of ownership as a primary factor.

What dreams have you been putting off? Now may be the perfect time to take that leap.

Considering a Big Risk? Make Sure It’s Personally Rewarding

Trace Shelton

Editor-in-Chief, INSTORE
[email protected]

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Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

  1. Encourage word-of-mouth with a sign near your exit that reads, “Don’t forget to tell your friends about us!” (Manager’s To-Do, p. 30)
  2. Invite your customers to an “Appraisal Clinic” at your store, reminding them that insurance typically pays the most recent appraisal value. (Manager’s To-Do, p. 30)
  3. When taking a big risk, let staff know what’s going on, but don’t let them change your vision to suit their own preferences. (The Big Story, p. 38)
  4. Form a jewelry book club that meets every other month. (Tip Sheet, p. 52)
  5. Charge at least $100 for initial consultations on custom design, which can be applied to the finished piece. (Evan James Deutsch, p. 60)

Trace Shelton is the editor-in-chief of INSTORE magazine. He can be reached at [email protected].

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Celebrate Your Retirement with Wilkerson

For nearly three decades, Suzanne and Tom Arnold ran a successful business at Facets Fine Jewelry in Arlington, Va. But the time came when the Arnolds wanted to do some of the things you put off while you’ve got a business to run. “We decided it was time to retire,” says Suzanne, who claims the couple knew how to open a store, how to run a store but “didn’t know how to close a store.” So, they hired Wilkerson to do it for them. When she called, Suzanne says Wilkerson offered every option for the sale she could have hoped for. Better still, “the sale exceeded our financial goals like crazy,” she says. And customers came, not only to take advantage of the going-out-of-business buys and mark-downs, but to wish a bon voyage to the beloved proprietors of a neighborhood institution. “People were celebrating our retirement, and that was so special,” says says.

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