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David Geller: How To Make Money Giving Away Dogs

Want to make a lot of money? Give away dead merchandise.

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This idea came from a jeweler I visited who’s a great marketer and understands what “dead merchandise” is. Anything over 1 year old is dead. REAL DEAD is anything over 3 to 5 years old. Decomposing inventory is anything more than 7 years old.

You may be like this jeweler and me — raised on the bench and with a love of gemstones. We buy gemstones because they are beautiful and we hope we sell them for a great margin. We hope. We pray.

I’m betting you have boxes and trays of loose colored gems you’ve had for centuries. They don’t move. This is what this jeweler did, and he had a fantastic weekend:

He gathered all his old stones to give away, from $10 amethysts to $800 emeralds. Yes, even emeralds! (Sorry to break it to you, but a 5-year-old emerald is worthless. If it were to sell for $800 for a profit of $400, then selling it just once a year would bring in $2,000 (5 x $400) in profit. Selling it for $800 today effectively loses you $1,200. So just GIVE IT AWAY.)

He put each gem in a small plastic foam case, tagged on the back with the gem’s name, weight and retail price.

He went out and bought gift bags and gift paper to stuff inside the bags so they would stand up while also looking very colorful.

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He dropped one boxed gem in each bag (although you can’t see it, it’s lying at the bottom of the bag).

He placed these bags with their gems on the showroom floor on the customer’s side right in front of the showcases. They looked like poinsettias at Christmas time.

This jeweler had a lot of blank mountings and remounts that had had their center stones removed. He polished them and put them in the showcase along with a retail price.

Then he sent out a mailer to his customer list, saying something like this:

“Because we love you as a customer we are giving away free gemstones this week, Wednesday through Saturday. No catches! They are all in grab bags. Everything from $10 amethysts to $1,000 emeralds, rubies and sapphires. You get one chance to grab a bag and see what you’ve been given. Again, no purchase is necessary, we just love our customers. Only while supplies last.” (Of course, with Facebook/Twitter/email blasts today you could do even better.)

The placed was mobbed. Many people just grabbed a bag and left. Some took a bag, looked at the stone and said “Citrine just isn’t me.” And the store let them try just once more.

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A whole bunch of people decided to sit down and have their free stones remounted. The store had some mountings in the case and also did some custom designing.

The result? By giving away dead merchandise, the store did over $88,000 in remounting and design jobs in just four days.

But of course YOU don’t have any old gems, do you?

David Geller is a 14th-generation bench jeweler who produces The Geller Blue Book To Jewelry Repair Pricing. David is the “go-to guy” for setting up QuickBooks for a jewelry store. Reach him at [email protected].

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