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David Geller

David Geller: Take Control of the Ring-Sizing Situation

Train your staff to be the experts when it comes to assisting customers choosing a size for their new ring.

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I RECENTLY HAD A client ask about ring sizing. “Our shop sees a lot of rings come back for a second and third ring sizing and this eats into our shop’s profits,” the store owner wrote, before explaining how diligent he had been about buying ring sticks that matched perfectly with new sizers. They even made 2mm wide and 4mm wide sizers in silver themselves. But still the comebacks continued. They needed help.

We had the same problem in our store and we found top-heavy rings to be the main culprit, along with sales staff who weren’t “strong enough.”

Here’s what we did: We bought a 12×10 oval gemstone mounting, made a rubber mold of it and cast them in silver. While in wax we etched on the shank side edge its size, i.e. 3, 3.5, 4, 4.5 up to size 12. That’s 24 rings. Then after casting, we used one of those “new” mandrels and sized them exactly to match the mandrel in size.

Smoky quartz is inexpensive so we bought 24 pieces and set them into the silver mountings. After polishing we bought a tray that held 24 rings and placed it under the main showcase where we took in most repairs.

We made our own sets of ring sizers, which, along with some training, greatly decreased the sizing redos. We then made the same set with open-underneath dome rings. A 2mm completely flat and round ring is not a ring shape many people wear. So, in addition to being top-heavy, the rings are hollow.

A size 6 flat band has a hard time going over a knuckle if it’s a tight fit. But a size 6 hollow underneath (like a dome ring) goes over easily because part of the ring has no surface to struggle with so the customer’s knuckle slides up into that area and goes on more easily. So a hollow underneath size 6 ring might fit better once on if it was a size 5-3/4 or maybe a loose 5-1/2. But with a 2mm flat sizer you’d never be able to determine that.

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Then we also made in silver a set of 10mm wide on top, narrowed to 6mm wide on bottom flat bands.

Next step was teaching the sales staff how to be more aggressive. It took us almost two years to get this project done. Two years! I know, but it was well worth it in reducing comebacks (although I accept that with the right mindset you could do it much faster).

Passive sales staff are a problem area that can’t be overlooked.

Have you ever noticed this scenario when you size a customer’s ring?

You take a sizer you think is the right size and ask the customer to stick out her finger.

You start to slide the sizer over the first part of the knuckle and there’s an ever so slight struggle there.

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The customertakes the sizer out of your hands and she pushes it over her knuckle.

If it’s too much struggle over the knuckle, she says, “Let’s try a little bigger.”

That one goes over more easily. Now the customer has made the decision what size to make the ring, not you, the expert.

Then you get comebacks due to “It’s too tight” or “Look, the ring turns now?” The customer went for comfort over the knuckle when in truth she should have been more concerned about comfort once the ring was actually on the back part of the finger.

The customer thinks you’re the expert. So act as one.

When the customer would try to take the ring sizer from us, we’d stop her. “No, it’s important for me to see how well the sizer goes over your knuckle.” I’d then take the sizer back and see how it slides over her knuckle. It’s a big help having a top-heavy ring (like the smokey quartz sizer) tilt after the ring is on the finger. Even so, you need to see how it fits. (Ring sizing is much more a learned art than a science.)

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“Look, it turns. I don’t want it to turn!”

“OK, so let’s try a 1/2 size smaller.”

Now comes the salesmanship part of ring sizing.

“I clocked it, Mrs. Jones. It took 3.5 seconds to go over the knuckle, but the ring fits better once on. Don’t you agree that 3.5 seconds over the knuckle is better so that it feels comfortable for the rest of your 12-hour day?” Of course the answer is yes.

If we determined the size, we’d then provide a guarantee for 30 days only that the customer would like the fit.

If the customer insisted that we size the ring to a size she determined was better, we told her: “Let me tell you our guarantee policy. If we determine the size and it’s wrong, we’ll size it again at no charge. If the customer tells us what size to make it and it’s wrong, we’d charge again.” On the job envelope we wrote, “No guarantee on ring size — customer requests.”

Did we completely eliminate wrong sizings? No, but we greatly reduced them.

Remember, the customer didn’t come to you to get a ring sized; she wanted you to help her make her ring fit comfortably.

When it starts to slow down in the shop it’s a perfect time to start making your own ring-sizing solutions. Even without them, taking control can solve many of your sizing problems.

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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