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Diamonds from a Distance: 6 Tips for Surviving and Thriving Through COVID-19

Clients care about sustainability, meaning and connection.

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SOCIALLY, WE REMAIN in the grips of COVID-19. After nine dark months, the hope of a working vaccine is certainly closer. But the extent to which we can reduce our activity remains advantageous to ourselves, to our neighbors, and to our communities at large.

Economically, the debate around whether we’re inside or beyond the COVID-19 market is less certain. Downturns and volatility in the market have existed hand in hand with staggered job recovery and success in certain sectors. But the retail industry was one of the hardest hit during the economic shut down, and continues to absorb the ongoing market shock. And within the industry, jewelry is bearing more than its fair share of the COVID-19 fallout.

The threat of a third wave and a COVID-ridden winter introduces even more instability regarding both corporate practices and consumer purchase decisions. Whether or not we’ve seen the worst of the rampant coronavirus, the time for jewelry professionals to actively recover revenue is now. Below are six crucial places to begin.

1. Lead with Meaning

Financial trepidation among consumers is well documented and expected to continue. In a slow economy, emotional meaning is the real unit of value. People have been destabilized. They’ve lived through one of the defining events of our generation. The need for fast fashion jewelry has diminished. But the desire has never been higher to invest in significant pieces, jewelry that holds emotional value that can be kept in the family for generations. Understand the emotional value of your brand, and make it part of every conversation.

2. Don’t Forget to Sweep Your Storefront

Among consumer changes that are expected to outlast the pandemic, the move to online shopping is a big one. For at least the next six to nine months, your online store will be your main client touchpoint. Having high quality product images and an intuitive, engaging virtual experience is as or more important than your physical display.

3. The Rise of the Jewelry Concierge

The concierge approach is gaining popularity in the industry as a way to further connect with clients and better fulfill their need for meaning. As you continue adapt your business plan, consider customized offerings for high spending clients that want to engage in a more personal experience. Whether there are options to upgrade engagement rings or design new pieces with an expert from your team, it’s a great way to invest in your relationships and offer your clients a higher quality, more memorable experience.

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4. Keep Community in Mind

Campaigns that involve community-based philanthropy are faring much better than those that focus only on sales. Uplifting local businesses, helping nearby shelters and giving back to frontline workers are among consumers’ top priorities. If collaborating with your brand can help them do that, they’re more inclined to give you their business and put their dollar toward their community.

5. Move Toward Sustainability

Having breathed the clean air and seen starry skies for perhaps the first time, sustainability is becoming a new market minimum. Environmentally sustainable brands, especially those that emphasize their eco-neutrality, are already performing better than their peers. It’s a step in the right direction that’s quickly becoming a consumer demand. Any action you take toward sustainability will have ripple effects, both economically and environmentally.

6. Avoid Silence at All Costs

More than ever before, it’s important to keep the conversation going across all touch points of your business. This can and should be an effort independent of your sales. Email campaigns that offer client incentives, social media that prioritizes connection and relatability, and a CRM module or chat bot that facilitates easy and accessible customer support, all of these are crucial. Make sure to maintain active avenues for client feedback — a good conversation is a two-way street.

There will come a day when a vaccine is made available, the economy has had time to stabilize and recover, and the worst of COVID-19 will be inarguably behind us. With investments in these areas, it’s a day your brand will live to see.

Yasemin Mutlu is the founder and managing partner of Hestia Jewels, an ethical and affordable fine jewelry brand. Hestia takes its name from the Greek goddess of hearth, architecture, home, and family. Yasemin studied gemology and diamonds at the Gemological Institute of America and is committed to the artisanal craftsmanship of conflict-free, luxury pieces for men and women.

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Retirement Made Easy with Wilkerson

The store was a landmark in Topeka, Kansas, but after 80 years in business, it was time for Briman’s Leading Jewelers to close up shop. Third generation jeweler and owner Rob Briman says the decision wasn’t easy, but the sale that followed was — all thanks to Wilkerson. Briman had decided a year prior to the summer 2020 sale that he wanted to retire. With a pandemic in full force, he had plenty of questions and concerns. “We had no real way to know if we were going to be successful or have a failure on our hands,” says Briman. “We didn’t know what to expect.” But with Wilkerson in charge, the experience was “fantastic” and now there’s plenty of time for relaxing and enjoying a more secure retirement. “I would recommend Wilkerson to any retailer considering a going-out-of-business sale,” says Briman. “They’ll help you reach your financial goal. Our experience was a tremendous success.”

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