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Do You Or Don't You?

Do You — Or Don’t You — Do You Actively Market Wedding Jewelry To The LGBT Community?

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Yes, I Do 26%

➤ I advertise on several LGBT websites and have had great results from doing so. I have received a few calls to advertise at LGBT events and I am in the process of reviewing the price for those events. — John DiEnna, JD3 Jewelry, Lansdowne, PA

➤ We call it our bridal and life partner gallery and have since 1999. Our bridal TV ads show all types of relationships. — Kate Pearce, Pearce Jewelers, West Lebanon, NH

➤ We have specific ads directed toward the LGBT community stressing tolerance and acceptance. Next year, we will attend an autumn Pride festival. — David Blitt, Troy Shoppe Jewellers, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

➤ Our Facebook posts reflect same-sex couples along with ads and posts appearing on Gayborhood. com. — Milton Doolittle, Benold’s Jewelers, Austin, TX

➤ We run Facebook advertising stressing “equality in love.” — Anne Marie Marker, Rolland’s Jewelers, Libertyville, IL

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➤ We attend LGBT fairs and have designs made for that community. They hate branded stuff. — Jennifer McFadden, Joel McFadden Designs, Red Bank, NJ

➤ We have a billboard, we are top-three rated in all SEO within 25 miles, and we advertise on social media. — Michael Kanoff, Michael’s Jewelers, Yardley, PA


No, I Don’t 74%

➤ I was one of the first jewelers in the country to actively court the LGBT community. We were selling “wedding” bands to them before any of them could get married. We marketed in all the local LGBT papers for years prior to legalized gay marriage in our state. However, over time, it no longer mattered. We could advertise normally and reach the gay community because once it was legalized and the community became more accepted, there wasn’t a need for LGBT-specific papers as much. — Daniel Spirer, Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, Cambridge, MA

➤ LGBT was always such a solid part of my customer base no special advertisement was required. Good reputation, acceptance and tolerance works. — Klaus Kutter, A Jour, Bristol, RI

➤ LGBT is only 2 percent of the population, so spending advertising money there would be mostly wasted. We openly work with all who come in, however. — Larry, Exum, Chandlee Jewelers, Athens, GA

➤ We don’t actively target any particular group for bridal. We are lucky to have many customers in the LGBTQ community and find that if you can make it a comfortable shopping experience for them, they will tell their friends that we are a judgment-free and trustworthy place to shop. — Casey Gallant, Stephen Gallant Jewelers, Orleans, MA

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➤ We have a nice LGBT trade, and it has spread via word of mouth. — Tom Duma, Thom Duma Fine Jewelers, Warren, OH

➤ We market to everyone equally. Romance is romance! — Teri Vogan, Vogan Gold & Silver Works, Colorado Springs, CO

This article originally appeared in the September 2016 edition of INSTORE.

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Do You Or Don't You?

Do You or Don’t You Send Holiday Cards to Clients? Here’s What Your Fellow Retailers Do

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Yes: 50%

“We have special Christmas cards printed that display either a piece of our handmade stock (a “wow” piece) or a picture taken of a local nature scene, sometimes with a picture on the front and back. Inside, we have printed the following: “One of the true joys of the holiday season is to reflect and say thank you and wish you the very best for the new year.” The entire staff signs each one and adds a personal message when appropriate. We then hand address all of our Christmas cards. We start at the first of the year addressing the envelopes and double-check them before sending them out from Dec. 5-10. I find it amazing the number of comments and sales that we get at Christmas and the following year. This year, we had one customer drive 200 miles in July and make a several thousand dollar purchase because of the card. We do not try to sell or use a commercial message because we feel that that would not be sincere. — Ed Menk, E.L. Menk Jewelers, Brainerd, MN

  • Personalized card (sometimes completely custom-designed), including a special offer (thank you coupon in the form of “store bucks”) in those going to a special segment of customers from the past year. — Jennifer Hornik Johnson, Miller’s Jewelry, Bozeman, MT
  • We mail out Starbucks’ $5 gift cards. — Ragnar Bertselsen, Ragnar Jewellers, Vancouver, BC
  • We rock it old-school … handwritten Christmas cards to our customers. We do not include an extra discount. We have discussed it, but came to agreement that we don’t want a holiday card to be a sales pitch. “We look forward to seeing you this holiday season.” — Mary Jo Chanski, Hannoush Jewelers, Rutland, VT
  • We send a large postcard wishing happy holidays and advertising our annual November sale to take advantage of discounted prices before Black Friday and the holidays. — Frank Salinardi, Linardi’s Jewelers, Plantation, FL
  • We send customized holiday cards each year to our top 250 customers. In addition, we make branded gifts with purchase for each holiday sale; last year, it was individually wrapped chocolates with product images and our logo on each one. — Jill Hornik, Jae’s Jewelers, Coral Gables, FL
  • When we are sending handwritten notes wishing people a happy holiday season, we do not include a commercial message. The purpose of the card is simply to let the client know that we are thinking about them and their families. There is a time and a place for a commercial message, and a holiday, birthday/anniversary, or thank you note is not one of them. — Michael Derby, D3 Diamonds and Fine Jewelry, Clermont, FL

No: 50%

  • We did for years and stopped maybe 10 years ago. It was replaced by our Ladies Night invitations and Men’s Night mailers … felt like too much mail in a short window of time. We do, however, send birthday, anniversary, and thank you cards throughout the year, always hand-addressed and written. — Mark Kasuba, M. Edward Jewelers, Pittsfield, MA
  • We used to send a card with a discount. But as years went by, it got lost in the muddle of all the year-end promotions coming from all the companies. Did not want our wishes to be seen as “junk mail.” — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA
  • Great idea, not enough hours in the day. — Janne Etz, Contemporary Concepts, Cocoa, FL
  • Such a waste of time and money. Plus, I do not get my customers’ information. I do not want such things, so I would not do that to my customers. — Craig C. Curtis, Belfast Jewelry, Belfast, ME
  • Specific holiday greetings are dangerous unless certainty about the customer’s faith is known. Non-specific holiday greetings have no more meaning than saying “good day.” — Gary Richmond, Van Horne & Co., Granger, IN
  • We don’t send out cards because almost all of our business is bridal, and we don’t want to blow the surprise by accident. — Chuck Kuba, Iowa Diamond, West Des Moines, IA
  • I base all of my email marketing on seasons, not holidays. — Annette Evans, RD Allen Freeport Jewelers, Freeport, ME
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Do You Or Don't You?

Here Are the Various Trade-In Policies That Our Brain Squad Offers on Diamonds

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THIS MONTH’S QUESTION: Do you allow customers to trade in their diamonds for bigger stones? 

Yes: 87%

If it is a diamond purchased from us, we buy it back at the price they paid to apply toward the next diamond. If it was purchased somewhere else, we will offer a percentage below wholesale (depending on the resaleability of the diamond). — Jennifer Farnes, Revolution Jewelry Works, Colorado Springs, CO

  • Yes. If the original diamond was purchased from us, we will allow it to be traded in. The original diamond must be a GIA or EGL stone and the new diamond must have a higher retail value. We will give full credit on the original purchase price. — Travis Piper, Piper Diamond Co., Vincennes, IN
  • On diamond studs, you get what you paid. If purchased many years ago, it could be more, but I do not go up to the current retail price. But I may give a bit more to loyal customers. We do the same on diamond pendants but discount the chain at today’s chain price and possibly the bail if worn. On loose diamonds used in engagement and anniversary rings, we give full trade value; what you paid for the diamond, you receive in credit, as long as there is no damage to the diamond. — Tom Nelson, Nelson Jewelry, Spencer, IA
  • Yes, if the stone is not chipped or damaged, and if it is over a half-carat and SI1 or better clarity. Often, because customers have paid way too much for poor quality stones; they expect too much trade-in value. I have to look at each “deal” on an individual basis, just as I look at each diamond as an individual, unique stone. I never say “no” to a customer without looking at what they propose. — Elizabeth Breon, Coast Jewelers, Florence, OR
  • We give them what they paid. I wish I had never started doing it. — James Pesis, Continental Diamond, Minneapolis, MN
  • First, it must be something I can use, with cut and clarity being foremost. As with any transaction, I need to be interested in what you have to trade. No clunkers here, thank you. I try to get at least 40 percent back of Rap as I try to be fair with the customer. — Mark A. Young, Mark A. Young Jewelers, Oxford, MI
  • We will buy back a diamond for what they paid for it, but they must spend at least 150 percent. Helps make the initial sale so that guys know they can upgrade down the line. — Mike Doland, Doland Jewelers, Davenport, IA
  • We give them full credit for their diamond purchase if it was from us, and we do not make them spend double the price — it can be any larger stone. — Joseph Delefano, Regency Jewelers, Rotterdam, NY
  • Clear 10 percent, beat the Internet and make them happy. — David Kammeraad, Preusser Jewelers, Grand Rapids, MI
  • Full credit for what they paid, more if the market has increased enough since original purchase. No restrictions or requirements as to what they spend on the new diamond. However, may not trade for a different shape of diamond without owner approval. — Richard Wilson, Wilson Diamonds, Provo, UT
  • Actually, it really depends on the quality of the stone. One does not want to insult their customer by offering a small trade-in allowance. I always say, “This is what I can offer you at this time.” — Laurie Cusher, Hyde Park Jeweler, Hyde Park, NY

No: 13%

  • We have never been and never intend to be a “diamond store”. Diamonds are part of the overall design. Engagement rings, especially for us, are intricate works of art. Not old hoopty cars that you swap parts out of. — Deric Metzger, DeMer Jewelry, Carlsbad, CA
  • I don’t do diamonds. — Janne Etz, Contemporary Concepts, Cocoa, FL
  • I said no only because we really don’t get this request. We probably would if we could make it work for both of us. — David Lindsay, Purdy’s Jewellery & Gems, Bobcaygeon, Ontario

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Do You Or Don't You?

Can You Afford to Close Your Store for Extended Time? Here’s What Other Jewelers Say

See what the Brain Squad says about taking time off.

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THIS MONTH’S QUESTION: Do you ever close your store for an extended period of time during the year?

Yes: 37%

  • We just gave our employees an extra long weekend. We all came back refreshed. Sometimes we close the day after Christmas, too. We used to joke that it was to avoid returns, but it is more to just relax one more day after the crazy season. Julie Terwilliger, Wexford Jewelers, Cadillac, MI
  • I find my customers are creatures of habit. They know our hours, and the one time I tried to deviate from them (by closing Mondays), it took years to convince them we were again open on Mondays. — Karen Schmitt, Straith’s Jewelers, Centralia, IL
  • We notified our customer list and had a big sale before we left. Had the best May ever! — Gordon Lawrie, Eidos, Santa Fe, NM
  • We close the week of July 4, and things usually take a week or so to pick back up, but I’m not so sure it isn’t just that time of the year and everyone taking vacations and trips or going to the lake. Plus half my vendors are closed, some even the whole month of July! — Josh Rider, Dylan Rings, Montgomery, AL
  • We close the week of July 4th and the week after Christmas. Being a second generation store with a family, it’s important to be intentional about quality time with my family. My customers respect that and support us. — LaTisha Holland, Arlene’s Fine Jewelry, Vidalia, GA
  • After Christmas to go skiing. We lose some of post-Christmas repairs, but what the heck, gotta have some fun, especially after the season’s craziness. — John Przeclawski, Jewelry Plus, Casselberry, FL
  • We always hear about it from our customers, “I came to see you and you were closed.” But they come back. — Shell Miller, Dig Sum Gems, Waterford, MI
  • We close the week of July 4. So little business is done then and our industry tends to shut down. Seems like a good time to be off. — Cindy Smith, Smith & Smith Jewelers, Marianna, FL
  • We have a two-person store. We close every year for a week of family vacation to recharge. Periodically, we’ll also close on a Saturday or for a conference. — Joe Bacher, J Bacher Fine Jewelry, Harrisburg, IL
  • We are currently closed for our annual two-week summer vacation. We close for two weeks every summer and two weeks after Christmas every year. I don’t think it affects our bottom line much. We may lose a few sales during those times, but the time off is well worth it! — Mark Snyder, Snyder Jewelers, Weymouth, MA
  • We closed our store last year for the week of the 4th of July. I believe that it energizes the staff. Our clients appreciate that we treat our staff well. — Kent Bagnall, Kent Jewelry, Rolla, MO
  • My customers appreciate all I try to do for them and want me to enjoy time away with my family in the mountains or at the beach or at the farm. — Dale Robertson, Dale Robertson Jewelry, Loveland, OH
  • We close for one week out of the year for vacation. It probably does affect our business. If your doors are not open, you can lose potential sales. But being a family-owned store, we need to do this. Everyone needs a break sometimes. — Lyla Ismael, Lyla Jewelers, Oak Lawn, IL
  • We close the week of July 4th and have done so, with one exception, for over 10 years. The exception proved we don’t lose much business when we’re closed. — Richard Frank, Goldstein’s, Mobile, AL
  • We close between Christmas and New Year’s and a week or so over 4th of July. We repair watches, and when we return, we get an onslaught of catch-up work. Sometimes I need a vacation from the vacation. — Shevvy Baker, SPB Designs, Louisville, KY
  • Two times a year. One, for Tucson and Scottsdale — it’s great for business because we let our customers know where we’re going. Two, for vacation. It’s bad for business, but too bad. — Ira Kramer, The Diamond Exchange of Maryland, Rockville, MD
  • Traditionally, we have closed for approximately one week in July so everyone in our family and staff could enjoy a summer vacation with their families. For the last two years, we have moved to closing just a few days at a time two or three times a year. We made this change because it better accommodates the needs and desires of our family and staff. — James Sickinger, Sickinger’s Jewelry, Lowell, IN
  • We closed an extra day for both New Year’s and July 4th holidays. This option was presented as a challenge to our staff. If a certain sales goal was met, we would add the additional day as a holiday. In both cases, the staff worked hard to meet the goal and were rewarded. We did not receive any negative feedback from our customers. We had no regrets in adding the extra time off. — Wendy Smith, Jimmy Smith Jewelers, Decatur, AL
  • Long weekends, anything to do with our great country of America, Veteran’s Day, 4th of July, etc. No noticeable effect; people generally understand that’s who we are. — Brian Stubblefield, Hendersonville Jewelers, Hendersonville, TN
  • Being a one-man-show, I get to close when anything happens that must be attended to by me. I find that as long as it is no longer than a week, everyone is understanding. If it is more than a week, I call people and arrange delivery of repaired items. Sales will happen when I get back. — James Doggett, Doggett Jewelry, Kingston, NH
  • Between Christmas and New Year’s Day. For the past 33 years, we have done this. I am not going to even attempt to say this makes sense! But, it has for me given I have worked like a dog (I like dogs, and would never let my dog work that hard) year round. — Brenda Newman, The Jewelry Source, El Segundo, CA
  • January and July for one to two weeks depending on our plans. It’s had a good effect on my business because it’s the only break I get. Normal hours are seven-day weeks. — Daniel Spirer, Spirer Jewelers, Cambridge, MA
  • I have recently posted a sign on the front of the business by the posted business hours: “Summers are way too short in Montana. After 40 plus years of working on Saturday, I may just close on an occasional Saturday this summer. Please call ahead of time if you plan to come in on a Saturday.” We are normally closed on Sunday and Monday. We have also closed for a week or sometimes longer to attend shows or short mini-vacations. — Murphy McMahon, L’Or Custom Jewelers, Kalispell, MT
  • We close twice a year, this year July 30-August 9 and again December 30-Jan 9. We have done this for the past 10 years. We look at it this way: if we lose a customer, we are sorry, but we need family time after all the hours we work. We miss so many things with our kids throughout the year because of our business and what’s the point of working so hard if we can’t share some of the benefits of owning our business with them. Our customers seem to understand (most at least) and DO come back when we are open. We have RARELY heard of someone that refused to come back. Do we occasionally have a customer tell us, “You were closed, so we bought (whatever) at another store?” Yes, but to hear that means they did come back to us. Overall, our customers are very loyal, so I do not feel our being closed has a negative effect on our business. — Dorothy Retzke, Krystyna’s Jewelry, Chicago, IL

No: 63%

  • Even when we go on vacation, we have our store available for customers. — Rita Wade, Wade Designs Jewelry, Rocky Mount, NC
  • I have not closed for more than a few days, but I may start in the near future. Have too many irons in the fire now. — Mark Thomas Ruby, SunSpirit Designs, Loveland, CO
  • Our repair business is year round! Plus I can’t stand retail stores that close for the month! — David Lindsay, Purdy’s Jewellery & Gems, Bobcaygeon, Ontario
  • My staff in empowered to run the store without me there. I’m very proud of them for stepping up and working hard. The store runs like clockwork. — Chris Wattsson, Wattsson & Wattsson Jewelers, Marquette, MI
  • I don’t want to lose any time selling. I also hate going to other stores and finding out they closed for some reason or another. If you post hours, you should keep them no matter what. — Craig C. Curtis, Belfast Jewelry, Belfast, ME
  • Our clients expect us to be here, and like most consumers will go somewhere else if we aren’t. — Kelly Jensen, Plateau Jewelers, Sammamish, WA
  • A progressive merchant is OPEN. Unless emergency is declared by the county, we are an anchor store in downtown leading by example. We are in business to do business open with regular store hours. Hobbyists close, eventually, forever. — Eileen Eichhorn, Eichhorn Jewelry, Decatur, IN
  • We closed for a week in August 2010. Not sure if it hurt us in sales, but cash flow took a dive. Will not do it again. — Warren Lakein, Lakein’s Jewelers of Hamilton, Baltimore, MD
  • This is retail. If we’re not open, we’re not making money. — Marc Majors, Sam L. Majors, Midland, TX
  • Other than moving or renovations, why close? — Gene Arthur, Arthur’s Jewelry, Reidsville, NC
  • I’m a sole proprietor, I have a teenage son to support, and this is my only source of income. If I’m not here, people can’t buy things! — Janne Etz, Contemporary Concepts, Cocoa, FL
  • Our customers set our hours, not us! If they want us open, we’re open, seven days and four nights a week. — Chuck Kuba, Iowa Diamond, West Des Moines, IA
  • Customers get angry, no matter how we warn them that we will be closed. — Jill Hornik, Jae’s Jewelers, Coral Gables, FL
  • We usually close one day to run physical inventory. This year we’re shutting down a couple of days to renovate. Typically we do not shut down for an extended period of time. — Whitney Lang, Burkes Fine Jewelers, Kilmarnock, VA
  • It’s about our customers and not us. If we ever forget that, we’re in trouble. — Bill Elliott, Ross Elliott Jewelers, Terre Haute, IN
  • Closed for a week last year. Huge mistake. Took all summer to make up lost revenue. — Jeff Dennis, Jeff Dennis Jewelers, Gardendale, AL
  • The bills keep coming in even when we’re closed! If the bill companies could waive their monthly bill, I would close. — Laurie Cusher, Hyde Park Jeweler, Hyde Park, NY
  • Retail = 365 days a year! — Sheila Ritchie, Gasser Jewelers, Canton, OH

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. jewelry store, you’re invited to join the INSTORE Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the jewelry industry. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

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