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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

Over the years, INSTORE has won 76 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at editor@instoremag.com.

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Do You Or Don't You?

7 Out Of 10 Jewelers Surveyed Will Do House Calls

Those that won’t cite security concerns.

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Yes: 70%

  • I will go see my existing clients with whom I have a relationship or have them come to my home office. I recently moved from one suburb to another. I feel it’s not fair making my old clients drive an extra half-hour to my new location, so I give them the option of having me come to them or coming to my home, which is near my old location. — Shahraz Kassam, Shamin Diamonds, Surrey, BC
  • My most recent was a trip to a doctor’s office to adjust eight watches that were purchased for Christmas for all the nurses. — Jim Wolf, James Wolf Jewelers, Mason, OH
  • Limited occasions, rarely for the sake of financial gain but more of a “do into others” good karma situation. Usually, it’s delivery of a completed item to an overwhelmed, homebound or otherwise in-need person. Recently, we delivered a chain repair to a woman whose homebound hospice patient husband broke his cross chain. We fixed and delivered it for free because it was right. I’d never her seen her before, but I couldn’t take her money. — Heather Wahl, R.C. Wahl Jewelers, Des Plaines, IL
  • If the sale calls for it and is going to close but requires something extra. If delivering a ring means the engagement is going to happen on time and we’re going to get the sale, I am going to do it. I don’t mind taking a ride to make sure my customers are happy! — Evan Silbert, Thurber Jewelers, Elk River, MN
  • I’m a private jeweler, so this is the norm for me. Businesspeople and people in the country music business that have very full schedules. Disclaimer, though, is I do have to know them or have vetted them very well. — Ben Brantley, Ben Brantley & Co., Shelbyville, TN
  • We have gone to people’s homes to deliver a gift as a surprise. We have gone to people’s care homes to cut a ring off because they won’t come off naturally. We’ve even delivered reports to people at work if they cannot leave during their work day! — Mary Jo Chanski, Hannoush Jewelers, Rutland, VT
  • All the time. Home, office, golf course or bar — delivering something nice or bringing a few options for someone to choose from is thrilling to me. It’s something my good customers love and tell people about; sometimes I end up serving the whole office. — Ray Lantz, The Diamond Center, Claremont, CA
  • We will make house calls anytime. I just did one last diamond ring for one of my favorite and best clients. He was deteriorating rapidly and needed me to come to his house. What a privilege to help someone’s legacy live on through a token of love! — Natasha Henderson, Saxon’s Fine Jewelers, Bend, OR
  • I have a customer waiting for me to come over and go through her jewelry so she and her husband can decide who to leave pieces for between her nieces and nephews. She is not in shape to come in. I have taken loose diamonds and complete rings and wedding sets to ladies in the hospital before and made sales on them all! — Cindy Fuller, Fuller Designs, Poplar Bluff, MO
  • I do a lot of probate work, and it is much easier on the families to have the sorting and appraisal prep work done in a more comfortable setting. It also saves time and return trips. Quite often, people become emotional when handling the deceased’s jewelry, and it helps if they are at home. — Jim Doggett, Doggett Jewelry, Kingston, NH
  • I have a customer who has ALS. He has been with us since we opened 14 years ago. He is not able to make it to the store since he is confined to a wheelchair. It’s easy because his wife and I have the same taste in jewelry. I bring 4-5 things and he picks one. I wrap it in our fancy bags. She calls every time and thanks me, and it makes my whole month just to see her happy for that brief moment. That’s what it is all about for me. — Karen Hollis, K. Hollis Jewelers, Batavia, IL
  • To make personal custom design appointments using a laptop and Countersketch. To assess a client’s jewelry inventory for storage options, which provides a great way to see their entire collection of jewelry and wardrobe so you’ll know their style preferences in the future. — Jessica Rossomme, Mucklow’s Fine Jewelry, Peachtree City, GA

No: 30%

  • Never requested. We have been open for 62 years and have an aging customer base that may need assistance. I’m sure if requested by a repeat customer for some very important reason, we would make that call. — Toni Kinder, Farr’s Jewelry, Ogden, UT
  • Rarely and only if customer is physically challenged. — Sam F. Edwards, Sam Edwards Jewelers, Chattanooga, TN
  • If we were really sucking wind, I would start to do so. Fortunately, we have not had to do so. — Joseph Villarreal, Villarreal Fine Jewelers, Austin, TX
  • I used to, way back, but have no time now. Also, my store has a special ambiance, which sustains our image as creative designers; showing jewelry elsewhere robs it of the magic. — Eve J. Alfille, Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio, Evanston, IL
  • Afraid of robbery. — Alexander Rysman, Romm Diamonds, Brockton, MA
  • Too high a risk factor. What’s the point of having a store if you make house calls? The store is a much more secure and comfortable environment. — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA
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Do You Or Don't You?

Only 31% of Surveyed Jewelers Have a Structured Onboarding Program for New Employees

Most feel they are too small to bother with it.

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Yes: 31%

  • I’ve had a general manager for the first time the last two years and I also have a sales manager. They now take all new staff through a training program, but I don’t think it’s what it needs to be. It doesn’t include the history of our company, our philosophy, values, or the “why” we do what we do — it’s more nuts and bolts, like, “Here’s how you write up a repair, enter a sale, here’s where the bathrooms are, here’s how you read up on the brands we carry, etc.” — Valerie Naifeh, Naifeh Fine Jewelry, Oklahoma City, OK
  • The first couple of days are spent reading and learning our policies and procedures. From there, a lot of shadowing and online training; we need to break bad habits. — Tom Schowalter, Miner’s Den Jewelers, Royal Oak, MI
  • I wrote two booklets to help new employees. One was a day-by-day training (to be conducted with an existing staff member). The other is about a hundred questions that I want them to learn (what’s the difference between 14K and 18K gold, pros and cons of platinum heads, what the danger code word is and what to do, etc.). — Peter Tims, White Mountain Jewelers, Show Low, AZ
  • We have a training manual and I ask each existing staff member to choose areas of expertise to train the new staffer. I include my entire staff in training a new member. This gives each of them time to get to know the new person and creates a sense of community. — Kristin Cornwell, Cornwell Jewelers, Athens, OH
  • My daughter manages one-on-one training and is good at recognizing and promoting specific talents. She has created a manual and chore lists, and empowered new hires to improve them. — Eve J. Alfille, Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio, Evanston, IL
  • We use 10-day training checklists followed over time by multiple two-hour courses on different topics. — Robert Borneman, Diamond Jewelers, Centereach, NY
  • New hires are to work behind the scenes and shadow for one month. During that time, we drill on how we gather information, make wish list entries, take in guidelines, layaway, etc. Then on weeks five and six, they are allowed to engage customers. Time flies and everyone bemoans the first month, and THEN I hear: “Wow! This system take so long to learn. There are so many rules. We have a lot of customers; how can you remember everyone’s name? How am I supposed to do a complicated return and smile?” — Denise Oros, Linnea Jewelers, La Grange, IL
  • New staff participate in our morning meeting every day for 30 minutes, going over new product, new policies, new pricing, role play and the daily challenge. New staff are not allowed on the floor for two weeks, then we place them on a staged pricing routine starting with showing products under $500. When we see how this is handled, we increase to $ 1,000, and so on. — Ragnar Bertelsen, Ragnar Jewellers, Vancouver, BC
  • The store manual covers everything. It’s great reading for insomniacs. — Bill Elliott, Ross Elliott Jewelers, Terre Haute, IN

No: 47%

  • There is never enough time to structure and enforce it properly. — Dorothy Vodicka, The Gem Collection, Tallahassee, FL
  • Our turnover has been low, but now that is changing. I will need to develop one for the new people I have to find and hire. — John Hayes, Goodman’s Jewelers, Madison, WI
  • We’re family run, so it’s more “trial by fire” when we have someone come in. — Wadeana Beveridge, Community Jewelry, Brandon, FL
  • Working on one. Just brought on new employee this week. Some protocol but not written in stone, let alone on paper. — Michael Cook, Walter J. Cook Jeweler, Paoli, PA
  • I’m not a corporation, nor do I want my new employees to feel that way. We train the way we want to train and it’s different every single time. It really just depends on the person and how they learn best. — Marcus Majors, Sam L. Majors, Midland, TX

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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Do You Or Don't You?

Our Brain Squad Sounds Off On Security Guards

92% of all stores don’t have one.

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Yes: 8%

  • We had an armed robbery in February of 2018. We brought on our officers after that to protect the store and evaluate customers. We planned to only keep them until we had our mantrap doors installed, but shortly after install, we heard another rumor of a gang member discussing robbing our store, so we have kept them on. I like having them because it relieves our staff of the responsibility of evaluating customers. Our officers can easily protect them and move any odd customers out of the store. We are in a heavy walking traffic area with a lot of tourists, and customers mostly thank our officers for protecting them. If they ask why we have officers, we tell them it’s to allow our staff to better focus on service and sales. — Elizabeth Kittell, Pretty In Patina, Omaha, NE
  • Customers love it, staff loves it. Everyone feels safe and also that any jewelry they buy from us or leave with us is safe. Ours are off-duty uniformed sheriff deputies, though, and that may make a difference. — Dorothy Vodicka, The Gem Collection, Tallahassee, FL
  • We hire our local PD at Christmas when we are open late to do details. It is expensive, but it gives me great peace of mind. It also makes it so I don’t need to be there every hour. In the end, we get to know our local officers and they appreciate the cushy detail. Most have wives or girlfriends (or are female officers), so sometimes they even buy something. — Mark Snyder, Snyder Jewelers, Weymouth, MA
  • We sell high-end watches, so customers and employees feel much safer with a guard at the door. Today, most insurance companies require it. Besides, we have been robbed before and our jeweler was shot. After that, I said I would no longer work in our downtown store. The guard can have my paycheck so we feel safe! — Teddie Gause, Gause & Son Jewelers, Ocala, FL
  • Customers love it, staff loves it. Everyone feels safe and also that any jewelry they buy from us or leave with us is safe. Ours are off-duty uniformed sheriff deputies, though, and that may make a difference. — Dorothy Vodicka, The Gem Collection, Tallahassee, FL

No: 92%

  • I used to have one until an off-duty policeman said, “Do you really want someone with a minimal education to have a gun in your store?” That was one reason. The second reason was the confidentiality issue. Did not like that they were hearing what was going on. Now I have a locked door and like it a lot better. — Susan Eisen, Susan Eisen Fine Jewelry & Watches, El Paso, TX
  • Added security will not be productive because the current clientele do not pose a risk and we are not big enough for the professional to bother us. We have a great alarm system along with CCTV with monitors outside of the sales floor. Law enforcement response to an alarm is less than one minute away. — E.L. Menk Jewelers, Brainerd, MN
  • We do not because of the extra cost. Missouri is also a concealed-carry state, and we can and do carry our own firearms at times. We are well-trained on personal security and have taken courses on how to be safe and what to do in case of a robbery. — Scott Schlagenhauff, Jewelry By Morgan, Kansas City, MO
  • Sadly, I believe that having a guard makes the environment consistently tense and exudes distrust. We prefer to keep staff trained in security measures to allow our customers a warm, inviting atmosphere. — Morgan Bartel, Susann’s Custom Jewelers, Corpus Christi, TX
  • We live in a relatively safe place and we all carry a weapon. Keep in mind that the weapons are for saving lives, not jewelry. — Chris Snowden, Snowden’s Jewelers, Wilmington, NC
  • We do not have a security guard, but we do have a locked door with a door buzzer and a doorbell that alerts us that someone is at the door. — Frank Salinardi, Linardi’s Jewelers, Plantation, FL
  • Robbers can take it all. I have insurance; I don’t need any gunplay in my store. — Donald Killelea, Killelea Jewelers, Midlothian, IL
  • We had one, which seemed to intimidate clients. We have installed self-locking doors, a mantrap and clearly visible cameras inside and out. — Steven Goldfarb, Alvin Goldfarb Jeweler, Bellevue, WA
  • When we have had security guards in the past, it made our customers feel uncomfortable. We buzz customers in through a double door system. No system is foolproof. We all need to be very aware of what is happening at all times. — Bob Richards, Bob Richards Jewelers, Germantown, TN
  • We are fortunate in that our retail center provides 24/7 armed security as part of our common area maintenance. It was certainly a plus in choosing our location. — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA

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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