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Eight Jewelers Getting Creative on Instagram

These jewelers tell a social-media story with personality and gorgeous images.

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Traci Hill of Got Rocks Jewelry in Harrisonburg, VA, loves the community she’s found on Instagram. And when she expresses herself on social media, she builds an even stronger community. After she posted her support for the LGBTQ community, for example, a lesbian couple drove two hours to purchase wedding bands. “It’s been one of my most fulfilling transactions thus far,” she says. 

Inevitably, independent jewelry store personnel are time-challenged when it comes to social-media management. At OC Tanner in Salt Lake City, Dominique Anderson is a one-woman social-media show, managing with part-time help just once a week. “It’s a big job,” she says. With that in mind, more than 80 percent of her Instagram photography posts come from vendors, including lovely examples of model photography. Whether she reposts from vendors or customers or posts her own stuff, the key is using photos “with life to them.”

Whether you’d like to express yourself or use vivid photos to best advantage, Hill says Instagram is the way to go. “It’s free and it’s fun. Check out what’s going on throughout the world of jewelry and build your followers,” she says. “If you’re a bit too old-school, find a young buck to get your Instagram started and hashtag away!”


Try Cross-Branding to Boost Reach
OC Tanner, Salt Lake City, UT

With Instagram, Dominque Anderson strives to engage customers while conveying the store’s personality. “We do some close-up things if we want to show exactly what we have in stock,” she says. They’ve also been inviting brides and grooms to share their pictures. “One of our couples got engaged at Versailles with a ring from the OC Tanner Collection.” She collaborates with local magazines, loaning the publications jewelry for photo shoots and getting access to beautiful photography in return. “We will repost that and tag the photographer, the florist, the dress and all the other partners; we post it and they do the same for us,” she says. Every Sunday she also posts the Weekly Wow, highlighting a stunning piece of jewelry not necessarily in stock.


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Consider It the First Step to a Purchase
Betteridge, Greenwich, CT

Win Betteridge uses Instagram as a storytelling platform aimed at generating brand awareness. It is also a wonderful service for product discovery, he says, frequently the first touch point leading to customers making an in-store or online purchase.


Drive Traffic to Your Feed
Got Rocks, Harrisonburg, VA

Traci Hill uses Instagram to build her brand, gain clientele and absorb inspiration from jewelry designers, bloggers and enthusiasts around the world. “I enjoy the fact that Instagram is more visual than other social media. It’s not as crowded as Facebook or Twitter. I’ve found I get more business and interaction from Instagram without paying to boost the posts. If I don’t pay on Facebook, I’m lucky to get three to five likes.” Instagram, Hill says, has an amazing jewelry community. Using hashtags drives more traffic to your feed. “Since Got Rocks Jewelry is a one-woman show, I like to show a bit of my personality and what I am passionate about, whether it’s the latest design from Ever & Ever, current events or my shop dog, Birdie. I enjoy what I do and try to have fun with it.”


Use Imagery That Reflects Quality
D&H Jewelers, San Francisco, CA

Lindsay Daunell uses Instagram as advertising for in-stock products as well as custom-design work. “We spend time producing high-quality images to reflect the fine quality of our jewelry and have seen tremendous results because of this. Instagram is a huge driver of foot traffic.”


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Open Up New Worlds With Video
Stephen Gallant Jewelers, Orleans, MA

Casey Gallant has made sales directly as a result of her store’s Instagram feed. Beyond that, though, her goal is to make more impressions on customers and potential customers to keep the store front of mind. “I begin with mostly beautiful pictures,” she says. “After all, that’s what Instagram is all about, the photo. It’s a great platform for showcasing a visual item such as jewelry.” Lately, she has posted more videos to “bring the customer places they normally wouldn’t go and show them things they normally wouldn’t see. Like trade shows, the minerals section at a museum or the sparkle of a piece in sunlight. That can be harder to capture in a still photo.”


Create Desire
Alchemy, Portland, OR

“We use our Instagram to create desire,” says Laura Mapes. It’s important to be seen and to be relevant online. Usually, Alchemy staff members take their own photos, although they have hired a pro on occasion. “I like to mix it up between high quality images that our designers provide along with in-studio process shots,” Mapes says. “When we take photos in-house of our designers’ work, I try to keep in sync with their brand story. I think it is important for designers to have control of how their brand is represented. I know I would want it that way.”


Be Colorful and Creative
Susann’s Custom Jewelers, Corpus Christi, TX

Colton Bartel likes to show off the custom and creative side of the business. “We love color, and by featuring unique colored stones and designs, we get more people interested in and asking for a broader spectrum of gems,” he says. Bartel also enjoys offering customers a peek behind the scenes. “They really don’t have a good perspective of how much time, effort and skill go into making a fine piece of jewelry. I’m hoping to not only give them some insight on how we do things and what we produce, but also build our integrity and credibility so that when it comes time to make a purchase, they already know who to trust and what level of care and attention to detail to expect.”


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Tell a Good Story
eidos Contemporary Jewelry, Santa Fe, NM

Deborah Gordon tries to connect in a timely manner by posting new pieces just off the bench, gemstones just acquired or a recent outing or event. Gordon uses her iPad, taking advantage of its built-in photo-editing app that produces sharp photos. Using two sources of light helps with the photography, she says. She also likes to develop a bit of a story around each piece of jewelry. “I’m still learning how to do this, so that proves even low-tech Luddites can get onboard with new media!” Gordon says. “It seems to be an increasingly important aspect of running any business today.”


This article originally appeared in the May 2017 edition of INSTORE.

Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.

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Jimmy DeGroot

Be Ready for ‘What Do You Have for $100?’ and Other Holiday Questions

As Christmas approaches, the queries you’ll hear from customers are actually pretty predictable, says jewelry store training expert Jimmy DeGroot. Here's how to make sure your team is prepared for the more common ones.

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Benchmarks

These Jeweler Direct Mail Samples Shine Bright for the Holidays

Use these direct mail pieces as inspiration to create your own attention-getting holiday promotions.

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DIRECT MAIL is a great holiday marketing tool, as it lets you reach out specifically to your biggest and best customers, hitting them with invitations to swanky Christmas parties, wish lists to be filled out and returned, and discounts or gift cards for that perfect present. (You can also track it more easily than other advertising media, by instructing recipients to bring in the mailing to receive whatever the special offer is.) At the same time, we’re on the verge of the postal service’s busiest season of the year, so whatever you send needs to get noticed. And the examples we’ve collected here are harder to miss than Rudolph’s nose or, say, a bright star shining over a manger.


So Fresh, So Clean Shetler Wade Jewelers, San Antonio, TX

This snappy postcard alerts customers to a neat idea: a post-holiday “3-Day Detox Customer Appreciation Sale,” scheduled for the end of January, when things have settled down and it’s time to go through your inventory and get rid of some dogs. The layout is appropriately clean, signaling a new start to the year and nice deals for shoppers.

No Frills, No Nonsense Schmitt Jewelers, Phoenix, AZ

As Schmitt Jewelers reminds us, your holiday invite doesn’t have to shout “HOLIDAYS!” — it just has to snag the attention of your would-be customer. The strong, solid colors of the invitations for the store’s December “Shop Like a Man” promotion promised beer, food, and a straightforward gift-buying experience for red-blooded American guys.

Three Times the FunGUNDERSON’S JEWELERS, IA, NE AND SD

This Christmas party invitation is strikingly gorgeous, stands out by not relying on a typical holiday palette, showcases some beautiful jewelry, and serves as three invites in one, for soirees at Gunderson’s locations in three different states. Plus, it conveys a ton of information, including the designers who will be present at the events, in a markedly clear fashion.


Two Eyes Not Made Out of Coal Wixon Jewelers, Bloomington,

With its strong, contrasting colors and clever mix of snowman imagery and jewelry, this postcard from Wixon is tough to ignore and easy to smile at. The reverse has simple messages pertinent to holiday shoppers: Extended hours, front-door parking (important during the Minnesota winter) and gift-wrapping.

A Good BetBrinker’s Jewelers, Evansville, IN

Brinker’s is no stranger to the Benchmarks page, and for good reason. Their marketing materials consistently set a stylish, sophisticated, but approachable tone. This men’s night invitation promises a good time for the recipient. The invites each came enclosed with a guest pass, and the aesthetic here and alluring casino vibe suggest an event most gentlemen would be proud to bring a friend to.

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7 Jewelers Share Their Fun Approaches to Dressing for the Holiday

In touch with their inner elves, jewelers dress the part for fun and profit.

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This story was originally published in the October 2017 edition of INSTORE.

HOLIDAY OUTFITS appeal to some jewelry retailers and appall others, who consider them a slippery slope toward total tackiness.

To Jennifer Farnes of Revolution Jewelry Works in Colorado Springs, CO, dressing up is just not worth the effort: “Too busy to worry about that! Take a shower, wear clean clothes, survive Christmas,” she says. But Nicole Shannon of Keir Fine Jewelry in Whistler, British Columbia, says wearing tacky Christmas sweaters from a shop next door actually saves time, since staff members can grab sweaters from a communal bin on the run, rather than worry about their wardrobes.

Others swear by a show-off-the-jewels approach. “I encourage my staff to wear our jewelry during the holiday season,” says Marc Majors of Samuel L. Majors Fifth Generation Jewelers in Midland, TX. “It’s much more personal when it’s on someone and not a prop, and 99 percent of the time it closes the sale.”

Read on for a range of wardrobe ideas intended to break the ice with customers and bolster staff morale.


Let the Tipsy Elves Break the Ice
Goldsmith Gallery Jewelers, Billings, MT

Edgy holiday-themed suits purchased from a company called Tipsy Elves make a statement on December Saturdays at Scott and Kelly Wickam’s store. “It actually made for a great selling day last year,” Scott,  at left, says. “It showed that we are not just stuffy jewelers trying to sell you something. We love what we do and we have fun doing it.” The suits cost $80 to $100 each. “For the money, they fit nice and look great,” he says. 


The Tie Guy
Goodman’s Jewelers, Madison, WI

For John Hayes of Goodman’s Jewelers in Madison, WI, it’s all about the ties. “I have a collection of holiday ties and wear a different one each day from Thanksgiving to Jan. 1. I always start with Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin.” He has 38 and counting, although some have fallen apart after 25 years of collecting. 


The Sweater Fest
Miller’s Jewelry, Bozeman, MT

Jennifer Hornik Johnson says the whole staff at Miller’s participates in the annual Ugly Sweater Party in December. The store offers a 10 percent discount to any customers brave enough to wear their own ugly items to the event.


Don’t Be Afraid to Live in the Past
Cornerstone Jewelry & Engraving, Palos Park, IL

At Cornerstone Jewelry & Engraving, owner Bryan Blaha and team believe “Old Jewelers Have Old Souls.” To enhance their theme, they ramp up their sartorial savvy for the holiday season with bow ties, vests, hairstyles and facial hair that evoke the early 20th century. “We tend to dress to the ‘9s,” says manager Ryan C. Karp. “Like the 1909s.” It leaves a lasting impression on clients, together with incense, old-school holiday music, classic decor and demonstrations. 


Make a Statement With the LBD
K Hollis Jewelers, Batavia, IL

Black is never basic at K Hollis Jewelers, where Karen Hollis, center, and her staff feel confident wearing their little black dresses for holiday events. “It shows a level of class that makes my staff get noticed,” Hollis says. “Jewelry really stands out on black, and it’s fun to wear a bigger diamond or more expensive items for holiday parties.”


Family Morphs Into Elves!
Perry’s Emporium, Wilmington, NC

“I made my sons dress up in elf outfits for an after-Christmas ad on TV,” says owner Alan Perry. In the commercial, Perry says he’s leaving the store till next year. His sons say, “We’ll show him! Come in now and get up to 50 percent off until Jan. 15!” Perry admits he had to pay his sons to be elves, though.


If You Are the Designated Elf, Be a Good Sport
Talisman Collection, El Dorado Hills, CA

Owner Andrea Riso isn’t above dressing up. “I look like a super giant idiot as an elf, but I’m a good sport about it because it makes sales spike and it’s fun.” Sales associate Becca Souders, pictured, picked up the elf outfits at Fredericks of Hollywood. “It worked, sales and morale-wise,” Riso says.


This article originally appeared in the October 2017 edition of INSTORE.

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These Ridiculously Cute Store Greeters Break the Ice and Calm Shoppers’ Nerves

Store greeters set shoppers at ease and serve as brand ambassadors.

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Store greeters of all types and species serve an important function in breaking the ice and easing threshold resistance. In the case of the four-legged variety, they offer a special breed of retail therapy, attract their share of regular admirers, and may even turn out to be adorably approachable jewelry models. Best of all, they add to your store experience and evoke an emotional response. Shoppers will be more than likely to just drop by to say hi.


Star Jewelers on HighColumbus, OH

THE ENGAGEMENT COUNSELOR. Rachel Howard of Star Jewelers on High in Columbus, OH, says her shop dog, Daisy, an 11-year-old Australian shepherd, loves to sit in the window and people watch, and as a result, brings passersby in to say hi. “Her favorite customers are engagement ring shoppers,” Howard says. “We think she senses their anxiety and sits by them to be a therapy dog and a source of comfort.”


Vogan Gold & Silver WorksColorado Springs, CO

THE RETAIL THERAPIST. Shelby is 6 years old and has been a greeter at Vogan Gold & Silver Works in Colorado Springs since she was 10 weeks old. While she loves all customers, she is having an “open fling” with the neighborhood UPS man, Wayne. “I say open because Wayne’s wife is well aware and is OK that he has Shelby’s picture on the visor in his big brown truck,” says Teri Vogan. Though Shelby will not change watch batteries, size a ring or tighten a diamond, she is good at customer service in the form of retail therapy. “She works hard,” Vogan says, “and only asks for animal crackers and elbow rubs.” (In the photo, apprentice Hollie Hyde offers Shelby an elbow rub.)


Art + SoulBoulder, CO

THE GREATEST MARKETING TOOL. Harry Winston, a.k.a. Winston the Yorkie, is the shop dog at Art + Soul in Boulder, CO. His claim to fame, says owner Debbie Klein, is that he is “The Best Dog. Ever.” His job duties include lounging in the sun in the front window and attracting passersby. ”He is our greatest marketing tool,” Klein says. “If you have a cookie, he will be your best friend for life. He used to have more friends on Facebook than I did until Facebook required us to provide proof that he was over age 13 to continue his page. He didn’t have a current ID, so they shut it down.”


LaLonde Jewelers & GemologistsGross Pointe Farms, MI

THE CHIEF MORALE OFFICER. Coco, a Maltese-poodle mix, is chief morale officer at LaLonde Jewelers & Gemologists in Grosse Pointe Farms, MI, owned by Daniel and Cynthia LaLonde. When she’s not posing for glamour shots for advertisements, she can regularly be found waiting eagerly at the door to greet customers.


Elizabeth Diamond Co.Dayton, OH

THE BEST FRIEND. At Elizabeth Diamond Co. in Dayton, OH, German shepherd DaisyGirl comes to the store with owner Sonny Singhvi every day. She spends time on the sales floor greeting clients and has a following of fans that stop by and ask to see and pet her. She also specializes in sitting pretty on elegant, upholstered chairs.


Persona Custom & Fine JewelryBoston, MA

THE RED CARPET STARLET. Independence, aka Indi, belongs to the owners of a hardware store that happens to be next door to Persona Custom & Fine Jewelry on Charles Street, a pedestrian-friendly shopping mecca in Boston. As Indi’s name suggests, she goes where she pleases. But, as a luxury lover, she prefers to spend much of her time on the red carpet entrance to Persona or on the store’s Swarovski-crystal tufted, overstuffed accent chair. People come by just to visit Indi, who may look haughty but is actually quite approachable, according to Persona’s creative director, Dustin Rennells. (photo credit: Kelsey Riggs)


Robert Goodman JewelersZionsville, IN

THE WATCH DOGS. Rescue dogs Quincy (black and white) and Journey (brown and white) both work for Robert Goodman Jewelers in Zionsville, IN. Because the store, owned by Robert and Rose-Marie Goodman, has a museum vibe, they seem to be experts at posing as if they, too, are works of art. They also spend quality time peering out the front door.


Lily & Company JewelersSanibel Island, FL

THE BRAND ICON. Lily & Company Jewelers, owned by Karen Bell and Dan Schuyler, was named for Bell’s Labradoodle, Lily, who has become the face of the business in print ads and billboards, where, adorned in top of the line, photo-shopped jewels, she greets every visitor to Sanibel Island, FL. Every year, Lily’s birthday party is a major event on the island. This year, she was preparing to celebrate her 14th in April.


de Boulle Diamond & JewelryDallas, TX

THE GLAMOUR QUEEN. Roo, an Italian greyhound, has a regal presence befitting her luxurious environment at DeBoulle. “Since 2015, Roo has been sniffing out the best jewelry and customers,” says Josh Garcia, director of creative and marketing. “Before her day begins, we make sure she is pampered and polished, and she loves to wear jewelry. Her typical day involves greeting everyone at the door to deliver the de Boulle experience and puppy kisses.”


Sami Fine JewelryFountain Hills, AZ

THE HR SPECIALISTS. Jewel and Gemma are very effective in the HR department, according to owner Stephenie Bjorkman. They keep everyone on an even keel, staff and customers alike. “Animals are great therapists,” she says. When clients come in, they quickly forget that they are “just looking” and immediately let their guard down. Gemma also sits on kids’ laps when they get their ears pierced, easing anxiety. They entertain watch customers, too, while they are waiting. “I can hear customers say, ‘This is the last time I will throw the ball for you,’ then an hour passes,” Bjorkman says.


Mitchell’s JewelersPikesville, MD

THE PROFESSIONAL CHARMER. “Meet Charlie, our newest and cutest part-time sales associate. He’s best with greeting customers and making everyone smile,” says Mitchell Dickler, president of Mitchell’s.


Nancy and David Fine JewelsMilburn, NJ

THE GREETER. At Nancy and David Fine Jewels, co-owners David and Nancy Stone know they can rely on mini-poodle Rico to welcome customers.

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