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Eric Robertson: Shore Up Your Triple Bottom Line

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5 ways a truly sustainable jeweler
can improve profit, people and the planet

This article originally appeared in the November 2015 edition of INSTORE.


“Sustainability” is a feel-good buzzword that’s been tossed around in jewelry a lot lately. In an industry perceived as anything but sustainable, what does it mean exactly? Sustainability really comes down to whether or not your business is satisfying the three Ps — profit, people and planet — which makes for the triple bottom line. Jewelers vying to reach millennial consumers persuaded more by authenticity and social good over flashy wares are better off advertising their positive returns within the community and environment. Here are five easy ways to improve your triple bottom line and to better distinguish yourself as a sustainable jeweler:

Get transparent with labor. When customers see who actually makes the jewelry they buy and what their purchases ultimately promote, price becomes a less important criterion in where they decide to shop. Bringing customers into the process by positioning jewelers to be more visible or by sharing stories about how pieces are made provides a transparent experience that’s more compelling than a traditional retail exchange.

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Promote recycling and upcycling. In what is perhaps the lowest hanging fruit on the path to being more sustainable, jewelers can promote the use of recycled noble metals. It’s an easy step with such abundance in supply, and while most companies already offer 100 percent recycled pieces, few actually advertise it. More so, being in a position to use a customer’s existing gemstones and sentimental gold to make something new (or upcycle) represents a tremendous opportunity for sustainable growth.

Green Lake Jewelry Works sources Montana sapphires mine-to-market.

Offer synthetic alternatives. Many millennial customers aren’t just skeptical that their diamond purchase will perpetuate a custom of equating love with opulence. They’re also cognizant of the drain diamond mining places on the environment. Motivated more by ideals than pocketbooks, eco-conscious consumers are increasingly seeking synthetic, lab-grown options for diamonds. Though the kilowatt-per-carat cost and subsequent carbon dioxide emissions associated with creating gems in a lab are by no means low, they are about 80 percent less than those of traditionally mined gems.

Source mine-to-market. In an industry structured to obfuscate the average purchase, unveiling the origins of your materials demonstrates both genuine participation in the community and an openness to disclose your practices. While few can argue that mining gemstones and noble metals is in any way eco-friendly, some operations may still satisfy the environmental stewardship and positive social change that your triple bottom line demands. There are many places (think Canadian diamonds or South American Fairmined gold) to source rough and finished goods that provide a better story to share with your clientele.

Become accredited. One of the best ways to foster trust and back up claims about sustainability is to align with industry-specific organizations such as Ethical Metalsmiths, the Alliance for Responsible Mining, Jewelers Vigilance Committee or any number of local guilds. Consulting with a third party to conduct an internal sustainability audit, especially for fabricators, is another way to garner an outside appraisal of your business that advances your claims greatly in the eye of the consumer.

Being a more sustainable jeweler isn’t about altruism; it’s about shoring up a triple bottom line that shows customers how their purchases will fuel artistry and ideals. In doing that, profits will invariably follow.


Eric Robertson is marketing director for Green Lake Jewelry Works in Seattle, WA..

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SPONSORED VIDEO

Wilkerson Testimonials

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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Eric Robertson: Shore Up Your Triple Bottom Line

mm

Published

on

5 ways a truly sustainable jeweler
can improve profit, people and the planet

This article originally appeared in the November 2015 edition of INSTORE.


“Sustainability” is a feel-good buzzword that’s been tossed around in jewelry a lot lately. In an industry perceived as anything but sustainable, what does it mean exactly? Sustainability really comes down to whether or not your business is satisfying the three Ps — profit, people and planet — which makes for the triple bottom line. Jewelers vying to reach millennial consumers persuaded more by authenticity and social good over flashy wares are better off advertising their positive returns within the community and environment. Here are five easy ways to improve your triple bottom line and to better distinguish yourself as a sustainable jeweler:

Advertisement

Get transparent with labor. When customers see who actually makes the jewelry they buy and what their purchases ultimately promote, price becomes a less important criterion in where they decide to shop. Bringing customers into the process by positioning jewelers to be more visible or by sharing stories about how pieces are made provides a transparent experience that’s more compelling than a traditional retail exchange.

Promote recycling and upcycling. In what is perhaps the lowest hanging fruit on the path to being more sustainable, jewelers can promote the use of recycled noble metals. It’s an easy step with such abundance in supply, and while most companies already offer 100 percent recycled pieces, few actually advertise it. More so, being in a position to use a customer’s existing gemstones and sentimental gold to make something new (or upcycle) represents a tremendous opportunity for sustainable growth.

Green Lake Jewelry Works sources Montana sapphires mine-to-market.

Offer synthetic alternatives. Many millennial customers aren’t just skeptical that their diamond purchase will perpetuate a custom of equating love with opulence. They’re also cognizant of the drain diamond mining places on the environment. Motivated more by ideals than pocketbooks, eco-conscious consumers are increasingly seeking synthetic, lab-grown options for diamonds. Though the kilowatt-per-carat cost and subsequent carbon dioxide emissions associated with creating gems in a lab are by no means low, they are about 80 percent less than those of traditionally mined gems.

Source mine-to-market. In an industry structured to obfuscate the average purchase, unveiling the origins of your materials demonstrates both genuine participation in the community and an openness to disclose your practices. While few can argue that mining gemstones and noble metals is in any way eco-friendly, some operations may still satisfy the environmental stewardship and positive social change that your triple bottom line demands. There are many places (think Canadian diamonds or South American Fairmined gold) to source rough and finished goods that provide a better story to share with your clientele.

Become accredited. One of the best ways to foster trust and back up claims about sustainability is to align with industry-specific organizations such as Ethical Metalsmiths, the Alliance for Responsible Mining, Jewelers Vigilance Committee or any number of local guilds. Consulting with a third party to conduct an internal sustainability audit, especially for fabricators, is another way to garner an outside appraisal of your business that advances your claims greatly in the eye of the consumer.

Being a more sustainable jeweler isn’t about altruism; it’s about shoring up a triple bottom line that shows customers how their purchases will fuel artistry and ideals. In doing that, profits will invariably follow.

Advertisement

Eric Robertson is marketing director for Green Lake Jewelry Works in Seattle, WA..

Continue Reading
Advertisement

SPONSORED VIDEO

Wilkerson Testimonials

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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