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Fire Drill Feedback, Case Cleaning Results and More of Your Letters

One jeweler got taken for a ride by a client.

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Firing Clarified

The questions asked in your “Fire Drill” section are all isolated circumstances. Generally, if someone is doing wrong in one area, chances are they are up to no good elsewhere. In all situations, you need all of the evidence to terminate. Any of those could be the final excuse to take action, but alone, a termination could create even bigger problems. — Jon Walp, Long Jewelers, Virginia Beach, VA

Podcast: The 12 Days of Christmas … Like You’ve Never Heard It Before
Over the Counter

Podcast: The 12 Days of Christmas … Like You’ve Never Heard It Before

Podcast: Aleah Arundale Tells Why She Created Jewelers Helping Jewelers
JimmyCast

Podcast: Aleah Arundale Tells Why She Created Jewelers Helping Jewelers

Podcast: Jenny O Calleri Takes on Her Biggest Challenge Yet — Store Ownership
The Barb Wire

Podcast: Jenny O Calleri Takes on Her Biggest Challenge Yet — Store Ownership

Case Cleaned

I actually took the advice of columnist Sherry Smith and “cleaned up my jammed case” today and wow! What a difference it made to back-stock many of our alloy samples! — Jane Johnson, RM Johnson & Sons, Salem, VA

Ring Regrets

I learned a lesson the very hard and expensive way and it sucks because now I don’t trust anyone. I had a customer come in several times to look at diamonds, and when he finally picked one out, he sent his girlfriend in to stamp her seal of approval. We then had a custom ring designed through CAD, which they both loved, and he told me, “We must proceed.” I always take down payments on custom jobs, but this guy was out of town a lot for work and wouldn’t be back for weeks, and he also made it clear he wanted this done ASAP. I went ahead and approved the job, trusting his word that he’d be in within two weeks to pay for it. Well … the ring is ready and he says he’s not picking up until mid-October now. I told him that’s not how I usually do business on custom jobs and that I needed a down payment from him. He got angry and went radio silent for a week. He did call last week to find a solution to the problem after I sent him a lengthy email on why I am confused and disappointed with his approach to the custom-made ring for him. I missed his call and now have called him back twice with no answer and no call back. Guess this beautiful custom-made ring will go out in my showcase and find a new home with someone else. I also had no intentions of spending that kind of money on a project for stock. Live and you learn. — Marc Majors, Sam L. Majors, Midland, TX

Safety First

Regardless of how you feel about the gun issue, the debate certainly does not help the jewelry business. After all, in order for people to buy and wear jewelry, they need to feel safe in doing so. I would urge our industry to be cautious about working to make people feel safe if they care about the business. Sometimes difficult since some feel safe around guns and others don’t, but either way, it affects our retail sales. — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at editor@instoremag.com.

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Working With Family, Expectations For 2020, and More of Your Letters

One store owner says working with family almost blew up two relationships.

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On “All in the Family”

  • My brother Steve and I are second generation, our four children are third generation, there are eight of us here at Lou’s Jewelry — all family — and we all actually like each other. People ask if we spend holidays together. We say no we don’t, but we spend every other day of the year together! Does that count? Haha! — Tim Sherrer, Lou’s Jewelry, Mobile, AL
  • Family business can be very sticky. I’ve had two brothers-in-law leave the business and almost quit the family because of personal differences at work. — Nate Smith, T Lee Custom Designer Jewelry, Minneapolis, MN
  • I work with my daughter. She sold her first ring at the age of 9. It is wonderful and challenging both. She knows the business inside and out. Loves the colored gems and has done CAD design. When I come on the scene, she has said exactly the same things I will point out. — Kas Jacquot, Kas A Designs, Jefferson City, MO
  • This was our best holiday selling season yet — so good, in fact, that this husband-and-wife team did not have a spare moment to read the December story on families who work together! Definitely looking forward to catching up on our required reading! — Zechariah Chambers, Chambers Jewelers, Ford City, PA

First Happy December

  • We closed our brick and mortar business after three generations and 100 years in September. Did a bit of business still via email and some appointments. Enjoyed December for the first time in 42 years. Now I know what all of those people on the train were smiling about on their way home from office parties. We had a good run, but are so happy to be done with the 8 to 5, six day a week thing. — Eric Ohanian, Leon Ohanian & Sons, Boston, MA

Climate Concerns

  • 2020 should have climate change at the forefront. I think it would be wise for our industry to do an analysis of the effect that lab-grown diamonds have on our environment versus mined diamonds. Are we doing better, environmentally, as an industry? — Mark Kasuba, M. Edward Jewelers, Pittsfield, MA

Thanks, No Pressure

  • The magazine is doing a wonderful job and has managed to become the leading industry magazine of our times. That said, it creates a bit more pressure on the visionaries of this achievement because as the old adage says, “It’s difficult to reach the top — but even more difficult to stay there without slipping.” Actually I just made that up, but you know what I mean 🙂 — Peter Stavrianidis, Venus Jewelers, Somerset, NJ
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Webinar Love, Holiday Cheer and More of Your Letters to the Editor

Jewelers seem cautiously optimistic for holiday sales.

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Holiday Cheer

We are excited about the holidays. Positive thoughts bring progress and change. It is only natural to grow. If you are not, find out what is causing you not to. — Bill Jones, Sissy’s Log Cabin, Pine Bluff, AR

Webinar Love

I wanted to drop a quick note to share how much I enjoyed the webinar, “How to Get Your Millennial Prospects to Buy (Again and Again).” Kathleen Cutler did a great job boiling things down to basics that made sense and are actionable by your average retailer. Congratulations and a heartfelt thank you to INSTORE for helping to nurture and guide the industry to capture more of our fair share of consumers’ disposable income. We will never build back this industry to the good ol’ days until we band together and worry not what our fellow jeweler is doing, but how we work together as an industry to attract buyers to the category.  — Kim E. Pelletier, IGC Brand Services, Chicago

Feeling Grateful

We’re hoping and expecting a wonderful Christmas. We are stocked to the gills. I am also very grateful for Jewelers Helping Jewelers on Facebook and the jewelers who are willing to help one another. — Rick Nichols, Nassau Jewelry, Fernandina Beach, FL

Cautious Optimism

I’d love to see a correction in the way consumers are buying right now. If we can end this year with traffic up, sales up and customers returning to some kind of normal buying habit, then I will feel great about going into 2020. I’m cautiously optimistic and think that buyers will come around this year because they’re tired of shopping online and want a personal experience. — Marc Majors, Sam L. Majors, Midland, TX

Women Lead the Way

Women jewelry designers are the wave of the future. They are bringing a fresh, unique and clean aesthetic to the world of jewelry. — Elizabeth Saba, Presley Co. Fine Jewelers, San Diego, CA

(We agree, Elizabeth. Keep an eye out for our “Future Is Female” issue in February. — Ed.).

Diamond Confusion

We expect further cuts to mined diamond prices. What’s tough to figure out is if that is an opportunity or a time to unload … challenging indeed. — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA

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Holiday Readiness, Lab-Grown Pricing and More of Your Letters

One reader says dealers need to chill out.

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Are You Ready For The Holidays?

  • Been ready. Need to salvage the year. Too much good merch sitting around. Need to close everybody. — Rick Nichols, Nassau Jewelry, Fernandina Beach, FL
  • Hoping for a real Christmas. The past years have been way more independent purchasing, with less intense holiday shopping. — Kelli Reinbold, Vernon Jewelers, Salina, KS
  • More than ever, we must be mindful of overbuying. It’s a very good idea to work out special memos with existing vendors, or at least very liberal stock balancing not necessarily tied to additional purchases. Small brick-and-mortar stores that pay their bills are in demand! — J. Dennis Petimezas, Watchmakers Diamonds & Jewelry, Johnstown, PA
  • 52nd Christmas in the trade. If I’m not ready now, I never will be. — Ira Kramer, The Diamond Exchange Of Maryland, Rockville, MD
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Time for an Adjustment

  • Can’t wait for lab-grown diamond prices to fall down to lab ruby, sapphire and emerald prices so we can stop the charade of having to explain the difference to consumers and why they are paying so much for a lab-grown diamond now. — Robert Borneman, Diamond Jewelers, Centereach, NY

Politics Shmolitics

  • Stop obsessing over politics and focus on our businesses. We can’t use the political climate as excuses for our shortcomings. In any time, some stores are thriving and others are dying. We control our own destinies. — Robert Mullen, Mullen Bros. Jewelers, Swanswa, MA

Break from the Norm

  • I always look forward to each month’s magazine. It’s a nice break from the store and news. Thanks, INSTORE! Tommy Thobe, The Village Gem, Perry Hall, MD
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