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Full Service Shop Tool Kit

Here’s how to add another profit center to your business.



How should I describe my full-service operation?

Don’t call it a repair department. Service applies to a whole menu of possibilities, including restyling an heirloom into a reimagined engagement ring. For many jewelers, it also involves buying gold from customers. “I think it is important to be sure the customer knows the services you offer after the sale. Signage in the case with a list of these services does that much more effectively than just your salesperson’s words,” says Larry Johnson.

How relevant is a full-service jeweler today?

Services, particularly buying old, unwanted jewelry that can be resold or sent to a refiner, has become a key profit center for John Carom, owner of Abby’s Gold & Gems in Uniontown, PA. “We did not initially seek this business. The public wants us to service them for these assets.” Other services being sought out by clients include performing appraisals for estates, which represent the largest transfer of personal property value in the country’s history, as baby boomers and their parents leave jewelry to younger generations.


How can I make the most of repair visits?

You want clients to look at jewelry while they’re popping in and out of your store to pick up or drop off repairs, but in some stores, it’s tough; a customer can literally walk down the middle and right to the service desk. Consider adding an island to create more of a flow around the cases. “You can’t make people look at things, but you can slow them down on their rush to pick up whatever they are there for,” says interior designer Ruth Mellergaard of GRID/3 International. “There may be a way to reuse your existing cases to create more of a meandering path, or maybe buying just one new case would make it work.”

How can offering services establish trust?

Amber Gustafson, owner of Amber’s Designs, Katy, TX, says it’s important to realize that the jewelry business is the people business. And people need help. “People come to you with not only a ring to be sized or engagements that they need to have a ring for, but they come to you with heirlooms that are precious to them even though they may be costume. They come to you with chains that they’ve gotten as a gift for their 16th birthday and they are 35 and they want to know why a solder is not going to be enough to repair their chain. Too many people think that being in the jewelry business is a way to make lots of money. It can be, but only if you put in the time and build your reputation because this is a trust business.”

Steven Wardle, owner of Forest Beach Design in Chatham, MA, recommends being the go-to-guy, the fixer for your community. “If someone needs a bauble delivered, needs something fixed, if the church swap shop needs an ID, if an elderly person needs door-to-door service, if you have to design and make a pin for a local group to help with fundraising, be the go-to guy, and your community will never let you starve,” he says.

Are repairs price sensitive?

No! says David Geller, author of Geller’s Blue Book to Jewelry Repair & Design. Ninety percent of repair customers will say go ahead and fix it no matter what price you say that it is. “Repairs are trust sensitive. Repairs have a three to four times greater closing ratio than product, and you never get people who say, ‘I’ll be back,’” says Geller.

“The secret to continued success in repair is to do quality work, deliver as promised, guarantee your work and pay people fairly and well,” Geller says. “Explain how the work is done. Show them the repairs that are needed with either a loupe, or better yet, a monitor. If you offer express service, charge 50 percent more.”


Jo Goralski of the Jewelry Mechanic in Okauchee Lake, WI, agrees. “I have used the Geller Blue Book since edition 1,” she says. “My husband objected strongly. I explained that if we lost 80 percent of our customers, I would toss it out, but if we only lost 20 percent, that meant that 80 percent were paying more. He agreed, and no one objected. You open the book, an industry standard, and say any price you like because with all the columns and figures, there is no way the client can see what the book says. Shop pricing cannot be compared; it is wide open territory.”

How do you explain what goes into repair pricing?

If asked about the price, explain without apology how the work is performed. Open Geller’s Blue Book, point to the price and say, “and that’s all it’ll be.” In order to explain your repair pricing, ask your jeweler or yourself these questions so you can answer them easily, quickly and without hesitation: How long have you been doing jewelry work? How long have you worked for this company? What’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever worked on in your whole career? Then use the answers in your explanation to establish value.



This Third-Generation Jeweler Was Ready for Retirement. He Called Wilkerson

Retirement is never easy, especially when it means the end to a business that was founded in 1884. But for Laura and Sam Sipe, it was time to put their own needs first. They decided to close J.C. Sipe Jewelers, one of Indianapolis’ most trusted names in fine jewelry, and call Wilkerson. “Laura and I decided the conditions were right,” says Sam. Wilkerson handled every detail in their going-out-of-business sale, from marketing to manning the sales floor. “The main goal was to sell our existing inventory that’s all paid for and turn that into cash for our retirement,” says Sam. “It’s been very, very productive.” Would they recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers who want to enjoy their golden years? Absolutely! “Call Wilkerson,” says Laura. “They can help you achieve your goals so you’ll be able to move into retirement comfortably.”

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