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If I Owned

Glenn Llopis



Author of Earning Serendipity says that, if he owned a jewelry store, he’d earn his good luck by doing the right things.

[dropcap cap=L]et me start by making an admission. I’m not a jewelry expert. What do I know about jewelry? It’s sparkly and shiny and it makes my wife and mother happy. I also know that there’s much more to know.[/dropcap]

Retail today is beset by forces on all sides. Since Sol Price first laid out the framework for discount retailing more than 50 years ago with Fed Mart and later Price Club, the American consumer has been increasingly conditioned to believe in disposable consumerism: Buy cheap, buy often. The rise of Internet e-tailing has only exacerbated this problem. If I type “18K Gold Studs” into Google, I am met with nearly endless choices and the associated costs right beside them. And of course, all else being equal, most people are going to go with the lowest price.

[important color=grey title=About the Author] Glenn Llopis, author of Earning Serendipity: Four Skills For Creating And Sustaining Good Fortune In Your Work, is a sought-after speaker, trainer and consultant. He is president of Glenn Llopis Group, a performance development company in Irvine, CA (, executive director of the Center for Innovation and Humanity and Founder of the Center for Hispanic Leadership. He can be reached at (949) 387-2609 or [email protected][/important]

The challenge for the modern jewelry retailer is in convincing the public that all else is not equal; that there is value in the experience with the local independent store. The success or failure of a brick-and-mortar retailer rests in the perception of consumers that they are getting the most for their dollar, even if they are spending a little bit more than they otherwise would online or with a discount retailer.

If I owned a jewelry store, I would begin by “seeing the opportunities” that exist in the modern market and “sowing my entrepreneurial seeds” by addressing the two things that are fundamentally lacking in both the large discount retailers and online store experiences: knowledge and community.


The first is easy, a no-brainer. As a buyer of jewelry, common sense tells me that I should depend upon the knowledge of others to make me a smarter consumer. As an independent retailer, presumably with a knowledge and passion for my business, I am in a position to capitalize on wisdom garnered through my years of experience in a way that no large discount retailer employee or website ever could.

I would make certain that I (and my staff!) knew the providence and pedigree of each unique piece in the store. A special purchase of beaded jewelry from West Africa? I would be able to tell the customer the name of the country, region and, if possible, the artist who created them. Cut diamonds? I would be able to say with confidence where they came from and whether they were conflict-free. An online store might offer written guides to jewelry and gems

, but it can’t listen to its customer; a discount retail store clerk might offer selection and price, but he may not be as knowledgeable.

[blockquote class=grey]I would cultivate opportunity in inconsistency, making every visit to my store a treasure hunt of new items, specials and ideas.”  — GLENN LLOPIS[/blockquote]

Beyond that, I would use my knowledge to create an unexpected in-store experience. Whereas a large discount retailer purchasing in mass quantities from limited vendors can offer consistency of product and product line, I might cultivate opportunity in inconsistency, making every visit to my store a treasure hunt of new items, specials and ideas. offers free shipping? I’d offer same-day resizing and emphasize immediate gratification (and satisfaction). Above all, every member of my staff would either be an expert in the field or trained to direct the customer to someone who was.


Each of these things is a means to carving out a place in the customers’ landscapes, becoming a part of the customers’ communities. growing opportunity in a brick-and-mortar retail environment means learning to share opportunity with the people that make up your neighborhood. Why do well-known discount retailers sponsor parades and support the local little league team? Because they want to seem as if they are a part of the local scene and they’ve learned that small investments can reap great rewards. But here’s where I, as an independent retailer, have an advantage. I am a part of the local scene, I truly do care what happens in my community. When I give time or money to assist in an Eagle Scout’s beautification project, my neighborhood becomes more livable. If I set up a small scholarship, a child from my community more affordably goes to college. If I advance micro-loans to those starting small businesses, I make my community a more vibrant and viable place for enterprise.

When I share the opportunity that I have, I create opportunity for myself and others, benefit from both good will and good works, and better thrive in a world where my doing creates an environment of trust and earned serendipity!

EARN?MORE?SERENDIPITY: Glenn is offering INDESIGN readers the opportunity to participate in a complementary webcast. Go to and sign up today. Registration ends Oct. 20, 2009. Invitation Code: Serendipiter.





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