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Beware the Hideousness of Fluourescent Lighting … and More Jeweler Tips

Your customers’ mental state is everything, so don’t use them in your bathroom.





Beware Fluorescents

Your customers’ mental state is everything, so be wary, says design firm Grid/3 International, of using fluorescent lighting in your bathroom. It often makes customers look and feel awful. When they are in that mood they are far less inclined to splash out on something celebratory.


Trim Your Cost

Tax season is almost upon us, which means it’s a good time to buy a shredder. And no we’re not suggesting that because you may have something to hide but because office-supply retailers discount them to lure customers into their stores. You don’t need a top-of-the-line model that chops paper into the tiniest of confetti. One that simply shreds and crosscuts will do the trick.



Feel the Pain

That’s the money-management advice of business guru Tom Peters, who argues that the “ouch factor” of paying for anything goes up by “an order of magnitude” when you’re handing over Bennies or any smaller-denomination notes. Peters suggests you choose a month, and pay in cash whenever possible. “After paying the office supply bill in $20s, I’d bet a pretty penny or 10 that the next month would inaugurate an era of tighter purse strings,” he writes in his blog at


Time the Money

Meetings are an invaluable part of any successful business, but they can also be tremendous time-wasters. If you are worried you’re not getting the most out of your company get-togethers, try using the Meeting Miser from PayScale, a Seattle-based company that collects compensation data. This free, Internet-based widget calculates how much you’re spending or wasting on a meeting. We filled in data for a one-hour meeting in Los Angeles that consisted of a store manager, a jeweler and a sales associate. The cost was $52.20, which seemed a bit on the low side. Nevertheless, having the clock run as you gab should make you more conscious of the time and quality of your meetings.


Snap Away

Every jewelry store owner should have a digital camera within reach, says retail consultant Rick Segel. Next time you hear a compliment from a customer, ask if he or she would mind posing for a photo. “Take that picture, download it to your website and add a quote. It might be ‘I love this store because the people are so knowledgeable.’ And make a display sign out of it. People love testimonials,” he says.



Sprinkle with Imagination

There are business cards made of the finest bonded paper or even clear plastic. But if you really want to stand out, make yours an envelope containing a few shards of coal, with directions for “Do-it-yourself diamonds:”

  • Step 1: Plant in ground.
  • Step 2: Wait several million years.
  • Step 3: Mine, sort, cut, polish.
  • Or, if you don’t have the time, come on down to ________, and we’ll get you fixed up right away.

Lush Lawn and Property Enhancement, a Michigan-based landscaper, used something similar (grass seeds and the line, “Just add water”) and reported business increased 300 percent in just four months.


Don’t Fake Sincerity

“The most common mistake retailers make is when they spend a lot of time telling their staff what to do and what not to do,” says Jeremy Michael, commercial director at British firm Retail Eyes, which tests customer-service levels at thousands of stores every week. The result of that approach is the same half-hearted, scripted welcome you’ll get at a convenience store. A much better approach, Michael told the Scotsman newspaper, is to recruit on the basis of attitude and then let staff deliver the service as they know best. Do focus your training on product knowledge, which along with sincerity, is the top concern of most consumers, Michael said.



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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