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Hunting Down the Next Big Thing and More of Your Questions for April




Buying jewelry hot sellers

As our store’s buyer, how do I discover that “next big thing”?

We trust you already keep up to date with jewelry fashion experts like Benjamin Guttery of Third Coast Gems, Beth Bernstein of Bejeweled, Becky Stone of Diamonds In The Library and Danielle Miele of Gem Gossip, read the product sections of all the trade magazines, talk to sales reps and join peer groups like INSTORE’S Brain Squad to find out about what they’re seeing around the country. Then there are three more things to do:

  • Trust your data. When a line or design starts selling well, keep reordering, and don’t be afraid to go deeper in terms of metal type or other variations of the design. As they say, the trend is your friend. Don’t get bored too fast.
  • Keep an eye out for the influencers (a la Anne Hathaway, the Olsen twins, Beyoncé, etc.) who always seem to be one season ahead of everyone else. And be careful not to let your own tastes dictate things too much. 
  • Look to stock more entry-level fashion-forward designs in your stores.

Ironically, the biggest trend right now is probably one-of-a-kind jewelry — even if everyone is buying similar “unique” pieces. When it comes to the next big thing, you don’t have to be first. You just have to be right.

Does it harm our shopping environment to install signs that say only one piece may be taken out of the showcase at a time?

No, not at all, especially if it’s just a neat, small in-case notice. And if you’re still worried, blame your insurance company with wording along the lines of “Our insurance policy allows only one item to be viewed at a time. Thank you for your understanding.” In fact, there’s a good chance your insurer will even supply such signs.

I’m always saying things like, “You don’t have to be a brain sturgeon” or “Our bench jeweler is as ready as a stock.” (I mean steady as a rock.) What’s a good way to recover from these slips?

We heard of a jeweler who could never say “princess cuts” without misplacing the letter “n” to very embarrassing effect. Her solution was to simply refer to them as “square diamonds.” But a better response may just be to seize this opportunity to show you’re human with a line like, “Oh, dear … well, now that I have your attention …” Fallibility is much more adorable than perfection.

A ring I designed 40 years ago has recently shown up on the hands of several top celebrities. However, the design is credited to someone else. My caster says I should sue, but the potential cost makes me wary.

Given the time involved and possible statute of limitations considerations (was a copyright claim even registered?), we sadly think you’re right. Why not get creative? Back in the early 1990s, a tiny South Carolina-based airline, Stevens Aviation, discovered that Southwest Airlines had started using its copyrighted slogan, Plane Smart. Rather than sue, its CEO, Kurt Herwald, challenged Southwest’s founder Herb Kelleher to an arm wrestle at the Dallas Sports Arena to resolve the dispute. Kelleher, 61 at the time, wore a bandoleer fitted with airline-sized bottles of Wild Turkey to the showdown, which he duly lost. However, in the spirit of the matchup, Herwald told Kelleher to “keep the slogan.” Both sides could fairly come away claiming to be the winner. Is there something in the spirit of the “Malice in Dallas” that you could do?


Got a jewelry business question you’re dying to have answered? Email “Ask INSTORE” at [email protected]

This article originally appeared in the April 2017 edition of INSTORE.

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Wilkerson Testimonials

A Liquidation Sale during a Pandemic? Wilkerson Showed Them the Way

For 25 years, Stafford Jewelers of Cincinnati, Ohio, was THE place to go for special gifts, engagement diamonds, high-end Swiss watch brands — in other words, the crème de la crème of fine jewelry. But this summer, the Stafford family was ready to retire. So, they chose Wilkerson to help them close up shop. “One of the biggest concerns was having the sale in the middle of COVID,” says Director of Stores Michelle Randle. Wilkerson gave the Stafford team plenty of ideas as well as safety guidelines, which they closely followed. “All of the employees felt safe, the customers coming in the door felt safe and we did a lot of business,” says Randle. How much business? “The inventory flew,” she says. Translation: They sold millions and millions of dollars-worth of merchandise. Randle calls it, “an incredible experience.” Would she recommend Wilkerson to other retailers who are thinking of thinning their inventories or retiring? “Everyone got more than what they expected out of the sale. You have to hire Wilkerson. They’re amazing.”

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