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Jennifer Farnes: The Dos and Don’ts of Advertising

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Jewelry advertising advice from Jennifer Farnes

Do be friendly to sales reps, don’t fall for cheap ads, and more.


This article originally appeared in the March 2015 edition of INSTORE.

Advertising is something you must do if you want to grow because no one knows who you are until you tell them. But doing advertising right is not easy. Before opening my own jewelry store, I worked in advertising for over a decade. Here, is my starter “Do & Don’t” list to help those struggling with advertising.

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Do set a budget. Advertising can get away from you quickly, just like shopping with a credit card. Lock in an amount you are comfortable with and stick to it. While there isn’t a magic number, the SBA advises that businesses with under $5 million in gross sales (with a 10-12 percent profit margin) spend 7-8 percent of their revenues on marketing.

Don’t give money to anyone without a contract. Most media outlets have an established protocol and will bring a contract to the first meeting. If your media rep forgets the contract but says they will e-mail you — they still shouldn’t leave with any money from you. If the sale is important, they can always come back for the check with a contract in-hand.

Do advertise to what you know. If you watch the morning news on one channel every day, start there. If you listen to the radio on a particular station when commuting, start there. The best way to attract customers with a mind like yours is to advertise in the media you frequent.

Don’t feel pressured to sign the first contract. If there are questions, be sure to ask and expect complete answers to be provided. If changes need to be made, make notes directly on the original contract and keep a copy.

Do be friendly to everyone who approaches you about advertising. Sales people get shut down every day in a variety of brutal ways. Being the one kind person they talk to in a week will stick in their mind. The next time they have a media sale, they will call you. That can mean big savings in advertising, even if you have never spent money with them before. Even better — that friendly connection can lead to free promotional opportunities and a new client in the form of the advertising rep who walked into your store in the first place!

Don’t take the rates as non-negotiable. In advertising, everything is up for negotiation! It never hurts to ask for better pricing or freebies (traffic sponsorships, weather bugs, web ads). There is always a way to sweeten the deal. Stations are coming to you asking for your money.

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Do focus on frequency. If you have $1,000 to spend, don’t buy one commercial in prime-time TV. Buy volume where the price is right. Take your $1,000 and buy two spots a day for one week in your morning drive-time radio, or a few key ads in the local paper every Sunday for a month. The more people hear/see your message in repetition, the better chance your message will sink in.

Don’t blow your entire budget on broad-rotation commercials because the price is cheap. Money is better spent targeting a single day-part (morning, midday, evening) than being scattered all over the map. Broad-rotation spots should be used only as campaign support to boost frequency.

Do ask for free production. With many media companies, a six-month to one-year contract is standard for the station to be able to offer free production. Your commercial might not win any awards, but the media company will produce a nice spot for you because they want you to come back and buy more.

Don’t let media outlets inundate you with demographics and explanations of their rate card. Everyone can skew a printout to make it look like gold. Lock in on your target demographic and tell the media representative to bring in only information that matches your demographics.

Do ask your customers how they heard about you and track the responses (a simple clipboard with hash marks will do).

Don’t be afraid to walk away. You can always change your mind before you sign a contract.

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Jennifer Farnes is the owner and master faceter at Revolution Jewelry Works in Colorado Springs, CO.

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5 Watch Brands Your Customers Want this Holiday Season

As they become more interesting and affordable, watches are appealing to a younger audience.

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HONESTLY, IT’S AGAINST my better judgement that I’m even writing a “holiday” article as a staunch believer in giving Thanksgiving the attention it deserves. But because I am smart enough to realize that this battle is one I’m going to lose, I figured I may as well give in by writing something about watches.

Social media is largely to thank for the watch world being given a second chance. Not that it was “dead” by any stretch, but it did seem – prior to Instagram – that it was moving around a bit more slowly than it had in the past. Now, thanks to watch enthusiast groups, forum feeds, popular hashtags and even an interest in the vintage market, watches are not only sought-after again, but are becoming more interesting and affordable. That is making them appealing to a younger audience.

If your store doesn’t already carry the Crown or the Cross (Rolex or Patek Philippe), chances are, it could be a long time before it ever will, if you’d even want to go in that direction. But that doesn’t mean you can’t stock your store with more modestly priced watch brands that are having a moment right now.

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Here are five popular watch brands that you could get requests for this holiday season.

Doxa

DOWHATNOW? Yeah, people … Doxa. The Swiss watch brand has been around since 1889, and its watches have graced the wrists of both the famous ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau and his son, dive legend Jean-Michel Cousteau. Doxa is “the diver’s dive watch”: understated, affordable and reliable. And while you may not recognize the name at first glance, chances are you have, at some point, seen older images of divers wearing a watch with a bright orange dial, and that watch was likely a Doxa.

Doxa’s new SUB 300T Conquistador – released recently as a tribute to the brand’s original model, which came out in 1969 – is available in six dial colors: the original orange as well as yellow, navy blue, turquoise, silver and black. The SUB 300T is water resistant to 4,000 feet (120 bar), has a 42-hour power reserve and retails for $1,890.

Nomos

While not nearly as old as the manufacturer listed above, NOMOS Glashütte has still put its time (no pun intended) into the watchmaking industry and has earned a solid reputation, particularly as a brand up against some of the more recognizable German watch manufacturers (*cough* Lange *cough*).

But one thing that distinguishes NOMOS is the crowd with whom its becoming popular. For example, Colin Meloy – front man for indie rock group The Decemberists – wears a NOMOS Glashütte Tangente Neomatik, and Colin Meloy ROCKS. So listen up, retailers: If you have millennial customers, look into NOMOS, because its exactly the type of watch the cool kids, who care about quality and value, want.

The NOMOS Tetra Plum is a new release and has caught the attention of both male and female watch wearers. The 29.5mm square case contains a stunning dial in a deep shade of violet, and the power reserve indicator lets the wearer know when the handwound DUW 4301 caliber movement needs to be rewound.

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G-Shock

If you’re a retail store that’s been in business for a long time, it might be hard for you to wrap your head around the fact that I’m telling you that G-Shock, or any Casio-related product, is a brand you should be carrying. Chances are you hear the word “Casio” and think of that scene in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles when John Candy’s character tries to entice a hotel manager to give him a room for “$2 and, uh … and a Casio.” But today’s G-Shocks are not the G-Shocks of old. In fact, they are worn and respected by some of the most recognizable watch personalities in the world.

The newly released GMW-B5000D-1 pays homage to the first G-SHOCK model DW-5000C, which was introduced in 1983. The original square design has been recreated with a full-metal shock-resistant structure, advanced functions and Smartphone Link. It’s a throwback, sure, but it sure looks cool.

Bell and Ross

Founded in 1992 by two childhood friends, Bell & Ross has spent the last 27 years building a solid reputation in the U.S. as an affordable, dependable and yet still fashion-forward watch brand.
With an Instagram following well over 300,000, and fan pages such as @bellandrossworld and @bellrosswiki, the brand has managed to reach a whole new community of buyers and collectors that swear by the manufacturer’s quality and have no problem singing its praises.

The brand recently introduced a limited edition watch exclusive to the Americas: the BR03-92 Diver Bronze Navy Blue in 42mm, retailing for $3,990 here in the States.

Grand Seiko

This might be one of those moments that call for the “#ifyouknowyouknow” hashtag, because if you’re a retailer that already carries this sought-after brand, then you already know why it has made this list.

I don’t think I really understood the draw to Grand Seiko until recently, when I was invited to emcee a watch competition at Little Treasury Jewelers in Gambrills, MD, during their two-day Time Out watch fair. Truly, I never saw so many Grand Seikos sold in one day. People drove from hours away and a handful even flew in for the event, but what stood out most of all was that everybody wanted to tell me about the watch they were wearing. It was astonishing to witness and it opened my eyes even more to Grand Seiko’s public appeal.

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One of the most stunning examples of the brand’s emphasis on elegant design combined with its commitment to produce quality mechanical timepieces has to be the Grand Seiko SBGA211 (also known as the “Snowflake”) from the Heritage Collection. Powered by Spring Drive, Grand Seiko’s unique caliber, the Snowflake has a 72-hour power reserve that is tracked by the power reserve indicator on the bottom left of the watch’s perfectly textured white dial.

As honorable mentions, I’d also recommend looking into brands like Oris, Hamilton and Bremont, as those are three watch companies continuing to find their strengths among younger watch enthusiasts.

Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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Shane Decker

4 Sales Meetings You Must Hold Before the Holidays

Cover these topics to maximize your selling opportunities this season.

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FROM DEC. 1 TO the 24th, closing ratios double and impulse sales skyrocket. The problem? It’s too easy. Salespeople tend to slip into lackadaisical sales practices because the sales happen either way.

Unfortunately, this endangers repeat business and could even cost you holiday sales.

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To prevent this from occurring, hold sales meetings over the next four weeks and address each of these topics in turn.

1. Store Floor Awareness: Emphasize that your team must know what’s happening at all times with all clients. There’s an old wives’ tale that whoever is closest to the door is the greeter; not true. If you’re near the close, you’re not going to turn away to greet a new customer. That means someone else needs to be ready. Has the client been greeted? Does a salesperson need an assist? Is the client about to walk away? Teach your team how to recognize and react to these situations.

2. Wowing All Customers: Salespeople say they are too busy to do this, and that everyone has what they want already. Wrong. This is the time of year that impulse buys greatly increase. All you have to say is, “Guess what’s in the vault?” or “Guess what just came in?” Let the rest take care of itself. Show your team how to “wow” every customer and emphasize just how critical it is.

3. Closing: Clients want you to close. At Christmas time, no one is just looking; everyone is just buying. Learn to professionally create a sense of urgency, but always be honest. You can say:

  • “We only have one of these left.”
  • “These have been really popular this year.”
  • “We can’t get any more of these until after Christmas”
  • “She’s going to love it; you should do this.”
  • “We sell this item faster than we can get it in.”
  • “You’re going to be a hero; she won’t believe you did this.”

If it’s on Dec. 24, you can even say, “We close in 10 minutes. There’s not another place you can go and just look; this is it!”

4. Add-ons: Too many salespeople spin and walk to the point-of-sale after the first item is sold. When you do this, you tell the client they’re done. Instead, purchase some beautiful, small sharp scissors. From now on, once you’ve sold an item, take out your scissors, cut the tag off and lay it on the counter pad. That says you’ve sold the item, but you can continue selling.
The average Christmas buyer buys 15-20 gifts, and the average salesperson sells just one. Instead, after the first item is sold, say one of these add-on lines:

  • “This is part of a set.”
  • “We have what matches.”
  • “I gotta show you what goes with this because she’s gonna love it.”
  • “How many others are on your list?”

These are called lead-in lines because they lead into the next presentation. The average add-on takes 30 seconds because you don’t have to sell; they’re already sold.

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Commentary: The Business

Million-Dollar Seller Achieves Jewelry Dreams

Aly Martinez builds on success.

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IT STARTED WITH beads and a spool of fishing line. I had always been creative and loved anything artistic, but nothing grabbed my attention quite like jewelry. Beading in my bedroom on the weekends quickly led to jewelry-fabrication classes in high school, and by the time I graduated a hobby had turned into a passion and a dream of a life-long career. In college I majored in retail merchandising, but knew I wanted to keep my focus on jewelry. I became connected with my local Art Guild, and when I wasn’t in class I was in the studio taking every jewelry fabrication class I could get my hands on. In 2007 I began working at Kevin Kelly Jewelers, a local family operated jewelry store. There they taught me the basics of repair work, custom work and selling. I was a sponge and wanted to learn everything they were willing to teach me. Upon graduating college in 2009 I knew I wanted to keep going and to learn more, and found myself asking “What next?” I quickly discovered GIA and started on my Graduate Gemology degree. By the beginning of 2010 I started working at Jones Bros. Jewelers part-time changing watch batteries and cleaning jewelry. Again, I said yes to anything they were willing to teach me. Now fast forward nine years later, and I’m a full-time sales associate with a million dollars sold in 2018.

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So what exactly happened throughout those nine years? A lot. Selling full-time was not necessarily something I thought I’d ever do, but I quickly fell in love with the personal connections I was able to make with clients. Once I started, selling a million dollars in a year became a professional and personal goal. A goal that I added to my other goals that I never forgot about and slowly kept working toward. With the help of GIA’s Distance Education Program I was able to continue taking classes while working, and travel to Wisconsin for lab courses. And I’ll admit I put it on the back burner for a while, but creating my own jewelry line was something I’d dreamt about for years, and so I made sure to never lose sight of the initial driving force for my passion for this industry.

Year after year I came close, but never quite hit that million dollar mark. By 2018 I wasn’t ready to give up, but knew it was time to broaden my focus. I dove headfirst into the rest of my Graduate Gemology training, became a brand ambassador for Tacori, and finally created Emerald May, my own jewelry line. I traveled more than ever before – Wisconsin for labs, Vegas for trade shows, and California for Tacori and had my hands in more and more projects. Ironically, with my focus on other things I had wanted for so long, my sales continued to grow, and by the end of 2018 I was one class away from becoming a Graduate Gemologist, my own line was officially started with several pieces sold, and I had reached my goal of selling a million dollars in a year.

It’s a surreal feeling to look back on everything that’s happened over the years to get to where I am now. Something that started as a hobby has turned into a career, a career that drives me to do better every day. The million dollars became so much more than a sales goal. It was something to strive for, something to push me, and once achieved served as a symbol that with enough determination and pursuit anything is possible. It’s given me the courage to keep pursuing other goals and dreams I’ve set for myself. Looking back on all of the hard work, education, and incredible amount of support I know that dreams don’t always have to stay dreams, they truly can become your reality.

So if you’ve taken the time to read this, I hope above anything else you feel inspired. It doesn’t matter if your dreams or aspirations are the same. It’s about finding that thing that drives you day after day that leaves you wanting more. It’s about pushing yourself to go after the things you’ve always dreamed of. It’s about starting somewhere, anywhere, and never giving up or losing sight of what you want and what you’ve worked so hard for. Start at the bottom if you must, just start Be open to every opportunity thrown your way, because you never know where that may lead you. I could have said no to selling because it wasn’t something I thought I’d want to do, but years later it’s become one of my absolute favorite things to do. You never know where something may lead, so take it all in, learn as much as you can, and never lose sight of your dreams – they could be your reality someday.

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