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Jewelers Are All Over the Map on Recent Productivity

Most are keeping busy, from chicken-coop construction and homeschooling to remodeling their stores and updating their websites.

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Jewelers Are All Over the Map on Recent Productivity

IN AN INSTORE Brain Squad survey deployed on April 19, we asked jewelry store owners and managers to rate their productivity level since the pandemic began to affect their work lives. The most popular response, at 17 percent, was a 3 on a scale of 10, but 8 percent rated themselves at a 10. We received 221 responses in all for this question. Jewelers say they are doing their best juggling home life with work life, whether or not they have access to their stores. Many who say they’ve been productive have put time into improving their online presence, catching up on repairs or custom work, or completing touchups and renovations on their stores.

Here are examples of 10 jewelers who rated themselves from 1 to 10 on the productivity score and how they described what they’ve been up to.

Rate your productivity on a scale of 1 (completely non-productive) to 10 (incredibly productive) since the start of the pandemic (or lockdown).

  1. “Duh, closed.” — Ira Kramer, the Diamond Exchange of Maryland, Rockville, MD
  2. “In New Hampshire, jewelry is not considered essential, I doubt it is anywhere. It is impossible to be productive when your shop is so small that social distancing would never work. All my repairs are done, a few people have picked up their items, but most are waiting for healthier times. At least I have plenty of time to clean the shop.” — James Doggett, Doggett Jewelry, Kingston, NH
  3. “I have two small children at home, so I am balancing (or rotating between) 1 – using this time as a blessing and focusing on my family. 2 – playing schoolteacher and keeping a sense of routine. 3 – cleaning up after a family that is home every second of every day. and 4 – adding in some work and not feeling too guilty about missing all of these amazing webinars! — Allison Leitzel-Williams, Leitzel’s Jewelry, Myerstown, PA
  4. We have been able to open and have done some large jobs, but this is usually our big engagement ring season and we haven’t had near the volume. — Nathan George, Joshua’s Fine Jewelry, Russelville, AR
  5. My stores are clean and freshly painted. My house is immaculate. My mood is dismal. — Aida Leisure, OBS Jewelers, St. Michaels, MD
  6. We have sold a few things, are working on special orders and cleaning and retagging the inventory. I can’t wait to reopen. — Laura Sipe, JC Sipe, Indianapolis, IN
  7. We started remodeling the backroom work area before this all started. Being closed gave me the opportunity to complete this project by myself. — Mark Robinette, Robinette Jewelers, Seneca Falls, NY
  8. Not as productive as I would like, but I’m getting stuff done that I’ve been meaning to do for a while! I’ve photographed, edited, and listed dozens of new products online (Etsy). My brand-new standalone website should be launching next week! I’ve got online orders, so even though my store is closed to the public, I’ve been going in most every day to make those items. And I’m taking some “me” time to read and do jigsaw puzzles. So, yay! — Janne Etz, Contemporary Concepts, Cocoa, FL
  9. At home, I built a chicken-coop expansion. At the store, I relabeled findings, cleaned the carpets, put up a back splash. Really, never a dull moment. If this is what retirement feels like I’d rather keep working! — Karen Fitzpatrick, Harris Jewelers, Rio Rancho, NM
  10. The day starts at 9 a.m. as normal with a virtual meeting, then the sales team makes 100 calls each to our customer base, then in the afternoon we watch sales training by Shane Decker or vendors. The admin team has been working on new budgets and sales projections, inventory analysis, and training for them as well. The goldsmith have been cleaning all the jewelry and the merch team is repricing and getting ready for the opening. — Tom Duma, Thom Duma Fine Jewelers, Warren, OH

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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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