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Eileen McClelland

Jewelers of Louisiana Convene for Awards Presentation, Education

Melinda Wallace and Eric Armentor are honored.

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Board President Jason LeMaire presents Eric Armentor of Armentor Jewelers with the lifetime achievement award.
Board President Jason LeMaire presents Eric Armentor of Armentor Jewelers with the lifetime achievement award.

DURING THEIR 76TH annual convention in Metairie, LA, Aug. 13-14, the Jewelers of Louisiana presented awards to Melinda Wallace, manager of Pattons Fine Jewelry in Alexandra, LA, and to Eric Armentor, who represents the second generation of family ownership of Armentor Jewelers in Lafayette and New Iberia, LA.

Armentor, who won the lifetime achievement award, is past president of the Jewelers of Louisiana and a current board member. “Eric has been the epitome of a professional,” says Richard Melancon, who nominated him. “Having been a direct competitor in a town of 12,000, I could always count on Eric and his staff to be professional in all transactions.”

Wallace, who won the Jewelers of Louisiana Award 2022, has won multiple Jewelers of Louisiana jewelry design contests and is celebrating her 50th year as a jeweler. “During her tenure, sales have increased exponentially, the staff has gelled as a true team and have performed at a level Pattons has not seen in decades,” says business owner Kevin Patton.

Convention speakers included Jimmy DeGroot, jewelry sales and operations trainer (JewelryStoreTraining.com); Harold Dupuy, vice president of strategic analysis for Stuller; Aleah Arundale, a loose diamond wholesaler and founder of the Jewelers Helping Jewelers Facebook group; and Guy Borenstein, senior gemologist at Stuller.

Vice President Dianna Rae High presents Melinda Wallace, manager of Pattons Fine Jewelry, with the Jewelers of Louisiana Award.

Vice President Dianna Rae High presents Melinda Wallace, manager of Pattons Fine Jewelry, with the Jewelers of Louisiana Award.

5 Takeaways from the Convention Speakers:

Overall, the economy is healthy, but inflation is high and consumer sentiment is crashing, says Harold Dupuy. However, the consumer sentiment index does not have the same impact on the jewelry industry as it does on other retail segments and jewelry sales have remained strong this year. “Jewelry is an illogical purchase, an emotional purchase. Sometimes people make irrational purchases when love is involved,” he says. In fact, some segments of the industry (bridal, custom and repairs) are nearly recession proof.

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Recognize extra slivers of time in your day and put them to good use, says Jimmy DeGroot. Finding 35 minutes a day for clienteling can make a huge difference in the bottom line if you are consistent and make your staff accountable. Requiring each salesperson to contact seven clients a day and spend five minutes on each client, will not only boost the bottom line but will also foster an entrepreneurial spirit in your staff, allowing you to take a step back. “When you connect with clients, be singular, sincere and personal; no mass texts,” DeGroot says.

If you have enough people on the sales floor, assess and pair each customer with a salesperson who seems to have the same or similar personality type (fun and outgoing, for example). If there are not enough salespeople in your store to achieve this, it’s important for the salesperson to learn how to reflect the mood and energy level of the customer. Team selling and turnovers are also good strategies to improve closing ratios. Although you can’t ask your customers to take personality tests, there are tools that can ensure your employees are in the right jobs and matched with the right customers. One such tool DeGroot recommends is the Flag Page.

Tell people you are No. 1, suggests Aleah Arundale. As in, “We’re the No. 1 best repair shop. We’re the world’s best repair company. We’re the best for bridal in West Michigan. When you say that, you start to believe it, too. So you start stocking more bridal, putting more bridal up front. “The more you say you’re No. 1 you will be No. 1. Claim No. 1 and eventually you will be,” she says.

Let the customer know they’re in the right place, says Arundale. “Welcome to XXX Jewelers. Your ring is here, now let’s go find it. This says I’m going to work hard for you. You don’t have to look somewhere else.”

Jewelers of Louisiana exists to foster and promote business growth, professional integrity, and consumer confidence in the jewelry industry by combining the forces of the ethical jewelers and suppliers engaged in business in the state of Louisiana. For more information about the group, visit jewelersoflouisiana.org

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