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Jewelers Tell Their Biggest Lessons Learned from the 2020 Holiday Season

Several Brain Squad members said, “Expect the unexpected.”

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  • No matter what, people still need that little something-something. Even on a budget. — Jim Doggett, Doggett Jewelry, Kingston, NH
  • When push came to shove, people did try to shop locally, although we had a few sales due to failures of delivery. People did appreciate our efforts at safety and of course packaging and gift wrap. — Tory Michel, Tory’s Jewelry, Marblehead, MA
  • Clienteling is king. My salespeople keep saying they wish they would have started earlier. — Natasha Henderson, Saxon’s Fine Jewelers, Bend, OR
  • Our competition isn’t really the internet. It’s vacations! — Debbie Fox, Fox Fine Jewelry, Ventura, CA
  • People are ready to socialize again! Let’s get ready for the roaring 20s again! — Tim Sherrer, Lou’s Jewelry, Mobile, AL
  • Don’t give up! We made huge business decisions, and we did them quick when the pandemic first started. It paid off in the end and we had major results! 2020 was filled with lots of tears, tough decisions, but also life lessons that will never be forgotten. — Stephenie Bjorkman, Sami Fine Jewelry, Fountain Hills, AZ
  • “I need these links added to my new Rolex.”
    “Sorry, we are closed for vacation.”
    “But I gotta have it done.”
    “Take it to the jeweler you bought the watch and the links from; they will be happy to do that service for you.”
    “I bought it on the internet.”
    “I see.” — Jo Goralski, The Jewelry Mechanic, Oconomowoc, WI
  • People will continue to get married no matter what the conditions! — Jeremy Auslander, Roxbury Jewelry, Los Angeles, CA
  • After being in the industry for over 52 years and all of the changes during those years, we still have customers that will patronize our store instead of the internet model. That is a good feeling. — Ed Menk, E.L. Menk Jewelers, Brainerd, MN
  • Expect the unexpected. — Sue Parker, Nyman Jewelers, Excanaba, MI
  • Our store seems to be where you go for custom, restoration and repairs. Not many people were coming to the store to shop in December, but we spoke to many about custom projects for the new year. Our 2021 marketing focus will change due to the poor sales numbers during the holiday season. — Doreen Vashlishan, Werkheiser Jewelers, Bethlehem, PA
  • Curbside and internet/phone handholding are a lot of work. — Amanda Lanteigne, Gold-N-Memories, Steinbach, MB
  • People who take the time and make the effort to get out and shop in a physical store are more likely to buy. I had much less foot traffic in my store this year over last, but my sales conversion was higher by far. — Janne Etz, Contemporary Concepts, Cocoa, FL
  • Have more visible pricing! Gives shoppers confidence when they shop that items may not be out of their price range. — Julie Terwilliger , Wexford Jewelers, Cadillac, MI
  • Just when you think you have it all figured out, you realize you don’t! We had our best December since 2012, and we didn’t work like fiends. We were open by appointment only, worked five days a week and got home between 7-8 each night. Usually, we are seven days a week, 10+ hours a day, and are wrecked before the biggest rush even hits. This year, we watched Christmas movies, Zoomed with friends and actually enjoyed the holiday season. Go figure! I can tell you we will never do 50+ hours/week in December again. — Melissa Quick, Steve Quick Jeweler, Chicago, IL
  • People wanted meaningful jewelry that would be worn all the time. Nothing too dressy. Also sold very few items under $350 unless it was Pandora. Customers were very happy for our masks and sanitizer. We gained quite a few customers from a nearby store where they were not wearing masks. — Dorothy Vodicka, The Gem Collection, Tallahassee, FL
  • We are transitioning to full-time by-appointment-only in 2021. This is a permanent change. Yes, COVID-19 was the precursor to this, but it’s time to change up our business, take control of our lives and our scheduling. We may lose some business, but that’s OK. Ready to lose business to gain a life away from work. — Mark Snyder, Snyder Jewelers, Weymouth, MA
  • People just want to be free to do what they want! — John Anthony Jr., John Anthony Jewelers, Bala-Cynwyd, PA
  • That no matter how many beautiful things I have in the showcases they always want something custom ordered or made! — Loann Stokes, Stokes Jewelry, Stillwater, MN
  • Be prepared for opportunity. Listen and deliver what is requested. Learn to be open to change; it can be your greatest asset. Be kind to the people who support you — everyone is fighting an unseen battle. — Denise Oros, Linnea Jewelers, La Grange, IL
  • Add-on sales are essential, and with a little more effort make a huge difference. — David Abrams, Grand Jewelers, Rancho Cucamonga, CA
  • More local people were utilizing the “shop small” mentality. I think this pattern of behavior could save small businesses if it continues. — Joe Caron, Caron’s Jewelry, Bristol, RI
  • When the government shuts you down, it affects your revenue. — Mark Neumann, Ross Designs, Highland Park, IL

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. jewelry store, you’re invited to join the INSTORE Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the jewelry industry. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at [email protected].

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