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Best Finger Foods, Gift Card Strategies … and More August Jeweler Questions Answered

Balancing what tastes good and what’s good for your store is a tough balancing act.

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STORE EVENTS

What are the best finger foods for an in-store event?

Balancing what tastes good — usually greasy or gooey food — with what looks sophisticated and doesn’t leave crumbs around the store or sticky fingerprints all over your jewelry is a tough balancing act. But store trainer Kate Peterson thinks she’s seen the answer: small, clear plastic drink glasses. “One presentation had a small amount (about three-quarters of an inch) of ranch dressing in the bottom of the cups, along with a variety of veggie sticks (carrots, celery, bell peppers. cucumbers, squash). The glasses were all arranged on a tray, so instead of having to pick up the veggies and scoop dip onto a plate, guests simply picked up an easy-to-handle, pre-made serving, which could then be dropped into a trash bin when they were done. Peterson adds that she saw a similar but more “savory” twist on this treatment with cocktail sauce and rinsed and dried jumbo shrimp (tails removed). Don’t want ranch dressing in your store? Try cubed cheese and seedless grapes, which are always a crowd favorite, and easy to prepare.

GIFT CARDS

We are organizing an event for our VIP customers and would like to give them a gift card to encourage participation. Should we offer a percentage off or a dollar discount?

Go for the cash, says Tony Argyle, co-founder of Jewelry Marketing Solutions. “We have tested both percent- age discount vouchers and dollar value vouchers with clients and dollars win hands down,” he says. “A 20 percent voucher means nothing if you don’t know what you are spending before you go, whereas a $20 voucher has real cash value and is seen to be more of a reward by the customer.” Argyle says you can still cover yourself by attaching a minimum spend to the offer, although given these are your best customers, it’s probably best if you don’t.

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DIAMONDS

I received a princess-cut diamond on memo and one of the corners looks abraded. What would have caused this, and what should I do with it?

This is a common occurrence, and could have been caused by a number of things, says diamond cutter Bill Bray. “The most likely reason is that the stone had been mounted before, with the underside of the prong corner getting rubbed during the setting process — something that happens often — or during wear,” he says. It could also have been caused by rough handling with tweezers or even in the spring-loaded holder on a microscope, or it may have even been the product of the cutting process where the rib line between the two girdles chips off, similar to what happens when you saw through a piece of board, Bray says. Whatever the cause, this is an easy fix: Either re-facet the girdle, or have the cutter put a small culet type facet over the abrasion. Of course, get the owner’s permission first.

LEGAL

A jeweler who had worked for me moved to Florida and is now selling very similar designs to mine online. Should I try to take legal action?

As unjust as it seems, you’re better off letting it go. Asked the same question several years ago at a Women’s Jewelry Association meeting in New York, designer Alexis Bittar noted that because of the costs involved, “You lose even if you win.” You can, of course, print off a “cease and desist letter” from the Internet but it’s unlikely to carry much weight if it doesn’t have an attorney’s signature (which will usually cost you $250-$500), and if you’re not careful, “falsely” accusing someone with such a letter can get you in legal trouble. As Bittar concluded: “It’s better to keep innovating and creating new things.”

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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