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Commentary: The Business

Daniel R. Spirer: Make Anyone Feel Special Today?



Remember what we’re really selling.

[dropcap cap=THE] other day, I had a young woman come into my shop with a diamond ring her grandmother had left to her. She had been in before with her fiancé to look at an engagement ring, but this time she was alone.[/dropcap]

It turns out her fiancé had died last year rather suddenly and her grandmother had then died in December. She wanted desperately to do something with the diamond to honor both her grandmother and, I believe more importantly, her fiancé.

In the process of working with her she broke down in tears a number of times, so overwhelmed with her emotions about it, even though she was with someone she barely knew.

She was torn between a pendant and a ring (I believe the first honoring the grandmother, the second her fiancé) and ultimately left the shop with a need to think some more about her options. I spent about an hour and a half with her. I didn’t get paid a penny for that time, yet every minute of it was paid for in what I personally experienced emotionally from it.

The emotional content of our business as jewelers is far more important than in any other business and it should impact everything we do as jewelers.


Years ago, I had another customer come in to pick up a custom job I had made for her. When I handed it to her, she broke down in tears. Concerned, I asked if I had botched the job. Her reply was: “No, I am so happy that someone actually listened to me about what I want.”

Someone actually listened to her! It made her a customer for life (her last purchase in the middle of the recession was a $10,000 order for two pieces) and it made a lasting impression on me about what our business means. It doesn’t mean how much money did I make this week/month/year. It doesn’t mean did I make enough money on that piece. It doesn’t mean did I sell this piece too cheaply.

What it does mean is this:

How did I help make this person feel good today? How did I help this person remember a loved person in their lives today? How did I help this individual be heard today? How did I make this one person who walked into my shop and talked to me today feel special? Not special because I took their money — but special because they are a human being deserving to be treated like one and special because I helped them, in whatever small way, honor someone important to them.

I’ll take that feeling of doing good any day over having netted a couple of hundred more dollars because all I was invested in was my bottom line.

Funny thing, though. My beliefs seem to work. Sales are up 60 percent in my first four months of the year, and the only problem I have is getting all the work done. Let’s try not to forget what it truly is, as jewelers, that we are selling.



[smalltext]DANIEL R. SPIRER is a graduate gemologist and owner of Daniel R. Spirer Jeweler in Cambridge, MA. E-mail him at [email protected]

[span class=note]This story is from the October 2011 edition of INSTORE[/span]



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