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Editor's Note

Mined and Laboratory-Grown Diamonds Compete in Retail Showcases Nationwide

Billion-year-old diamonds are competing with newborn diamonds in retail showcases.

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Diamonds are a girl’s best friend … regardless of whether they come from a mine or a lab.

That’s the message we’re hearing from many North American jewelry retailers. The only question seems to be whether laboratory-created diamonds are suited for special occasions, like engagements and anniversaries, or whether they should be relegated to lower-cost fashion jewelry. Laboratory-created diamond manufacturers are banking on the former — with one exception, De Beers, whose Lightbox imprint of laboratory-grown diamond jewelry targets younger, self-purchasing consumers.

With the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently weighing in with new terminology guidelines for diamonds (and gold, but that’s another story), it’s been an eventful summer for anyone involved in the sale of diamond jewelry. In fact, we had to delay layout of our special feature, “Lab Test,” in order to cover the most recent developments. Managing Editor Eileen McClelland did a fantastic job of talking to parties on all sides of the issue, including retailers who are doing big-time business in the category.

It’s a cornerstone of this special bridal-focused edition of INSTORE, along with a super-sized “New Arrivals” (with tons of hot-off-the-presses bridal rings) and our “What I’ve Learned” story, which interviews retailers, designers and industry consultants on their bridal lessons learned over the years. In fact, just about every feature in this issue is devoted to bridal, the most important sales category for most jewelry retailers.

So, do you think it’s time to take the plunge and commit already to this issue? I do!

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Five Smart Tips You’ll Find Inside This Edition

  • 1. Tell clients the price of the item early on so that they can hear everything else you’re telling them. (The Big Story, page 46)
  • 2. Talk to your insurer about what would be involved in letting VIP customers borrow nice jewelry for their special days. (Manager’s To-Do, page 28)
  • 3. When you lose a big sale, call a “sales inquest” to figure out what, if anything, you could have done differently. (Ask Instore, page 75)
  • 4. Pull a ring out of the case, ask the client to hold out her hand and put it on her (instead of asking if she’d like to see it). (David Geller, page 82)
  • 5. Remove calculators from your countertops; they kill the romance of jewelry buying. (Shane Decker, page 86)

Trace Shelton is the editor-in-chief of INSTORE magazine. He can be reached at trace@smartworkmedia.com.

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Editor's Note

Why It’s Good To Remember Your Best Day Ever

Reliving your favorite memory in business could inspire you to even greater heights.

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IT’S HUMAN NATURE to remember one’s failures most vividly. In my senior year of high school, we finished our football season at 9-2. A record to be proud of, but it’s those two losses that stick with me most.

Maybe you’re the same way, and you’ve had failures that you can’t stop wondering “what if” about. But we’ve already done an issue on failure (go back and read our April issue if you missed it!). Now, it’s time to celebrate the good times! Remember those moments when you were on top of the world? The ones you would love to relive again? Those are the recollections that inspire us to make the next unbelievable memory.

As we roll into the second half of the year, it seems appropriate to recall those “best days ever” to motivate you to even greater heights. In our lead story, we’ve collected 33 reminiscences from your fellow jewelry store owners to remember their favorite days, from that occasion when one made his first sale, to the moment one met his future spouse, to that time one’s father gave her the advice that sticks with her to this day. (We had so many beautiful stories that we couldn’t fit them all in print, so visit instoremag.com to read the rest!)

So go ahead: invite the memory of your favorite day back into your mind right now. Smile. Read about the triumphs of your peers. Then get back into your business and set the stage for your next best. day. ever!

Trace Shelton

Editor-in-Chief, INSTORE
trace@smartworkmedia.com

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

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Editor's Note

This Year’s INSTORE Design Awards Winners Followed In a Stellar Tradition

With 25 categories, many designers had the chance to shine.

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EVERY YEAR, I’M consistently impressed by the ingenuity displayed by the jewelry designers who enter the INSTORE Design Awards. Two years ago, Hisano Shepherd of Little H made a splash with her fresh take on pearls, slicing them open and encrusting them with gemstones. Last year, Katey Brunini won three categories with three separate pieces from her intricate and colorful Eating Watermelon In The Black Forest collection, while TAP By Todd Pownell took two other categories with their striking, nature-inspired use of diamonds.

This year, with so many more categories (25, as opposed to eight last year), lots of designers made their mark. Adel Chefridi won two categories and a Retailer’s Choice award with his geometric matte designs. Thorsten placed with three different show-stopping wedding band designs. Manufacturers Gabriel & Co. and UNEEK Fine Jewelry each had multiple winners. The mesmerizing Sultana ring by Annamaria Cammilli Firenze cleaned up across several categories. Then there was our Grand Prize winning piece: the VIVAAN cuff (featured on our cover) with nearly 30 carats of natural fancy color diamonds that won over both our judges and online voters.

When you’re shopping the Las Vegas trade shows, start with the winners of this design competition. If they’re turning heads among our judges and online voters, they’re sure to turn the heads of your clients as well.

Trace Shelton

Editor-in-Chief, INSTORE
trace@smartworkmedia.com

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

  • When displaying men’s jewelry, opt for timeless elements like antique fly-fishing reels, old toy cars or old sports items. (Ask Instore, p. 91)
  • Longer ad copy yields better results, as proven by Google. (Jim Ackerman, p. 90)
  • Always display in odd numbers; it’s more aesthetically pleasing. (Three Things I Know About, p. 94)
  • Ask questions that elicit a “yes” from the woman in order to close the male buyer. (Shane Decker, p. 92)
  • When retirement is in the near future, start maximizing net profit to build the value of your business. (David Brown, p. 94)
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Editor's Note

Why Excuses Are The Enemy of Learning

To get better in business and life, you must first embrace failure.

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“If you continue to be defensive every time I give you constructive criticism, you’ll never learn anything.”

I was in my mid-20s when a mentor and former employer said those words to me, and I’ve never forgotten the lesson. When you make excuses, you lose the opportunity to learn from failure and improve yourself.

It’s more difficult than it sounds. Human nature is to look outside oneself for a source of blame. No one wants to be thought of as “a failure.”

And yet, if you’re willing to bow to the requirements of wisdom, your confidence can only rise as your quest for improvement moves forward.

Our magazine is all about education, and we figured there’s no better teacher than failure — thus, you hold in your hands, “The Failure Issue.” Inside, you’ll find stories from successful businesspeople who aren’t afraid to admit how they failed, and how that failure was transformative.

For example, check out columnist David Geller’s story of how he went from near-bankruptcy to profitable through a cash-flow crucible. And read about David Nygaard’s odyssey from multi-store owner to personal jeweler and city councilman through bankruptcy and divorce.

It all starts with a willingness to learn — and if you didn’t have that, you wouldn’t be reading INSTORE. So read on, and prepare to get the most from failure!

Trace Shelton

Editor-in-Chief, INSTORE
trace@smartworkmedia.com

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

  • Have employees wear white cotton gloves when moving product around to keep skin oil off jewelry. (Manager’s To-Do List, p. 30)
  • Hold “failure reviews” when anything goes wrong in your business. (The Big Story, p. 40)
  • Keep a Failure Wall in a back room where you and your staff can share “growth lessons.” (The Big Story, p. 40)
  • In job postings, describe your company, your reputation and your goals. (Ask INSTORE, p. 62)
  • Reward your clients through a Brand Ambassador program that compensates them for sharing their enthusiasm for brands. (Cool Stores, p. 78
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