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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

Today’s Bridal Client Requires A New Approach

Selection isn’t enough anymore.

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IF YOU’RE SELLING bridal the same old way you’ve done it in past decades, you may find fewer people saying “I do” to your engagement rings.

Twenty years ago, it was enough just to have a strong selection of solitaires. Heck, it’s been less than five years since custom design began to dominate the bridal conversation and lab-grown diamonds started making waves.

Those products are responses to three traits common to nearly every engagement ring shopper these days: they want uniqueness, an environmentally and ethically friendly product, and quality at a reasonable price. If you’re not addressing shoppers’ desire for a ring distinct from their peers — and one that satisfies their social conscience — you need to revisit your business model, quickly.

Today’s engagement ring shopper also responds well to an unexpected positive experience. Many jewelers now provide one or more “extras” to bridal shoppers, which we’ve collated in our lead story, “41 Surefire Ways to Make Your Bridal Business Stand Out.” These could be anything from a proposal package to a photo shoot, booth seating or concierge services.

And that’s just the beginning. Throughout this issue, you can read about how to make the most of the lab-grown diamond phenomenon, how to streamline your bridal inventory, how to get clients to return for jewelry service, and much more. So if you’re ready to turn something old into something new, turn the page and get cracking!

Trace Shelton

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

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

1. Write a blog post that describes the best places around your community to propose. (Tip Sheet, p. 56)
2. Create infographics about jewelry and diamonds to share on social media. (Manager’s To-Do, p. 32)
3. Give a silicon band free to engagement ring shoppers while talking about jewelry care. (Do You Or Don’t You, p. 73)
4. Treat engagement ring clients to a ride to their wedding in a vintage vehicle. (The Big Story, p. 40)
5. Track which live samples result in special orders. (Sherry Smith, p. 61)

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Editor's Note

What Makes a Store Cool?

It’s the special sauce of individuality.

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WHEN I SAW a photo of an inverted canoe chandelier hanging from Erik Runyan Jewelers’ 18-foot ceilings in Vancouver, WA, I wanted to meet the people who put it there.

I got my chance in June when our panel of expert judges chose ERJ as the No. 1 America’s Coolest Store in the Big Cool division.

What draws me to ERJ is not just the canoe. The store is the perfect expression of everything Erik and Leslie Runyan love. They raised their three daughters on boats and dirt bikes. Their spirit of adventure, the sea and wide-open spaces are reflected in the store design and ambience.

Gem dealers Simon and Laurie Watt have curated EAT Gallery, the No. 1 store in the Small Cool division, to display beloved treasures, from local art to hand-carved gem sculptures. They’ve managed to connect Maysville, the Kentucky town they’ve chosen to call home, to the wide world of gems they inhabit in their travels. The place is so personal that if you tell manager Katherine Cotterill just what you want, she will string natural stones or pearls right there at her desk to match your vision — or your outfit.

Each of this year’s Cool Stores scored high in the category of individuality. Without that special sauce, even the most opulent store can feel cold.

On the other hand, when you’re able to be yourself, shoppers are delighted by the sense of ease and comfort that results from such authenticity.  How cool is that?

Eileen McClelland
eileen@smartworkmedia.com

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

  • Create a proprietary wine label to share with clients in your store and add to your overall brand. (The Big Story, p. 46)
  • Provide “loaner” rings to customers to use to pop the question so that the fiancée can be involved in the selection/design process later. (The Big Story, p. 72)
  • Produce a video blog series that shows viewers how jewelry looks when worn and introduces new collections or pieces. (The Big Story, p. 36)
  • Offer concierge services for your clients, including making dinner reservations, finding local tours or calling up Google Maps for directions. (The Big Story, p. 66)
  • Sponsor a Champagne diamond giveaway, in which all participants receive a cubic zirconia and one trades in for a real diamond. (The Big Story, p. 78)
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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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