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Classically Beautiful

Elegant new location emphasizes an effortless experience.

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Bailey’s Fine Jewelry, Cary, NC

OWNERS: Clyde, Jane, Trey and Marci Bailey; URL: baileybox.com; FOUNDED: 1948; OPENED FEATURED LOCATION: 2022; AREA: 5,000 square feet; ARCHITECT AND DESIGN: 310 Architects; Artco; TOP BRANDS: David Yurman, Elizabeth Locke, Gurhan, Ippolita, Lagos, Marco Bicego, Mikimoto, Phillips House; NORQAIN watches and pre-owned Rolex watches; EMPLOYEES: 150 full-time and 79 part-time; ONLINE PRESENCE: 30,000 Instagram followers; 4.8 Stars on Google


Clyde, Jane, Trey and Marci Bailey

BAILEY’S JEWELRY’S NEWEST location in Cary, NC, is simply beautiful, from the marble look and oversize chandeliers to the smooth neutral tones.

But underlying the elegant aesthetics are practical considerations, as well, that allow staff members to provide the best possible customer service.

For example, every sales associate is welcome to work at their own desk, equipped with a computer, when they are between clients. A store concierge and greeter makes that possible. And a couple of sales associates are on the floor at all times, too.

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North Carolina Jewelry Store Blends Form with FunctionNorth Carolina Jewelry Store Blends Form with Function
North Carolina Jewelry Store Blends Form with FunctionNorth Carolina Jewelry Store Blends Form with Function

“It’s a unique system that our sales team loves,” says CEO Trey Bailey, “because if they’re not in front of a client, they have a space to work on follow up and clienteling. They have a place to sit and think. You want to have time to contact people for proactive communication.”

Other company-wide innovations are invisible but no less important.

Customers hate it, Bailey says, when they have to wait to have a problem resolved. “Sometimes the customer’s not right, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t bend over backwards to make it easy for them. I learned early in my career that customer service is everything. You can have the best product and the best selection in the world, but if people don’t enjoy their shopping experience, then they won’t come back.”

North Carolina Jewelry Store Blends Form with Function

Bailey’s Effortless Experience initiative empowers front-line employees to make significant decisions quickly. This not only makes a more seamless experience for the client but shows employees that they are trusted and valued.

“The rule is they can’t get in trouble,” Bailey says. “If they have the best of intentions, we support them 100%. If they gave something away for free and maybe they could’ve done it another way, we’ll use it as a teachable moment. People who come on board with us who’ve worked other places can’t believe it. It’s a system where we trust our team members.”

Managers also have great influence. Their suggestions are taken seriously and often company-wide changes are made or new ideas initiated as a result.

Bailey’s employees are also empowered in their personal and financial lives.

Bailey is passionate about personal finance instruction and makes it readily available to staff members through an online program called Smart Dollar, which 70% of employees have used. “When I was growing up, people didn’t teach personal finance, and it’s so important,” he says. “We’ve had team members who have cried and said it changed their entire lives.”

Bailey’s also offers Talk Space, on-demand counseling, which includes regular video calls and the ability to text a personal counselor via an app at any time. “A lot of research shows that that helps people because they don’t have to call for an appointment if they’re having a problem that day,” Bailey says. “I know for a fact it saved some people from serious heartache.”

There’s even an app for marriage counseling.

“We want to add value to team members’ lives,” Bailey says. “We want to insist they find their best selves at Bailey’s. Whether it’s a long career or a short stop, I want people to feel that we helped them in some way, to be able to look back from down the road and say ‘I’m glad I worked there.’ You become what you feed your mind. From a business and corporation standpoint, your company becomes what you feed its mind.”

North Carolina Jewelry Store Blends Form with Function

Bailey’s celebrates founders Clyde Sr. and Ann Bailey, who established the business in 1948. Ann was widowed at age 36, becoming the first woman to own and operate a business in Nash County.

The Family

Trey’s father, Clyde Jr., likes to call the store a ladies’ tackle shop. “Our stores are designed with women in mind, and, a long time ago, it was the opposite for a lot of stores,” Trey says. “My parents have always designed it with a feminine touch.”

The family business has always had strong women in leadership.

Bailey’s foundation was built by Clyde Sr. and “Mama” Ann Bailey, who together opened Bailey’s in 1948. Clyde Sr. was a craftsman and watchmaker, and Ann was a full-time working mother. Bailey’s began as a watch repair shop but also sold records and bicycles.

Tragically, Clyde Sr. died when he was only 46 and Ann was just 36.

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Ann chose to “keep on keepin’ on,” a personal motto that propelled her to become the first female business owner/operator in Nash County. And while the men in town bet on when she would go out of business, Ann says, “They didn’t know this girl!” With unflagging determination and the help of her family, she built a jewelry empire from scratch.

The love story continues with Clyde Jr. and Jane, high school sweethearts who married at 18 and moved to Los Angeles, where Clyde pursued an education in gemology. Upon returning to Rocky Mount, Clyde Jr. grew Bailey’s into one of the largest luxury jewelry stores in the country.

Clyde Jr.’s son, Trey, followed in his father’s footsteps when he enrolled at the Gemological Institute of America. While there, he met his soon-to-be wife, Marci, a fellow gemology student and jewelry designer. Clyde Jr. says, “Trey left to go learn about gems, and he came home with one.”

Bailey’s is now in its third generation of family ownership. Trey and Marci Bailey, along with Clyde and Jane, continue the tradition of making Bailey’s Fine Jewelry North Carolina’s premier destination jewelry store.

North Carolina Jewelry Store Blends Form with Function

The open layout of the wood-tone showcases establishes a fresh look that suits the neutral palette and establishes a modern template for future Bailey’s stores.

The Look

The Cary store design was a team effort, with Marci and COO Blair Jones coming up with the concept and collaborating with 310 Architecture + Design as well as Artco.

Marci was inspired by the classical beauty of photographs of a residential interior in Dubai. “That’s where all the marble look came from, the grayish and cream tones,” says Trey. “We used the new location as a template for what our future stores may look like, to change our style a bit and modernize.”

The marble look sets the expectation for opulence, an expectation soon met with glass display cases on hand-crafted wooden bases and oversize gold chandeliers. Traditional wood tone showcases contrast with the lighter tones in the rest of the store.

There’s also a lot of natural light, more than they’ve had in any previous store by far. The ceilings are as tall as they could be without causing side effects like echoes and ineffective lighting. The natural light combined with the tall ceilings give it a very open look.

The store features a private space with its own entrance to allow for a discreet shopping experience, as well as intimate parties and VIP client showings. With the push of a button, the glass door frosts for added privacy.

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When it came to the store’s layout, Bailey says, Artco prevented them from making what he descibes as a big mistake. When they brought the original floor plan to Artco, they were told, “We can’t let you do this.”

“I like feedback,” Trey says. “I said, ‘OK, guys, what are your thoughts?’” While the original layout had multiple loops in it, Artco suggested a new, simpler floor plan with three larger, highlighted sections for David Yurman, for bridal and for designer jewelry, leaving the middle open for a more boutique style that fits the modern style of the rest of the store.

“They were right,” Trey says. “They did a much fresher showcase layout than we had done. It’s classier and more modern and flows better.”

“The reactions have been great,” Trey says. “It’s fun to be in there when people walk in for the first time. Half the time, they have an audible reaction. They’re very vocal about how the store looks. We spent years planning, designing and building it, so it’s fun and rewarding to hear customers come in and say it’s the nicest, prettiest store they’ve ever been in.”

North Carolina Jewelry Store Blends Form with Function

Five Cool Things About Bailey’s Fine Jewelry

1. ONLINE SALES. Online sales have quadrupled since the launch of a more user-friendly website. Most everything selling is fashion jewelry between $500 and $1,500. “It helped with SEO as well,” Trey says. “When COVID hit, people started shopping online more. We were building a website, and when COVID hit, we were just launching the site.”

2. $1 MILLION GINGERBREAD HOUSE. Marci on her own created a bejeweled gingerbread house, which made the local news. Then she was contacted by a gingerbread artist from North Carolina, who suggested they collaborate on something over the top. It became a $1 million gingerbread house, generated more local publicity and was entered into a New York Art Collective contest, which it won. Two Christmases ago, it was displayed on Times Square, and the Baileys planned a family trip to see it.

3. THE BOX. “The Bailey Box,” Bailey’s signature black and white wrapped box tied with a red ribbon, has become synonymous with the brand and even a bit iconic. The saying “Every Woman Wants a Bailey Box Under the Tree” has become well-known throughout North Carolina.

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4. THE BLING. Bailey’s Fine Jewelry is known for its marketing initiative, Finders Keepers, in which small Bailey Boxes with a single piece of jewelry are hidden throughout the communities in which Bailey’s has stores. When someone finds the box, it’s his or hers — “Finders Keepers!” To celebrate the opening of Bailey’s Cary location, 100 Bailey Boxes were hidden throughout Cary at landmarks and community areas. One grand prize Bailey Box included a voucher to be redeemed for a pair of diamond and 18K yellow gold David Yurman stud earrings, valued at $1,975.

5. WATCH THIS! Bailey’s recently became one of only a few stores in the country that has an in-house diamond cutter on-site. “He loves telling people about what he’s doing, and certain customers eat that stuff up. There was a surgeon back there recently picking his brain,” Trey says.

PHOTO GALLERY (12 IMAGES)

JUDGES’ COMMENTS
  • Jesse Balaity: The storefront balances classical proportions and materials with a modern feel, which is an ideal design strategy for Bailey’s to maintain connections to the North Carolina community while expanding demographic appeal. The space is full of light and amplified by the crisp and light materials. David Yurman’s presence in the store is well executed. The brand identity is strong, but the palette of soft tone materials remains deferential to the Bailey’s brand.
  • JACKIE BROOKS:Ann sounds like someone I would have loved to have met, a real trailblazer. The small touches like glass Coke bottles and the Bailey’s Box really feels like they cross every T and dot every I when it comes to the customer experience.
  • GABRIELLE GRAZI: The Bailey’s origin story is one of the best. One woman’s grit and grace is the foundation that Bailey’s is built upon. Marci and Trey, a “GIA love story” are a dynamic couple and will continue to ensure her legacy lives on as the business evolves and is positioned for the future. Values of this company shine through in all they do. The Effortless Experience program demonstrates Bailey’s believes in investing in their employees. Bailey’s understands branding, how to “show up” on social channels and diversify marketing efforts.
  • LARRY JOHNSON:I really like the combination of different elements in the interior. The showcases and layout add to the open, comfortable feeling of the store. Classically beautiful!
  • REBECCA RAU:I was particularly struck by Bailey’s Finders Kepers initiative, which no doubt builds good will with the wider community and keeps their organization top of mind for consumers.
  • MEG TERRY:This store is beautiful and seems well planned. The description speaks of their uniqueness with a diamond cutter on site.

 

Try This: What to Consider When Adding Locations.

If you’re planning to have multiple locations, hiring good managers is the key to success, says Trey Bailey. Otherwise, he says, having seven locations of Bailey’s Jewelry would simply not be doable. It’s also important to keep focus on the community connection of each store. “We don’t want to be some big chain,” he says. “We want to stay the community’s jeweler. Most of our communities, they know us. We go to the charity events. I’ve lived in all these places.” Finally, recognize that while each store is part of the whole, they each have a unique personality. “There is an overarching theme and brand, but we are a little different in each market,” he says. “Merchandising is a little different. But we’re still catering to jewelry lovers. We’re in the love business. People are in love with someone or they’re in love with jewelry and watches. Each store is catering to that jewelry lover.”

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