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On Brands: Brands Gone Wild

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On Brands: Brands Gone Wild

Choose the right brands for your store and avoid the zoo

BY DAVID BROWN

Published in the April 2013 issue

Jewelry brands offer some of the sunshine that brightens our day, but they can also be frightening beasts threatening our existence. Let’s examine what happens when brands go rogue and what you can do to prevent it.

THE BRAND HOG: He’s not a bad beast on the surface. After all, he sells very well. However, he’s very hungry, and he must constantly be fed. Beware of a brand that sells well but requires that you purchase even more product lines. Good accounting will help you slay the Brand Hog. Ultimately, you may not actually be making any money. This brand is eating its own profit.

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THE CHAMELEON: Boy, he looks great, or does he? Brand Chameleons promise quick product turn, prestige and profits within protected territories. Talk is cheap, though, and quickly that brand changes colors. Combat the Chameleon by getting everything in writing. If you are promised stock balancing, favorable terms and protected territory, get it on paper. Set expectations with the brand reps for turn and profits, and put that in writing. Even negotiate a worst-case scenario if the brand does not live up to expectations. And, yes, get it in writing.

THE PREGNANT ELEPHANT: We all love the majestic elephant. With a 24-month gestation period, however, motherhood is quite an endeavor. Take the time to analyze how long a brand will take to pay you back. If a brand is trendy, make sure it will pay you back before the trend fades.

THE SHARK: He’s a predator built for the kill. Before you cozy up to a brand, make sure that it’s not a Shark. Sharks care only about their own existence, even at the expense of your most important brand: you! Exercise due diligence, and confirm that the brand intends to partner with you, not turn you into lunch.

THE TORTOISE: Sure, he’s lovable, he is not a threat, but he just loafs around all day. Beware of brands that are on the slow track. Rarely offering anything new or inspiring, these brands just hide under a shell in the corner in no great hurry to get anywhere. Track this brand’s sales. Ask your rep how the brand will build awareness and grow sales in the future.

THE CRAZY MONKEY: A goofy guy who’s always making antics and throwing poo. He wants grand events with lights, camera and action. That may lead to additional expense for advertising and event planning. Just make sure the Crazy Monkey doesn’t get so goofy that you look like the fool. Make sure your brands reflect your ideals and reinforce your image of what fine jewelry should be. After all, you’re the one left cleaning up Crazy Monkey’s mess.

Sharks care only about their own existence. Confirm that the brand intends to partner with you, not turn you into lunch.

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When considering brands, keep in mind that a brand should always be your partner. It needs to fit well in the environment you have created. Care for your brands through advertising, sales training and enthusiastic sales presentations. Do your part to keep them viable and profitable by advising them on trends you witness, and make sure your payments are prompt.

Charlie Neugebauer, GG, AJP is the goldsmith and owner of The Gilded Artisan in Colorado Springs, CO.

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