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Podcast: Doug Meadows Shares the Ups and Downs of His Life as a Jeweler

It’s a tumultuous story. It’s also a pretty common one.

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JIMMYCAST EPISODE 8: DOUG MEADOWS SHARES HIS UPS AND DOWNS (23:07 MINUTES)


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ON THIS MONTH’S JIMMYCAST, the focus turns to co-host Doug Meadows, who shares an abridged history of his life in jewelry retail.

The interest in Doug’s story is probably not in its uniqueness, but rather its familiarity. In fact, podcast host Jimmy DeGroot says at the end of the show that “I bet you 99% of the jewelers that are listening to this right now, they would have a very similar story in terms of how things came along.”

Listen to this month’s episode to see how Doug’s story compares to your own. (Or watch the video below.)

SHOW NOTES

Doug starts off by telling how his family business — a jewelry trade shop — was impacted by the 1968 Detroit riots (2:50) and a massive fire that occurred shortly after they moved to the Detroit suburb of Plymouth.

For the family, these events were tumultuous. But Doug says, “when you’re a kid, it’s a lot of fun. You get to go see the fire trucks and all this stuff.” During high school, Doug worked in the shop polishing jewelry — not to mention “learning how to clean the toilets and scrub the floors”.

In 1982, he “got tired of the cold and snow” and moved to Georgia (5:40), working at a mall jeweler in a mall across from the regional headquarters of the Ford Motor Company, where various entertaining adventures ensued (6:30). “That was my first introduction to retail-slash-benchwork,” says Doug.

Later, Doug made his first venture into entrepreneurship — taking a tiny, 10-square-foot space to do repairs and custom work within an existing jewelry store (9:50).

Eventually, the store owner decided he wanted to get out of jewelry business to move into fast food. Initially, Doug sorrowed over the prospect of losing his job. But his partner Merle had a different idea. (10:30)

“Let’s buy the store,” said Merle. “How are going to do that?” asked Doug. “I don’t know, but let’s try,” said Merle. They were successful in buying the store, but problems lay ahead. “We were both great jewelers, but we were not great business owners or accountants,” says Doug. “We definitely stumbled. We ended up successfully running the business into bankruptcy. You talk about an emotional mess. It was not fun.”

“But there is life after bankruptcy,” he adds. And Doug shares some of the things that he did to revive his business (12:10), including connecting with a local minister who provided both spiritual and business guidance, as well as partnering with his brother, David, to form David Douglas Jewelers.

Doug also tells of another financial low point (16:20) about 10 years ago, when the state of Georgia sought to collect back sales taxes from many years prior. This resulted in a forced restructuring and his son Joseph being named the owner of the company. In some ways, says Doug, this was a positive event that cleared the decks for the business’s future growth and stability. “I took care of a lot of problems that a lot of jewelers have with succession, and how do you deal with your kids, and it was all decided for me.” He jokes about Joseph: “I hope he has the compassion for his father and takes good care of him in his elderly years.”

He talks about innovations he has tried in recent years, and shares his ultimate love — teaching the lessons he has learned to younger jewelers (21:50).

And Doug and Jimmy promise to talk about “the tractor story” in a future episode (22:50).


Jimmy DeGroot is a jewelry store manager who has been in the business for over 20 years. Now he spends his time training teams around the world at jewelrystoretraining.com and sharing marketing advice through his blog site at jewelrymarketingguy.com. Sign up for training videos here.

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JimmyCast

Podcast: Aleah Arundale Tells Why She Created Jewelers Helping Jewelers

‘I wanted a free, open forum where everybody could say whatever they want, whenever they want.’

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JIMMYCAST EPISODE 14: ALEAH ARUNDALE ON THE POWER OF JEWELERS HELPING JEWELERS (21:57 MINUTES)


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THIS MONTH, JimmyCast welcomes Aleah Arundale, founder of the popular private Facebook group, Jewelers Helping Jewelers, and a fifth-generation jeweler who works for diamond wholesaler Olympian Diamonds.

Chatting with co-hosts Jimmy DeGroot and Doug Meadows, Aleah shares why she created Jewelers Helping Jewelers (4:05), which now has 18,500 members. A few years back, Aleah felt there was something missing in other social media communities. “I wanted a free, open forum where everybody could say whatever they want, whenever they want,” she says.

She decided to launch a brand new community for which the primary rule would be having the fewest rules possible. She says she’s proud that, despite the openness and freedom of the group, participants (mostly) get along, providing an important source of advice, support and trading partners to thousands of jewelry professionals who would otherwise struggle to find community. Says Aleah, “This is a testament to show that, if you just let people go, they will show you how wonderful they can be.”

Aleah estimates that the group has facilitated more than $1 billion in transactions since its launch, sharing a few anecdotes of jewelers whose businesses and lives were changed by the community, including one jeweler who claims to have done $4 million in business through JHJ.

Later in the podcast, Aleah discusses one of her pet peeves — jewelers who refuse to put prices alongside jewelry in the showcase (11:00). Plus, she offers her extremely simple tip for selling more diamonds (13:05).

Want to receive all of our INSTORE Podcasts on your mobile device? Sign up on Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher or your favorite podcast player using our RSS feed link.

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Podcast: How Tracking Door Traffic Can Dramatically Boost Your Store’s Performance

Jimmy talks with Dave and Spencer Mink of TraxSales.

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JIMMYCAST EPISODE 13: DAVE AND SPENCER MINK ON COUNTING YOUR TRAFFIC (24:29 MINUTES)


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IN THIS MONTH’S EPISODE of JimmyCast, host Jimmy DeGroot talks customer data with Dave and Spencer Mink of TraxSales.

Launched in 1996 as one of the earliest customer tracking companies, TraxSales uses an infrared camera system to track a store’s door traffic (with the ability to discount visits from your staff and other non-customers — i.e. the mailman). The statistics generated can then be integrated with retailers’ CRM programs, offering the ability to create up to 30 different reports, including closing ratio and revenue per guest.

Hear more about how Dave’s big “epiphany” led to the creation of the company in 1996, as well as how the average jeweler can use customer-tracking data in order to make better management decisions and dramatically improve the performance of their sales teams.

Want to receive all of our INSTORE Podcasts on your mobile device? Sign up on Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher or your favorite podcast player using our RSS feed link.

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Podcast: Wisconsin Salesperson Uses Life Savings to Live Her Dream of Jewelry Store Ownership

“$20,000 seems like a lot of money … until you open a jewelry store,” she says.

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JIMMYCAST EPISODE 12: KIM GORDON ON LIVING THE DREAM (48:53 MINUTES)


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KIM GORDON is living the dream — it’s the dream of owning her own store, the aptly named Dream Jewelers in Oshkosh, WI.

Gordon has spent most of her career in jewelry sales, having spent more than a decade as an assistant manager at a Kay Jewelers and, after that, another decade as sales manager at Jim Kryshak Jewelers in Wausau, WI. But in 2014, she finally made the leap into jewelry-store ownership, using her life savings to purchase a Wisconsin business called Thimke Jewelers, which she later rebranded as Dream Jewelers.

Gordon shares the story of her journey, and tells you how she’s launched her business in a challenging competitive environment and on an ultra-tight budget. “I had $20,000 in the bank,” she says. “And $20,000 seems like a lot of money … until you open a jewelry store.”

Hear Kim’s full story on the latest edition of JimmyCast, with host Jimmy DeGroot and co-host Doug Meadows.

Want to receive all of our INSTORE Podcasts on your mobile device? Sign up on Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher or your favorite podcast player using our RSS feed link.

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