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Podcast: Make Sure You Open the Dang Box

Writing the check for that new training service is just the beginning of the improvement process.

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JIMMYCAST EPISODE 9: OPEN THE DANG BOX (33:48 MINUTES)


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OPEN THE BOX. That’s the central theme of the latest edition of JimmyCast from management and sales consultant Jimmy DeGroot of the Jewelry Marketing Institute and co-host Doug Meadows of David Douglas Diamonds in Marietta, GA.

By “opening the box”, Jimmy and Doug are talking about jewelers’ tendency to grasp for things — a training course, a new technology, or a hot line of jewelry — but then not do what they have to do in order to ensure that the new purchase positively impacts their business.

Says Jimmy, discussing his own professional focus of training: “A lot of time people regard training as a pill, and as they write the check, they think “This is gonna fix me, this is gonna fix me.” But then those jewelers get the training package back to their store, and they never open the box.

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The key lesson for jewelers? Be more discriminating when you write those checks. If you do invest in a service, be absolutely sure that you are going to use it with 100% commitment — that you “open the box” and use it to the best of your ability. Writing a check is only the first, and by far the easiest, part of the process.

Jimmy concludes: “Even if you use it, and it’s a failure, at least we’ll still learn lessons from it.”

The episode also covers key events in the professional careers of both host and co-host, as well as the development of their personal relationship in which Jimmy calls a “warm, fuzzy hugfest”.

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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In the latest episode (#42) of Gene the Jeweler, Gene is going about his business, recording a new episode. But that doesn’t last long. Four-time NFL Pro Bowl leading rusher Ahman Green walks in, and Gene finds that his time in the studio is over — whether he likes it or not. (See more Gene the Jeweler episodes at instoremag.com/gene.)

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Podcast: Hear Secrets of Cool From the Only Full-Time Employee of America’s Coolest Small Jewelry Store

At least a couple customers a week come in thinking it’s a place to eat.

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JIMMYCAST EPISODE 10: KATHERINE COTTERILL OF EAT GALLERY (32:35 MINUTES)


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IN THIS MONTH’S episode of JimmyCast, hosts Jimmy DeGroot and Doug Meadows chat with the manager of the winning store in the “Small Cool” division of INSTORE’s America’s Coolest Stores”, EAT Gallery of Maysville, KY.

Katherine Cotterill, manager at EAT Gallery, has had an eclectic past, including more than three years spent in New Zealand and Samoa (2:30). She talks about how she was hired to run the store in 2016 (5:30) by Simon and Laurie Watt, who had opened EAT Gallery in the early 2000s as a side project to their main business, colored gemstone dealers Mayer & Watt.

The discussion continues to cover EAT’s attention-getting (and occasionally confusing to visitors) neon “EAT” sign (9:15), which had previously identified a diner that was a town fixture for 50 years. “We are definitely not a restaurant,” says Cotterill. “But we do say that we’ll feed your soul.”

As for the big question of how many visitors per week come in, thinking it’s a restaurant? “At least a couple a week,” says Cotterill.

Hear more of the conversation — including tips on how to make a tiny business stand out with marketing and product selection (16:00) — in this month’s JimmyCast.

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JimmyCast

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).


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JimmyCast

Podcast: Would Your Customer Drive Hundreds of Miles for a Lab-Created Diamond?

Jimmy and Doug talk with Joy Janssen of e-commerce oriented family retailer Eco Diamond.

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JIMMYCAST EPISODE 7: WOULD YOUR CUSTOMER DRIVE HUNDREDS OF MILES FOR A LAB-CREATED DIAMOND? (31:43 MINUTES)


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WANT TO KNOW MORE about selling lab-created diamonds? In the latest episode of JimmyCast, Jimmy DeGroot and co-host Doug Meadows talk with Joy Janssen of Eco Diamond, a family-owned jewelry retailer based in Little Chute, WI.

In addition to selling lab-created gems, Eco Diamonds is unusual for a family-owned retailer in its emphasis in selling online. (Joy and her husband, Ben, have backgrounds in e-commerce.) While the company has a physical showroom where it takes appointments as well as a limited numbers of walk-in customers, most of its sales are initiated online.

In the discussion, Doug shares his progress along the path of selling more lab-created gemstones (3:40), including a time diamonds made from human remains. Joy talks about the progress of lab-created gem sales she has seen since launching her business in 2011 (6:00), noting that they have grown slowly in the Midwest but are gaining momentum.

She talks about a moment where she became more confident her business would succeed, telling the story of selling a $14,000 diamond to a customer in Washington (9:30). And she explains the thought behind selecting her company name (and URL) over other options (10:40). Later, she explains the visual differences between HPHT diamonds and CVD diamonds (13:40).

Doug wonders how we cut through the propaganda that both sides — marketers of natural gemstones versus marketers of lab-created gems — are throwing at jewelers (15:40).

Doug and Jimmy both share their admiration of Joy’s business, with Jimmy saying that her model would be what he would do if he started his own jewelry store now— mom-and-pop, prototypes, with an online emphasis (20:00).

While the guys make a bit of fun of the quaintly-named (and quaintly-sized) Little Chute, WI, Joy shares one impressive landmark near her store (22:50). She then shares some thoughts on why customers would drive across several states to work on a jewelry design with her (23:30).

Doug speculates on future paths and future sources of disruption in the jewelry business (27:00). He then asks if Joy has any advice for bench jewelers who want to get into lab-created and online sales, and Joy shares her answer. (28:20).

On the subject of innovation, Jimmy recommends a book to read (30:00) called They Ask, You Answer.

Watch the video version of the podcast below.


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