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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.


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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Gene the Jeweler

Gene the Jeweler Explains How to Fire People

In this episode of Jimmy DeGroot’s "Gene the Jeweler", Gene talks about how to fire people when necessary. He admits that confrontation is not his strong suit. His suggestion: Maybe being passive-aggressive for years on end will work?

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JimmyCast

Podcast: When Is It Time to Let an Underperforming Employee Go?

The weird twist: They’re often the top producer in the store.

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JIMMYCAST EPISODE 6: WHEN TO LET AN EMPLOYEE GO? (29:39 MINUTES)


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IN THIS MONTH’s episode of JimmyCast, Jimmy DeGroot and Doug Meadows talk about one of their least favorite things — firing staff.

It’s one of the toughest things a store-owner has to do. But once you determine that someone is dragging your business down, you can’t ignore the issue and need to take action. Says Jimmy: “The predominant situation is one who does not play well with others. This can be anything from people who think they know it all, they’re not coachable, they’re not manageable, they do things their own way. And then there are people who are very much an island unto themselves, and these are sales-stealers, people who in general create discord among the group. Here’s the really weird twist … so often, they’re the top seller, they’re the top producer in the store.”

Jimmy and Doug discuss how you determine whether someone is holding your business back, the steps you should take once you decide there is an issue, and the results you can expect to see once you make the difficult call to end a problem employee’s tenure with your company.


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JimmyCast

Podcast: How Can Jewelry Stores Stop Losing Their Best Employees?

The key ingredients are right culture, right incentives and right training.

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JIMMYCAST EPISODE 5: HOW CAN JEWELRY STORES KEEP THEIR BEST EMPLOYEES? (33:51 MINUTES)


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IN A TIGHT JOB MARKET where the average person seeks to “reinvent” themselves four or five times their career, what does a jewelry store have to do to keep its very best employees long-term?

That’s the focus of the fifth episode of JimmyCast from jewelry store trainer Jimmy DeGroot of jewelrystoretraining.com. Guest Brad Huisken of IAS Training drops in to talk with Jimmy and co-host Doug Meadows about the practices and policies that will give you a better chance of keeping key employees.

For Huisken (who is also a partner with jewelrystoretraining.com), the three key ingredients are right culture, right incentives and right training.

A few takeaways from the discussion:

  • Don’t one-size incentives. If you were trying to decide on a $500 reward and offered your staff five different options — 1.) cash; 2.) paid time off; 3.) a gift the employee wouldn’t typically buy for themselves; 4.) $500 in store merchandise; and 5.) $500 in lottery tickets — there’s a good chance different staff members would select each of the the five options. Says Huisken: “Your goal should be to know your people so well individually that you know what moves them individually.” That will allow you to individualize incentives for each team member.
  • Too many jewelers avoid doing quarterly or even annual reviews with their employees because they’re afraid that a face to face discussion of performance means that they’re going to have to increase that employees salary. Big mistake, says Brad. He says: “I just don’t believe in giving a person a raise simply because they lasted another year. You know, god forbid, you’ve got a person that, all they do is answer the phone, but they’ve been with you for 30 years so they’re making $85 an hour.”
  • The problem is that too many employees end up not knowing how they’re doing, which is extremely demotivating. Says Brad: “I go into so many stores, and I say ‘How you doin’ around here?’, and they say ‘Well, I’m not really sure, I don’t get a lot of feedback. In fact, I’m not sure I’m doing a good job at all.’ And that’s just unfair to the employee.”
  • Instead of raises, Brad and Jimmy push incentives — with a combination of personal and team incentives. Says Brad: “You’ve got to have contests, incentives and games going on all the time, all the time, all the time. I think that creates a fun environment and a fun culture within the organization.”
  • Brad tells a great story of a business that had a chronic inability to sell old merchandise. The owner created a huge incentive — a trip to Hawaii if his employees could sell 15 pieces of dated merchandise per month. His staff rose to the challenge and they earned the trip. When the staff returned from their reward journey, the owner told the staff that from now on, since they had proven that they could sell dated merchandise, they would now be required to sell five pieces per month.
  • At the 26-minute mark, Jimmy gets caught up in the excitement of a discussion about the importance of training and extends a special offer to listeners for three months free training from jewelrystoretraining.com. Brad responds, “Gee Jimmy, I didn’t know we were starting a non-profit organization.”
  • One more incentive to train your people from Brad. Staff training is tax-deductible, “so instead of giving your money to Uncle Sam, you can invest it in your business”.
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JimmyCast

Podcast: Using Social Media to Win Customers and Lower Your Intimidation Factor

Meet a Lockport, NY, jeweler whose fun, casual approach makes his store approachable.

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JIMMYCAST EPISODE 4: SOCIAL MEDIA DONE RIGHT (31:42 MINUTES)


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CAN SOCIAL MEDIA make your store more approachable? That’s the focus of the fourth episode of JimmyCast from jewelry store trainer Jimmy DeGroot of jewelrystoretraining.com.

Guest George Fritz of Mills Jewelers in Lockport, NY drops in to talk with Jimmy and co-host Doug Meadows about his fun experiments on social media, events, as well as his store’s widely-admired community activism.

For some ideas of Fritz’s improvisational approach to social media, watch him zipline across the Erie Canal on the “Niagra Zipper”:



When it comes to events, George has a casual, throw-stuff-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks approach. These events are supported by lots of social media activity.

For one example, George tells the story of “Figgy Pudding Night”, which the store held during the 2018 holiday season. Now in his 60s, George says that he had heard the “figgy pudding” lyrics of the famous Christmas song his entire life without actually having ever tasted figgy pudding. His mission for the 2018 holiday season was to remedy that culinary gap.

How did it go? The event was a success, George says. But when pressed about the figgy pudding, George had an admission to make. “It turns out that there’s a reason that most people haven’t had it … or are clamoring for it. It’s not that good.”

See how Mills Jewelers promoted Figgy Pudding Night on YouTube:

George shares an example of why lowering the intimidation factor of his store is so important. He tells of an engagement-ring customer who revealed to George that he had driven to the store three times and sat in the parking lot before finally mustering up the courage to walk through the front door.

Mills Jewelers has been active in many Lockport community projects, including restoration of a historic tower clock and renovation of a classic local theater. Geroge shares his store’s slogan/mission statement: “Locally-owned, community-minded, and customer-focused.”

Jimmy, David and George also have an interesting discussion of the importance of customer reviews, and George tells how Mills Jewelers tripled its five-star customer reviews in just a few months. (The business now has 182 reviews with an average rating of 4.9 stars.)

George also shares background on one of his store’s most important events, the annual Easter Egg event, which has become a Lockport tradition over the past 30 years. For the event, 1,000 plastic eggs are stuffed with prizes, with a grand prize of a $2,000 diamond, and about half the eggs providing colored gemstone prizes like amethyst, garnet or blue topaz (along with a coupon for discounted mounting). Hear the story of how one event ended up with people sleeping outside his store on a cold spring night after nobody had won the diamond with only 11 unopened eggs remaining. (See video below.)



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