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Sally Furrer: Ready To Launch




A step-by-step guide to introducing a new bridal line.

This article originally appeared in the September 2015 edition of INSTORE.

How you introduce a new line can have a huge impact on its success. Putting the jewelry in the case and hoping for the best is not a sound strategy. The first thing to understand is that it is every bit as important to launch it to your staff as it is to your clients. The goal is to excite and educate them about the features and benefits of the line.


Launch to your staff

Schedule the launch outside store hours. I like doing a breakfast meeting to make sure the store is set up before the meeting starts.

All sales staff are required to attend, but invite bench jewelers and other staff as well

Have the new styles set up in a display on a table, but keep it covered it until you unveil it at the end of the training

See if the vendor can send a sales rep or the designer to attend.

Train on product knowledge so that the sales associates have all the answers. This means:


1. Metal purity and alloys used
2. Other metals available
3. Diamond quality, and qualities available
4. Finger-size range available
5. Any unique manufacturing techniques? Is it handmade?
6. CAD or design capabilities?
7. Country of manufacture — “USA” is a nice selling point
8. Lead times for special orders and custom (remember, under promise and over deliver)

At the end, if the vendor attends, show the whole line so staff sees what’s available.

Marketing and Visual

Share your marketing plan for the launch, including:

1. Vendor support — they want you to be successful as well!
2. Some designers will be able to provide a little “swag” bag with pens, coffee cups, or even T-shirts for the staff, and/or for your clients
3. The vendor may co-op the cost of the client invites, or have the creative already done

staff Incentives

Launch with an exciting sales contest for the staff for the first month. This could include:

1. Wish list contest for the launch event to clients
2. Prizes can be a trip, jewelry, etc. Again, vendors will frequently support the contest
3. Staff purchase plan

Coach on story telling

Talk about the designer’s bio, design philosophy, and inspiration

1. What makes the line different?
2. How to get the customers excited about this line
3. Don’t forget to role play — practice with each other and not on the clients

Launch to your clients

It’s critical to have staff on board. Then do this:

1. Schedule an event about a week after the staff launch
2. Again, see if the designer or sales rep can attend with the full line
3. Store/window signage one month before the event
4. Send out invitations about three weeks before the event
5. Hold a VIP Night for your best clients, and then for your other clients the next night
6. Have a catering theme that ties into the line — if it is a Brazilian line, have mojitos and tapas. If you can tie in the music, all the better
7. Have a “swag” bag for the clients — enclose a gift card for “dollars off next purchase”
8. Plan your digital strategy: website, FB, Pinterest, etc
9. Start your phone campaign two weeks before, and confirm appointments 48 hours before.
10. And don’t forget your wish lists — this is the perfect opportunity to get them in the hands of customers.

Sally Furrer is a merchandising specialist and business mentor at The Edge Retail Academy and can be reached at [email protected].



Celebrate Your Retirement with Wilkerson

For nearly three decades, Suzanne and Tom Arnold ran a successful business at Facets Fine Jewelry in Arlington, Va. But the time came when the Arnolds wanted to do some of the things you put off while you’ve got a business to run. “We decided it was time to retire,” says Suzanne, who claims the couple knew how to open a store, how to run a store but “didn’t know how to close a store.” So, they hired Wilkerson to do it for them. When she called, Suzanne says Wilkerson offered every option for the sale she could have hoped for. Better still, “the sale exceeded our financial goals like crazy,” she says. And customers came, not only to take advantage of the going-out-of-business buys and mark-downs, but to wish a bon voyage to the beloved proprietors of a neighborhood institution. “People were celebrating our retirement, and that was so special,” says says.

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