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Something Old,
Something New

How to accessorize six brides (and one groom) in modern takes on an ancient tradition

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TODAY’S WORLD may be hurtling forward at breakneck speed, but two traditions remain rock-solid: marriage and the engagement ring. No matter their age or generation, modern bridal clients want to stamp their own personalities on their wedding jewelry. That includes millennial brides and grooms, LGBTQ soon-to-be spouses and the second-time-around (or late-blooming) brides of Gen X.

By definition, a bride or groom who wants a unique style all their own cannot be neatly defined ahead of time, even by the three esteemed jewelry fashion experts we’ve recruited to write this story. But what our fashionistas can do is help us to understand the mentality of the modern bridal consumer and open our minds to the possibilities available to them as clients and to you as jewelry salespeople. For only when you understand the client can you sell them the jewelry that will make their wedding day as special as it can possibly be.

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The Vintage Romantic

Her “something new” is based on something old or borrowed. She reads Jane Austen novels and looks to films such as Shakespeare In Love and Young Victoria for inspiration. Her idea of the perfect wedding is expressing her love by writing her own vows with a few quotes by Keats thrown in for good measure. Her gown is the finest of French or Italian embroidered lace, which shows just enough décolletage so that she can wear her most prized possessions—her antique and vintage-inspired jewelry. — Story by Beth Bernstein

1. Ileana Makri

When it comes to necklaces to accent her intricate lace bodice gown, The Vintage Romantic chooses styles that are simple, feminine and inspired by past eras.

$10,245

18K yellow gold necklace with dangle baguette diamonds. ileanamakri.com

2. Jade Trau

Single drop earrings with an antique-inspired starburst pattern will add just that bit of sparkle around the face without detracting from the bride’s own beauty on her wedding day. The Vintage Romantic bride loves the bygone era of the subtle shimmer of diamonds by candlelight.

$5,700

18K and diamond single drop starburst motif earrings. jadetrau.com<

3. Gigi Ferranti

Not every Vintage Romantic opts for a center stone engagement ring. Some prefer an art deco-inspired wide eternity or half eternity band with colored gemstones. It has the more streamlined modernity for which jewelry of the late 1920s and early 1930s was known.

$3,750

14K yellow gold, diamond and pink sapphire Gianna ring. gigiferranti.com

4. Megan Thorne

When the Vintage Romantic looks for an engagement ring, she is searching for something that is reminiscent of old world craftsmanship and diamond or gemstone cuts of the past.

Price on request

18K yellow gold scalloped bezel Prima ring with cushion-cut diamond. meganthorne.com

The Late Bloomer

She’s independent and self-aware. She’s had significant long-term relationships but had never found a man she wanted to “put a ring on it” until her later 40s/early 50s. Her dress is streamlined simplicity to allow her jewelry to shine. Her bridal pieces will evoke the meaning behind the commitment of sharing the rest of her life with her true love. — Story by Beth Bernstein

1. Ruta Reifen

There is nothing like double drop earrings to wear with the femininity of a tea length dress with a lace embroidered caplet or the subtle sophistication of a pair of wide white trousers and shimmering top on this bride’s wedding day.

$1,220

14K blue topaz, pale green sapphire and morganite. rutareifen.com

2. Polly Wales

A modern take on antique chains with padlocks, this necklace radiates an exuberance similar to the joy that the Late Bloomer feels.

$25,300

Couer De Fantaisie padlock and handmade gold chain, both with rainbow sapphires. pollywales.com

3. Foundrae

This is the ring that says it all with a little humor and some sparkle. It looks equally beautiful alone or stacked with other bands.

$1,995

18K gold and blush champlevé enamel “If Not Now Then When” band ring with baguette diamond center. foundrae.com

4. Erica Molinari

If you don’t get married until your 40s or 50s, you might prefer to stack two or more meaningful bands rather than invest in an engagement ring. Or the Late Bloomer might choose to wear this thin floral band, which is leaning against the stack, with her other ring. It features an Oscar Wilde quote: “Who, being loved, is poor?”

$1,025-$1,595

Rings in 18K gold with Italian or Latin phrases and quotes enameled on the inside. ericamolinari.com

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The Edgy Bride

Expression through outward appearance has always been important to her, but she never connected with traditional fashion norms, especially when imagining her wedding day. She wants to be true to herself but also a bit experimental when it comes to her style. She connects with unexpected pieces that have an edgy vibe. — Story BY LIZ KANTNER

1. Little H

Pearls may be commonly worn by brides, but this pendant is anything but ordinary.

$2,700

Tahitian Grotto pendant with black diamonds (2.70 TCW) and Tahitian keshi and drop pearl in 14K white gold. littlehjewelry.com

2. Melissa Kaye

Black diamonds are not common when it comes to wedding day style, so the Edgy Bride is drawn to them. These earrings are sleek and add some surprising sparkle.

$7,700

18K gold and pavé earrings with black and white diamonds (2.22 TCW). melissakayejewelry.com

3. Anthony Lent

For the Edgy Bride, the engagement ring needs to be distinctive. This ring is extra special because the skulls represent an artistic reminder of mortality and the promise of ‘‘Til Death Do Us Part.”

$2,600

Memento Mori engagement ring in 18K yellow gold and platinum with diamonds. anthonylent.com

4. Spinelli Kilcollin

Not your typical wedding band, this ring is actually three rings connected as one and can be worn in different ways to create a truly original look.

$1,200

Sterling silver, black rhodium-plated silver and 18K yellow gold with gray diamonds. spinellikilcollin.com

The Modern Groom

When it comes to the Modern Groom’s wedding day look, the details are what make it unique. He is inspired by his father or grandfather and their timeless accessories, yet he wants to add his own flair. He wants to feel comfortable, but he knows that since this is a big day, he needs to add simple yet special pieces to complete his style. — Story BY LIZ KANTNER

1. Furrer Jacot

The most important decision a Modern Groom will make is his wedding band because it will be worn daily. He wants one that is simple but has some unique details and a sleek, contemporary look.

$3,060

18K white gold and carbon ring. furrer-jacot.com

2. Tateossian

Cufflinks are a detail to the Modern Groom’s look that might seem dated, but they are important to making the suit feel personalized. They pull the whole look together!

$295

Sterling silver cufflinks with tiger’s eye inlay. tateossian.com

3. Oris

A watch is a staple to the Modern Groom’s look. It’s also an important purchase because he will wear it time and time again to future special events.

$1,750

Big Crown ProPilot watch in stainless steel with brown leather strap. oris.ch

4. Todd Reed

Adding a bracelet is the flair that will set the Modern Groom apart from his father and grandfather. This unique touch will make him feel like he’s owning his look.

$1,850

Sterling silver bracelet with patina and raw diamond bead (0.35 TCW). toddreed.com

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The Pride Brides

The number of same-sex cohabiting couples in the U.S. who are married has nearly doubled since the U.S. Supreme Court granted them that constitutional right. Many Pride Brides have different fashion styles but will often incorporate both an LGBTQ symbol as well as something of their partner’s — be it initials, birthstone, name, or otherwise — into their wedding day jewelry, giving their marriage a little added color. — story by BARBARA PALUMBO

1. My Story Fine Jewelry

As a symbol of the union that this bride and her significant other are about to make permanent, she’ll be wearing a gold pendant engraved with both of their initials and birthstones.

$5,250

14K yellow gold customized diamond, citrine, and peridot dog tag initial pendant (chain not included). mystoryfinejewelry.com

2. Temple St. Clair

This bride has dreamed of walking down the aisle, and now she intends to dress up her gown with some sass.

$5,200

18K gold triple drop Tolomeo earrings with diamonds, rubies, tsavorites, and sapphires. templestclair.com

3. Erika Winters

She defines a new age of traditionalism by wearing a classically-styled diamond ring given to her by her beloved as a wedding gift.

Price on request

Handcrafted Caroline halo ring with round diamond center made in 18K soft-finished yellow gold. erikawinters.com

4. Chopard

Because traditional rings aren’t her thing, this bride-to-be instead wears a whopper of an engagement watch adorned in the colors of the rainbow as a representation of her dedication to both the woman she loves and the person she is.

$580,000

18K rose gold Imperiale Joaillerie timepiece with 581 rainbow-hued sapphires (47.98 TCW). chopard.com

The Second Timer

Having already experienced what she refers to as her “trial marriage,” the Second Timer bride knows exactly what she doesn’t want when it comes to her relationships and her wedding day fashion. She is relaxed, confident, and excited about the chance to have fun this time around, but don’t be fooled: she still fully intends on being the belle of the ball. — STORY BY BARBARA PALUMBO

1. Erica Courtney

Now that she’s a little older and a lot wiser, the Second Timer wants a ring that will represent her lust for life.

Price on request.

18K yellow gold Nirvana ring with a 6.34-carat rose cut diamond center accented with diamonds (3.34 TCW). ericacourtney.com

2. Buddha Mama

The Second Timer bride feels strongly that getting another chance at “happily ever after” is both rewarding and liberating, and the earrings she’s chosen to wear on the day she takes her vows are ones she purchased for herself as an act of that belief.

$18,700

Twirling 20K yellow gold dangle earrings with diamonds (3.90 TCW) from the Auspicious collection. buddhamama.com

3. Gabriel & Co.

On the eve of her nuptials, the Second Timer’s soon-to-be stepson (whom she adores) presented her with a gift she could wear on the day of her wedding: a diamond bracelet.

$2,265

14K yellow gold bezel style tennis bracelet with diamonds (0.71 TCW) from the Hampton collection. gabrielny.com

4. Penny Preville

Opting to wear her engagement ring on her right hand after the ceremony, this experienced bride has chosen a more traditionally-styled wedding band for her left, because she believes both rings — which tell different stories — should stand on their own.

$3,185

18K yellow gold En Pointe stacking band with round brilliant-cut diamonds. pennypreville.com

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at editor@instoremag.com.

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All In The Family

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At INSTORE, we often refer to family-owned jewelry stores as being the heart of the independent retail jewelry business. So, for our December issue, we’ve collected photos of some of the faces behind those family businesses. Whether they represent second- or fifth-generation jewelry families, they’ve learned something about how to navigate these close relationships and achieve a balance between their personal and work lives that transcend time and generational differences.

Brothers Gale and Flint Carpenter, from left, and Gale’s son, Chance.

An Unexpected Succession
Big Island Jewelers, Hawaii | Founded: 1983

When Chance Carpenter, already an entrepreneur in his own right, told his dad, Gale Carpenter, that he wanted to join the family jewelry business, Gale said it blew his mind. “He had never spoken to me about any interest in the business whatsoever,” Gale says. “I would have started grooming him much earlier.” Gale founded the business with his brother Flint, a goldsmith. When Chance joined the business in his mid-20s, he apprenticed with Flint, and when Flint wanted to retire at age 70, Gale bought him out through a stock-reduction plan. “Chance learned from a master working a foot away,” Gale says. “It was invaluable. Because you can’t learn 35 years of technique in a classroom. It just doesn’t work.” In another four to five years, Gale says, Chance will take over and begin buying his father out of the business.

1. Heather Wahl with her parents Bob and Barba Wahl. 2. Four generations, circa 1945. From left: F.X Wahl, F.C. (Frederick Charles) Wahl with baby R.C. (Robert Charles) Wahl, and F.F. Wahl. 3. A 1989 photo in front of the store’s original location 4. Barba in a 1970s era newspaper ad for the store.

125 years, five generations
R.C. Wahl Jewelers, Des Plaines, IL | Founded: 1894

“I am so proud of my family’s longevity in the jewelry industry!” says fifth-generation family member Heather Wahl, who is the first woman to own the business. “This year we are celebrating one family, five generations, 125 years!” Her parents, Bob and Barba Wahl, met at an Illinois Jewelers Association event in Springfield, IL, in the late ‘60s. “Mom worked at another jewelry store in Illinois and they were seated at the dinner together and the rest is history,” Heather says. Heather’s parents are retired from day-to-day operations but make special guest appearances and step in to help as needed. “They are fabulous sounding boards and have a wealth of background and knowledge to share,” she says.

Harold, Cathy & Hunter

A QUALITY TRADITION
Tivol, Kansas City | Founded: 1910

Charlie & Mollie Tivol

Immigrant Charles Tivol opened a jewelry shop in downtown Kansas City in 1910, meticulously crafting each piece of jewelry by hand and launching a family tradition that would continue through generations. His son Harold began working in the store as a boy, studied at the GIA and joined Tivol in 1946. In 2003, Tivol was recognized by the American Gem Society as top retail jeweler of the year. Harold’s daughter Cathy, representing the third generation, has worked in the family business for three decades. In 2010, Tivol celebrated a century in business, and a year later, Cathy’s son, Hunter Tivol McGrath, joined the company as a salesperson at the Hawthorne Plaza location, making him the fourth generation of the Tivol family to work for the company. Harold Tivol remained chairman until his death at the age of 92 on July 6, 2016.

A STRONG WORK ETHIC
Josephs Jewelers, Des Moines, IA | Founded: 1871

Toby Joseph, Trisha Joseph, Jake Joseph and Deb Joseph.

Jake and Trisha Joseph represent the fifth generation of the company founded by watchmaker Solomon Joseph in 1871 as a repair shop that also was officially in charge of timing the trains for the railroad. By the turn of the century, Josephs had expanded into fine jewelry and giftware. In 1934, Josephs was a founding member and investor in the American Gem Society. They attribute their success to respect, teamwork and a strong work ethic. “The Joseph family has always lived a modest life,” Deb Joseph says. “No one has ever had a second home or taken any more vacation than what their employees have. Toby is almost always the first one here in the morning and Jake, Trisha and I are usually in the group that is the last to leave the store.”

FAMILY COMES FIRST
Tapper’s, Troy, MI / Founded: 1977

Founder Howard Tapper is the company’s CEO, brother Steven is vice-president, son Mark is president, daughter Marla Tapper Young is a director and Mark’s wife Leora is heavily involved in the store’s merchandising and runs its estate department. Mark ascribes the company’s success in part to the tight family bond they all share. “We hired a family business consultant who asked each of us individually, ‘There’s no wrong answer, but is it family first or business first?’ And each of us answered ‘family first.’ We don’t always agree, but once a final decision is made, we all get on the bus and start driving in one direction.”

Founder William Croghan’s granddaughters and great-granddaughters form the current management team.

LAUGHTER IS A CURE-ALL
Croghan’s Jewel Box, Charleston, SC | Founded: 1907

Mini and Kathleen Hay; Rhett Ramsay Outten, Mariana Ramsay Hay and their mother Mary Croghan Ramsay.

Founder William Croghan’s granddaughters and great-granddaughters watch over the store that William opened around 1930 at 308 King Street. By 2000, granddaughters Mariana Ramsay Hay and Rhett Ramsay Outten, the third generation, began to knock out walls and expand the jewelry business in that original building. They’ve since been joined by fourth-generation Mini Hay and Kathleen Hay. Says Rhett: “Too many retail jewelers hang onto the image or idea of who they’ve been in the past. Our survival has been based on ‘Let’s try it; let’s see what happens.’ We also believe that laughter is a cure for just about anything, so we laugh a lot. And probably most importantly, we are always counting our blessings and looking for ways to give back in a meaningful way to this community that has given us so much.”

Robert and Jonathan McCoy

Old Place, New Course
Mitchum Jewelers, Ozark, MO | Founded: 1965

Jonathan and Jennifer McCoy, left, with Robert McCoy and Samantha Smith, head of operations.

“When I was growing up, it was more like a routine,” says Randy Mitchum of the family store. “My dad, a watchmaker, went to work during the day, then he came home and we ate dinner and watched Wheel of Fortune.” Although he’d been assigned chores in the store, he never really thought of it as his life’s work. Randy graduated high school in 2000, but after a year in technical college, he lacked direction. “I asked my Dad, ‘Why don’t you let me work in the store part time?’ At first he told me, ‘No, I don’t think we’d get along very well.’ Then he needed someone after my first year in college and I started working in the store. The next semester came along and I wanted to work full time in the business.” Although he was trained on the bench, his dad told him, “You’re a hell of a better salesperson than you are a bench person. Why don’t you stay on the sales floor and make some money?” Randy never did go back to college. “Once I got into the store and started working, I saw some potential and started taking some ownership,” he says.

John Mitchum (right), shown with his son, Randy, purchased Trantham Jewelry in 1965. It came with a prominent, double-sided clock on the town square that now has a new name and a place of honor in their current location.

JEWELERS IN RESIDENCE
McCoy Jewelers, Dubuque, IA | Founded: 1973

The McCoys not only work together but also live above their business. Founder Robert McCoy, a master gemologist, jeweler and designer, lives on the third floor, and his son Jonathan and daughter-in-law Jennifer live on the second floor. Although semi-retired, Robert still works a couple of days a week on design and repairs. Jonathan is the head of bench operations, custom design, CAD/CAM and repairs; Jennifer oversees bridal and sales. “It’s hard to play hooky,” Jonathan admits. “My wife and I converse about the shop almost daily. Once you get in that mindset, it’s difficult to get out of it.”

Julia, Jeff and Daniel White

REBEL, REBEL
Jeff White Custom Jewelry, Las Vegas | Founded: 1995

When Jeff White opened Jeff White Custom Jewelry with 300 square feet in an office building, he received a stipulation from his wife, Michelle White. “My mom’s one condition was that he not be allowed to hire any of the kids,” says their son, Daniel White. Michelle came from a family business and knew the stresses associated with that kind of operation. Despite that warning, Daniel and his sister Julia both landed in the business (“I guess there are worse ways to rebel,” Daniel says). “My dad has cut back from his 60-80 hour work weeks — he has given me the ability to run and manage operations in the event he does decide to take off for a while. My sister, Julia, keeps our books clean and our staff happy. She is pregnant with her fourth child right now, but insists on coming in one day a week to manage the books and schedule, and when the holidays come around, she is our top salesperson. My brother, Joseph, got out of the business and became a hospital administrator; he still has an opinion on the direction of the business, but none of us listen. I have an older sister and a younger sister who are also not in the business, but they love jewelry and my dad loves giving it to them, so no one is complaining.” In total there are 11 grandchildren in the third generation.

Michael Kanoff and his father, Lenny Kanoff, became partners in 1996.

LIVING THE DREAM
Michael’s Jewelers, Yardley and Fairless Hills, PA | Founded: 1976

Michael’s Jewelers was founded by Lenny and Karen Kanoff in 1976, but the family’s jewelry roots run deeper than that. In 1918, Daniel Kanoff, a watchmaker and silversmith, emigrated from Russia to the U.S. and got a job working for a watch repair house in Philadelphia. A decade later, he opened his own business, Philadelphia Case & Repair. Daniel’s son Irving became a watchmaker, and his grandson Lenny became a retailer. Their son, Michael, fell in love with the business. “I knew I wanted to be in the jewelry business since I was 2 years old,” Michael says. After he earned his GG from the GIA, he worked at a variety of jobs in the industry. “In 1996, I was working as a jewelry rep in Atlanta, and I got a call from my father,” Michael recalls. “He said they were building a shopping center in Yardley and asked if I would like to partner with him and open a store in my hometown. So in 1997, we closed our Richboro store and we opened Michael’s Jewelers Yardley.” Michael says he is living his dream by owning a jewelry store and raising his three children, ages 9 to 13, in his hometown. “At this point, my children don’t have any interest in the jewelry business, but that might change,” Michael says.

Fourth-generation jeweler Sarah Hurwitz Robey, her parents, Jeff and Patty Hurwitz, and her sons, Tucker and Lincoln.

ALL AGES WELCOME
Colonial Jewelers, Frederick, MD | Founded: 1920

Fourth-generation jeweler Sarah Hurwitz Robey has brought her sons Tucker and Lincoln with her to work since they were 6 weeks old, with the help of her mom, Patty Hurwitz, and a babysitter. “We have an awesome staff who are like family to us and are very understanding of all of the nuances of working for a family business, whether it is Lincoln learning to crawl on the sales floor or Tucker running in from preschool excited to show everyone what he made that day. I feel like I have a dream situation. I get to work at the store, which I have always been very passionate about, as well as have my babies close to me.” The business was founded in 1920 by Sarah’s great-grandfather, Benjamin Hurwitz. Sarah’s father Jeff Hurwitz, president of Colonial, learned the business from his own parents, Will and Marilyn. They’ve had a recent surprise addition to the family lineup at work: “My 94-year-old great-uncle, who worked in the business with my grandfather, recently came out of retirement and is our official Saturday greeter. He’s a huge hit with our customers, may of whom remember him from years ago,” Sarah says. “I don’t ever want to put any pressure on my boys (the way I was never pressured) but I am hoping that having them here so young may instill in them the same love of the business that I have,” she says.

A JACK OF ALL TRADES
Spath Jewelers, Bartow, FL | Founded: 1986

Tina and Gene Spath, from left, work with their daughter Emily and son-in-law Matthew Clark.

Spath Jewelers founders and owners Tina and Gene Spath work with their daughter, Emily Clark, and her husband, Matthew Clark, who both have the title VP of operations. Tina handles community relations and marketing. Gene works as a liaison between their two locations and oversees jewelry and watch repair. Emily is custom design manager and oversees diamond sales, HR, scheduling and marketing. Matthew handles inventory, staff training and development, marketing and sales. “In a small business, there is a lot of overlap in job responsibilities, and you eventually become a jack-of-all-trades,” Matthew says. “The way to succeed in a family business is to help and advise other family members in their areas of focus when they request the advice, and stay in your lane when advice is not needed or requested. A wise man one said, ‘You never want too many cooks in the kitchen or the food will come out tasting like you know what … ‘”

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Getting Along in the Family Business

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Mark Tapper wasn’t sure, as a young man, whether he wanted to join the family business in Michigan. He was motivated to work on Wall Street, first, which he did, but still realized he felt a pull to be an owner operator, to chart his own destiny. That idea kept him coming back to considering the family business.

“During summers, when I had the opportunity to come home, I worked in the business,” Tapper says. A turning point came when he worked with a customer to repair the watch their son had been wearing when he was killed in a car crash. “I created an emotional bond over that repair and felt more of a connection with the business. I realized that we see our guests at the best times of their lives and at the lowest times of their lives, and we can develop long-term relationships with them.”

When Mark did join Tapper’s, his father and uncle were ready to slow down a little bit. “My dad realized he wasn’t connecting with younger generations, and my sister and I were young and ambitious; little by little, he gave us more responsibility and opportunity. My dad coached us, but he handed over the reins and allowed us to make mistakes and have successes.” 

David Brown of the Edge Retail Academy says such openness is key to family harmony. While the younger family member needs to be open to learning from the older generation, the older generation benefits from being receptive to new business methods and opportunities. “We live in dynamic times, and what got you there won’t keep you there,” Brown says.

Outside experience, whether in or out of the jewelry business, can be invaluable. Kate Peterson of Performance Concepts says that ideally, family members should spend a year or more working with another, similar jeweler in another part of the country, learning sales and operations as an employee rather than as an heir.

Peterson also advises owners to be sensitive to their existing associates when bringing new family members into the fold. “Communicate honestly with staff members about your hopes and expectations for your son or daughter, about the steps you’ve taken to ensure his or her value and contribution to the team, and about how you see the chain of command evolving — both in the short and long term.”

Peterson says it’s important, although challenging, for the owner of the company to separate their roles as business owner and parent.

“Talk to your son or daughter as you would to any person applying for an eventual management position with your company,” she says. “You’ll want to make sure that your objectives, as well as your understanding of career path and process, are compatible. Now is the time to discuss timelines, expectations and performance standards.”

Mike Kanoff of Michael’s Jewelers in Yardley, PA, says he started at the bottom of the family business, an experience which, looking back as an adult, he recognizes as formative. “This is what made me the person I am,” he says. He advises patience on everyone’s part, because despite the best of intentions, parents will inevitably view their offspring as children, no matter their age or experience. “Don’t take it personally; it happens to all of us,” he says. “They will appreciate you more as they and you both get older and grow together.”

When a family member joins the firm, says Toby Joseph of Josephs Jewelers in Des Moines, IA, they will benefit from exposure to different areas of business to figure out what they enjoy. Discuss among family members and key members of the team how you can find someone to take on areas in which no one is strong or interested.

Sarah Hurwitz Robey credits a clear division of labor for ease of operation at her family’s store, Colonial Jewelers in Frederick, MD. Everyone plays to their strengths. “It’s not always perfect, but having different areas that we are responsible for, which happen to be the ones we enjoy the most, helps to give us all our own space to do things our own way.

“For example, my dad is responsible for diamond buying and inventory controls. He is really great at keeping our inventory lean and turning well to leverage our buying to make it as profitable as possible. So when a question comes up about bringing in more merchandise, I would defer to him on the purchasing budget, but we would pick out styles together. One of my areas is marketing, and while we will collaborate on the marketing budget for the year, the details of the way we spend it and the creative aspects are up to me. My mom, whose pre-jewelry store background was in social work, is our master of dealing with staff, customer relations and community philanthropy.”

Rhett Ramsay Outten, who owns Croghan’s in Charleston, SC, with her sister Mariana Ramsay Hay, says her third and fourth-generation family management team would all agree that working together is one of the thrills of their lives. “Our relationships have evolved and matured, and honestly, we really just like each other. The interesting thing about our situation is that we all bring very different strengths and weaknesses to the table. We know our lane and we have allowed each other to lead and excel in the area in which we each thrive.”

The Tapper family has been open to innovation and new ideas as younger family members come aboard.

Outten is the creative one, while her sister is a problem solver and planner. “Next generation Mini and Kathleen are similarly opposites. Kathleen has a love of spreadsheets and data and enjoys the analysis of numbers. Mini is an artist and designer, our style director. They work beautifully together.”

Although they have very different skill sets, they all share the values handed down from their grandfather and mother, she says, which include a deep faith, a belief in ethics and honesty and putting family first. “On challenging days, sometimes you just have to wake up and decide that the most important thing is to get along,” she says. “Our mother would expect that of us.”

MAKE SURE EVERYONE IS ON THE SAME PAGE

W hen Mark Tapper moved into the business, the Tapper family met individually with a family business consultant, who asked each of them if the family or the business came first for them and told them there was no right answer. “We all answered family first,” Tapper says. “So we had that as our foundation that the decisions we are going to make are for the family. That really helps drive the family culture, the business culture and the business performance.

“When things aren’t at their best, it’s because we aren’t communicating,” Tapper says. “The more you can talk and plan and be open and honest with one another, it benefits the family and it benefits the business.”

Brown says that effective, regular (timely), structured communication and meetings are vital, but only if they have context. If people don’t know what the goals and objectives are and where they all fit in, there isn’t much to discuss.  With those things in place, family members should meet weekly for an hour to review what’s working and what’s not.

Third and fourth generation owners of Croghan’s Jewel Box say that working together is one of the thrills of their lives, but on challenging days, they make the decision to “just get along.”

At Croghan’s, Outten says the family meets once a week with their CFO, their head of HR and their store manager. “This is where we discuss all of our plans, problems and triumphs,” Outten says. “It is a crucial part of our success and allows us to be on the same page as well as to be intentional in both short and long-term planning.”

Brown notes that multiple generations working together must know and agree on the short-term (one year), medium-term (five years) and long-term (five years and beyond) goals and objectives of the business and the family members involved. It’s important to discuss expectations upfront, including who will be running the business in the future. “There are few things more destabilizing than surprises, such as one of the younger generation thinking they will be taking over the business only to find someone else is earmarked for that role,” Brown says.

Other important topics are: How do the current owners get paid? How do they make it equitable? “There is nothing worse than close family members falling out due to a lack of understanding about where they fit in and how it is all going to work,” Brown says.

ADDRESS QUALITY OF LIFE ISSUES

O wners may discover that family and quality of life issues are at the forefront of expectations when it comes to millennial and Gen Z employees. “Expect to hear ‘I can’t put in the kind of hours you did’ and avoid the temptation to utter the dreaded phrase, ‘Pay your dues,’” Peterson says.

Robey is grateful that her parents recognized how important it was to her to bring her young sons to work, ever since they were six weeks old. “If someone just needs a hug from Mommy, I am right here,” she says.

Matthew Clark joined his wife’s family’s business, Spath Jewelers, in Bartow, FL. Emily works there, too, and they both have the title of vice president of operations. For them, working together is quality of life. “People are amazed that I work 10 hour days with my wife and say they could never do it,” Clark says. “But I could not imagine working 10-hour days away from her and coming home to see her just a couple hours before having to go to bed. I know it would not work for everyone, but we are very blessed to make it work and I would not have it any other way. ”

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Big Survey

The Big Survey 2019: Big Data

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THE BIG SURVEY 2019

Big Data

Gabriel & Co. is king. Earnings for many jewelers have flat-lined. And customers — and almost as often staff — are still confounding. Those are some of the broad takeaways of the 2019 Big Survey. Dig in and enjoy our analysis of data provided by 802 North American jewelers.

Utah’s jewelers were most concerned about the impact of social media on their personal lives: 75% said it had been negative. In a possible related finding, Utah’s jewelers also checked review sites most regularly, doing it daily or every few days. Jewelers in Maine were the least likely to check what people were saying about them online.
California had the highest number of multiple-store owners: 23% had two stores and 3% had three or more.
Arizona led the way in e-ccommerce with 71% saying it contributed a moderate or substantial portion of their sales (meaning more than 10%).
Texas contributed the highest portion of big city stores to our survey (23%) among U.S. stores. (Canada actually had the most in North America at 29%.)
Wisconsin could possibly change its moniker to the Surprise State: Only 15% of its jewelers said their performance this year was in line with expectations. The rest were either doing better or worse than expected.
Jewelers in Iowa were most excited about lab-grown diamonds (63%), while jewelers in New York were most alarmed by their emergence (48%).
Canadian jewelers are most likely to be asked about a diamond’s origins (83% say it happens regularly) while in the U.S. it was California that holds that distinction (70%).
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1. How well is your business performing in 2019 compared to your expectations going into the year?

Far below expectations
2%
Below expectations
23%
In line with expectations
46%
Above expectations
24%
Way above expectations
5%

2. How many stores do you operate?

3. Where is your store located by region?

Northeast
17%
Mid Atlantic

 

5%
Midwest
31%
Southeast
21%
Southwest
9%
Mountain (Rocky Mountains)
4%
Northwest
(including Alaska)
3%
West (including Hawaii)
5%
Canada
5%
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4. Is your (main) store located:

On a downtown street
33%
In its own free-standing building

 

27%
In a strip mall
24%
In a lifestyle center
5%
Office building/Business park
5%
In a mall
3%
Home studio
2%
On the Internet
1%
Other
1%
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