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The Adventures of Captain Marvel and Timewriter: A Comic Book and Watch Geek’s Dream

An industry journalist asks herself: ‘What if I were a superhero?’

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I LEFT THE MOVIE THEATER completely smitten. I’d just seen “Captain Marvel” with my family, and more importantly, with my kick-a** little girl who was about to turn 9. “Momma,” she said to me. “I feel like I want to be Captain Marvel when I grow up.” I smiled and responded with something along the lines of, “You are already doing so much of what Carol Danvers did when she was a little girl.” But what I didn’t share with her was that I felt the same. Naturally, I couldn’t tell a little kid that her adult mom dreamed of being a superhero. She thinks I’m a little loony as it is. Why would I solidify that idea by letting her in on my little secret? No, I wouldn’t share with her my hopes of someday having superpowers and fighting bad people, while looking flawless in a Spandex suit. I’d keep those thoughts for the times I wind up daydreaming when I’m supposed to be meeting a deadline.

That night I crawled into bed with visions of Nick Fury dancing in my head.

“What if I were a superhero?” I thought to myself.

“Well, technically, Barbara, you’d be a superheroine,” the feminist portion of my conscious replied.

“Oh, shut it,” writer me answered. “You’re missing the point, feminist me. I’m trying to figure out what kind of powers I’d have, and by what name I’d be called.”

I pondered a while as I started to drift and thought about my strong suits. I mean, I can write, I thought. And, I know about watches and time. Maybe my powers could combine those two things. Time. Or the ability to change it. Or even to change someone’s words. That’s when it came to me.

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Timewriter

I’d be called Timewriter! That’s it! And I’d be Captain Marvel’s sidekick! Yes! Now if only I lived in the Marvel Universe …

(Insert funky music and squiggly vertical lines that look like I’m entering a dream sequence a-la a 1980s sitcom.)

(Also, potential spoilers below.)

Timewriter: “Okay, Captain Marvel, we need to figure out how to stop Thanos before the rest of us turn to dust.”

Captain Marvel: “I don’t … know … what … I’m sorry, who the heck are you, and why are you creeping up on me? Have you been stalking my Instagram?”

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Timewriter: “I have, but that’s not the point. I’m Timewriter. I’m a new comic book character and I’m your new sidekick.”

Captain Marvel: (Smirking.) “I’m sorry, your name is Timewriter? Wow. That sounds so not beneficial to the cause. And I don’t need a sidekick. I have Goose.”

Timewriter: “I know. I saw pictures of the cat on your Instagram and on the website Adorablekittiesbelongingtosuperheros.com. Cute. But it can’t write.”

Captain Marvel: “So, you’re saying your superhero ability is … writing? Do I really have time for this? (Looks upward and around.) Which of you writers wrote this character into my universe? Is this because you’re not paid as much as I am?”

Timewriter: “It’s my dream, so leave your writers out of it. And, my power isn’t just writing, it’s words in general. I have the ability to change someone’s words as they’re saying them.”

Captain Marvel: “Prove it.”

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Timewriter: “Okay, well, go ahead and say something.”

Captain Marvel: “And what would you like … for dinner? I’d love to make you dinner tonight to celebrate the fact that you’ll be my new sidekick.”

Timewriter: “See? And why thank you! I’ll have lamb, medium-rare, please. And a side of kale. Have to stay slim in this suit.”

Captain Marvel: “Whoa. That was weirdly impressive and also tremendously uncomfortable. OK, so what about the ‘time’ portion of your name? How does that work?”

Timewriter: “Well, I have the ability to time travel into the future, though unfortunately I can’t travel to the past.”

Captain Marvel: “That’s not exactly a new thing. I mean, Dr. Strange could do the same when he had the time stone. And I can alter time too, as long as I’m wearing my watch. Do you have your own watch?”

Timewriter: “Yeah, of course I do. I’m wearing this generic-looking round watch that was created using free clip art from a random webpage. That’s pretty much how all of me was created (for the sake of this article).”

Captain Marvel: “No, I said do you have your OWN watch? Meaning, a watch that was named after you because you’re pretty much the most powerful member of the Avengers and in the universe, in general. Like I do, see?” (Holds out wrist.)

Timewriter: “Whoa. That’s pretty cool. What kind of watch is that?”

Captain Marvel: “It’s a Citizen Eco-Drive, so it’s light-powered (like I am) as well as eco-friendly (I mean, I recycle, so, there’s that). It’s called the ‘Captain Marvel’ and it has my logo on it. This is the gold-tone one but it comes in three versions altogether, which are all really awesome, and I’m not just saying that because Citizen is the official timepiece partner of U.S.-based Disney parks, or even because Disney owns Marvel Entertainment. I’m saying it because I really love the watch. I mean … it’s a ‘me’ watch. Literally.”

Timewriter: “Yeah, I can see that. It’s definitely a ‘you’ watch. But you said you can alter time with it. How does that work?”

Captain Marvel: “Oh, well, I just pull out this little thingy here on the side …”

Timewriter: “It’s called a crown.”

Captain Marvel: “Yeah, I pull out this crown thing and I can change the pointy parts …”

Timewriter: “Those are called hands.”

Captain Marvel: “… and I can change the (does air quotes) ‘hands’ to either show an earlier time or a later time, see?”

Timewriter: “You do realize that doesn’t change actual time, right?”

Captain Marvel: “Well, no, not yet it doesn’t, but who knows what superpowers the writers are going to conjure up for me in “Avengers: Endgame.” I mean, that could be one of them.”

Timewriter: “OK, well, on that note, I think I hear my morning alarm going off, so maybe we’ll pick this story up in a future dream, m’kay?”

(Insert funky music and squiggly vertical lines that look like I’m exiting a dream sequence a-la a 1980s sitcom.)

(Hits snooze. Sits up in bed.)

Me: “Wow. I have GOT to stopping eating Thai food so close to bedtime. The spices are seriously messing with my head.”

PHOTO GALLERY (3 Images)

Barbara Palumbo is a watch and jewelry industry writer, journalist and speaker. She manages the blogging websites Adornmentality.com and Whatsonherwrist.com.

Commentary: The Business

How Failure Leads to Growth

If you don’t try, nothing will change, says growth expert Elle Hill.

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WHY ISN’T SHE breathing?” my mom asked the doctor, her eyes darting back and forth between the syringe and me. An injection and a few moments later, my breathing returned to normal, but my childhood never did. Instead, I began my carefully curated asthma life.

Everything I was allowed to do was designed to avoid the risk of failing. I was swaddled tight and never allowed to push beyond what we knew I could safely do.

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After university, I sat in my first apartment in New York City and made a decision that changed everything: I would run the New York City Marathon.

I’d go out every night after work, in the yellow light of the street lamps, armed with my inhaler and my steroid pills. And I would run. I would run until I heard the first wheeze. And continue until my breath became too shallow and I couldn’t run anymore.

That first night, I ran for four minutes. I stopped. I took my inhaler. I walked back home.

I had an ache in the pit of my chest, not from the wheezing, but from the fear of failure: I might do this night after night, and still not be able to run. I had never done anything I wasn’t sure I could do before. But if I didn’t try, nothing would change.

So, I repeated this for three weeks until I could run for 10 minutes. And five more weeks until I doubled that. In November of 1999, five months later, I ran the New York City Marathon in four hours and 35 minutes.

What I learned is how important failure is. It’s not a byproduct of success — it is the road to success. If you never fail, you’re playing it too safe. If you only act when you know you will succeed, you will never learn something new or reach your potential.

In the years after my marathon finish, I have had a new philosophy: I choose what I do next based on what intimidates me most. It’s why I started my own jewelry store, discovered it was a bad business model, and overhauled it. Each painful failure was a hard-won lesson that made me better, smarter, faster. And ultimately, I brought my company public in a $10 million IPO in less than five years.

Taking a leap when you can’t guarantee success is exactly what you must do to learn, to grow.

To succeed, you must first aim to fail.

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Columns

Want to Sell More Silver? Here Are Five Ways to Do It

Female self-purchasers are key.

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SILVER HAS BECOME AN increasingly important category for many jewelers over the past several years both in driving sales and providing margin. To determine specifics on market performance and help support further growth, the Silver Promotion Service fields an annual market measurement study, and year after year, the results point to silver’s strength as a key category for sales.

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Here are a few highlights:

1. Silver continually delivers the best inventory turnover, surpassing diamonds, bridal and gold. This presents an opportunity to keep your assortments fresh and try new collections. Plan a trunk show and advertise the fact you have new merchandise to offer.

2. The age group buying the most silver is 20-40 years old. Be sure that your marketing plan includes this target audience. Connect with them on social media. Share news about new collections, trunk shows and events. Most brands offer great images and marketing support — use it to your advantage!

3. Offer a silver collection that is unique to your area. Why offer the same silver collections that your competitors do — why not offer a unique collection that stands out from the crowd and thereby cultivate your own following? Why be “me too” when you can offer “exclusively at”? We showcase a range of silver collections at savorsilver.com; check them out and find one that works well for your store.

4. The female self-purchase customer presents a fantastic opportunity for sales, and silver offers the perfect entry price point. This customer can comfortably buy for herself and express her own personality and style. Like all silver customers, the female self-purchase customer shops often. She may drop in to celebrate a job well done or just to treat herself. Keep her informed about new collections and styles. Once you have created a great selection of styles to meet the needs of your target audience, you need to promote your news where they will see it and keep it fresh. You need to reach out weekly to this customer; a monthly flyer or newsletter won’t do the trick. Post, tweet and repost and find ways to make it automatic.

5. Silver delivers the best margin consistently over all other jewelry categories. The majority of retailers surveyed confirm this statistic. So why not build your assortment to offer a range of collections, from classic to dramatic? Contact your clients when a coordinating piece or new collection arrives from their favorite designer. Learning to make additional offers will make the difference in growing versus just maintaining your silver business.

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Shane Decker

For Successful Retailers, Failure is Not an Option, Says Shane Decker

Sales trainer says too many owners give up too quickly.

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A WORD THAT IS NOT in my vocabulary and should not be in yours is “failure.” Failure can almost always be avoided and is almost always human-designed.

Failure generally happens because of lack of planning. Owners and managers say, “I’ll try it!” and they try it one time, then they say it didn’t work. That’s because most don’t want to put in the effort to truly change. They stay with their old bad habits instead of formulating new habits.

If you don’t like change, you’re going to hate extinction.

So don’t try it — do it. And keep doing it right until you get it done correctly and successfully. Here is a list of things that will set you up for failure if you don’t change your ways.

1. Not closing. Outside of bridal clients, 80 percent of people buy the day they shop. People don’t have time to shop tomorrow if they’re shopping today. 60-70 percent of shoppers who say they’ll be back buy within two hours of leaving your location.
2. Not handling objections or knowing how to team sell, add on, wow, sell company benefits or use value-added statements. Many salespeople don’t know the anatomy of a clerk sale or a created one. They also don’t understand how to convert repair clients into sales.
3. GIA is the Harvard of our industry, but most salespeople don’t take Diamonds 1 and 2. A lot of young customers know more than the salespeople do.
4. Lack of store floor awareness.
5. Negotiating to close the sale and thereby losing profits. Salespeople use negotiating price as a cop-out because they either don’t know any better or are too lazy to do better.
6. Keeping your inventory too long. After two years, it’s dead money.
7. Bad marketing.
8. Not setting sales and business goals.
9. Not marking merchandise up enough, especially diamonds.
10. Not having enough events to increase traffic.
11. Not tracking your sales closing ratio to measure how your team is doing.
12. Not having enough high-end inventory and large diamonds. More and more clients are buying higher-dollar items, but you have to have it before they can.
13. Selling from a poverty-level mentality (selling out of your own pocket).
14. Bad location.
15. Crappy websites designed by Fred Flintstone.
16. Not remodeling old stores.
17. Being closed on Mondays. It’s becoming a big shopping day again.
18. Proper signage not visible. Clients walk into stores all the time and say, “I didn’t know there was a jewelry store here!”
19. Lack of services like appraisals, repairs, CAD/CAM. Work done poorly or not on time.
20. Overpromising and underdelivering.

It’s easy to fail, but it takes dedication, time and wisdom to succeed. If you improve in these areas and work toward success, promote professionalism and have the best-trained staff front and back, you will have a long life in this industry.

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