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What’s Next?

Jewelers continue to expect to post strong earnings this year, but the challenges are building, including what store owners consider their most pressing strategic area in the next few years: digital transformation.




1. Rank the most serious challenges faced by your business right now.

The Big Survey 2022: What’s Next?
*Figures represent a weighted average.

2. Tell us about a creative way you’ve dealt with one of these issues.

  • Due to crazy rising expenses (35%), I’ve raised my repair rates (60%) and am pricing higher with 240% markups. Nobody blinked, and my profits are way up.
  • Sales goals now include a paid Saturday off. Staff loves it.
  • I have been letting staff stay clocked in for lunch, more flexible hours, bring pets to work, got them massages/facials, and gave them inflation money (gift cards for needed things like gas/food/etc.).
    Offered a referral bonus to our employees for recruiting candidates for our openings.
  • Buying diamonds over the counter and reselling gold and low-quality diamonds and gold wholesale or scrap, and we sell the nice goods very competitively at retail.
  • Aggressively move older inventory and be more liberal with accepting items in trade.
  • Added health benefits to our employee package along with annual increase tied to inflation. Flexible work hours.
  • Supply chain issues: We have had to rally with other suppliers and sometimes just make it ourselves.
  • Carry an extra staff member so I am rarely understaffed. It has saved me on occasion, been a good investment, and saved my sanity for minimal extra cost.
  • We hosted a closeout event in September where vendors gave us nearly $1 million of memo goods to sell at a discount of up to 50% off. This gave the consumer a huge value without costing us much overhead.
  • Removed the low end and only now sell fine jewelry. No watches, either.
  • “Your” Anniversary Sale (1% off for every year married).
  • Hired two part-time workers instead of one full-time.
  • We’re reaching out to the younger bridal market with TikTok.
  • We are reaching out to local universities who have a jewelry or fashion program and offering paid internships for qualified students.
  • We reduced inventory, paid down debt and order as needed. We’ve also redesigned old inventory into current styling.
  • We specialize in repurposing jewelry; something that is a family heirloom and now updated. They always seem to find the money for this. Understanding the process, they are more willing to spend money rather than just buy an item out of the case.
  • Rebuild of website with specialized assistance from multiple providers so that the backend works excellently.
  • Offering appointments outside of our normal business hours, which we have had to reduce due to staff shortage.
  • Relocated to office space and appointment only. I no longer get impulsive interruptions asking for custom design.
  • Incorporating photos and videos of our staff on our social media platforms to generate a more personal experience for current and prospective customers.

3. What area are you seeing costs rise the most this year?

Inventory (inc. findings)
Outsourced work
Advertising and marketing

4. We’re slowly putting the pandemic behind us. With the added perspective of another year passing, please rate what you feel will be the lasting impact of COVID-19 on your business and the way you sell jewelry:

The Big Survey 2022: What’s Next?

5. Looking at the long-term future, which of these social megatrends do you think will have the biggest impact on jewelers?

Graying of America
(inc. findings)
Declining marriage rate
Growing racial and ethnic diversity
Declining birth rate
The hollowing out/depopulating of rural America
Declining divorce rate
None of the above

6. With all the negative headlines at the moment, what makes you optimistic about the future of the independent jeweler?

  • People still value the personal experience. Walking into a store where people remember your name and face and ask you how your kids are doing, that still feels good.
  • We offer services that most jewelers don’t. I hear it every day.
  • There are fewer independents, therefore we are more in demand. Those who remain are thriving.
  • There will always be engagements and celebrations of life. Our ability to customize jewelry for our clients will, I believe, keep us going for years to come!
  • Gold will crash to $1,000 and then it will rise; gather all you can.
  • Being able to pivot, thrive and figure out how to make things work during a four-month shutdown in New York state makes me very optimistic for the future.
  • Younger generations can “smell” commoditized jewelry from a mile away. They want things that are different.
  • As small operators, we can adapt faster and more personally than the chain/big box stores can or will ever do.
  • Gen Z. I think they are going to have a renewed interest in jewelry and statement items (so long as they are ethical), and because they are generally not as hung up on gender roles and fashion, it’s going to open everyone up to selling opportunities and more creative and interesting styles.
  • More and more chain stores are closing as are shopping malls. Never a better time to be an independent jeweler.
  • The independent jeweler is best at making its customers feel valued, appreciated, and connected … all of which are qualities consumers will always need/appreciate.
  • The pandemic made people realize the importance of self-care. Treating yourself is now linked to positive mental health!

7. Based on the first eight months of this year, how do you expect your total revenues for 2022 will compare with 2021?

The Big Survey 2022: What’s Next?

8. Strategically, what do you feel is the most important area for you to target in the next year or two?

The Big Survey 2022: What’s Next?

“Others” included “Maximizing baby boomer generation before they all die, “Staying alive”, easing sales friction, pushing shop local, and “Being the ‘’go to guy’ for estates to liquidate their 1980s gold and diamonds.”



This Third-Generation Jeweler Was Ready for Retirement. He Called Wilkerson

Retirement is never easy, especially when it means the end to a business that was founded in 1884. But for Laura and Sam Sipe, it was time to put their own needs first. They decided to close J.C. Sipe Jewelers, one of Indianapolis’ most trusted names in fine jewelry, and call Wilkerson. “Laura and I decided the conditions were right,” says Sam. Wilkerson handled every detail in their going-out-of-business sale, from marketing to manning the sales floor. “The main goal was to sell our existing inventory that’s all paid for and turn that into cash for our retirement,” says Sam. “It’s been very, very productive.” Would they recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers who want to enjoy their golden years? Absolutely! “Call Wilkerson,” says Laura. “They can help you achieve your goals so you’ll be able to move into retirement comfortably.”

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