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These Are the Best-Performing Jewelry Brands of 2017

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Last year’s winner claims the No. 1 spot again.

For the second straight year, Gabriel & Co. took the top spot in our Big Survey (with 14 percent of the vote), garnering the most votes when readers were asked to name the three best-performing brand-name jewelry lines that they carry.

Pandora was the top pick from 2009-2015, but fell to No. 3.

Below is this year’s full list. Look out for all the results of the 2017 Big Survey in the upcoming October edition of INSTORE.

1. Gabriel & Co.

2. Stuller

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3. Pandora

4. Allison-Kaufman

5. Vahan

6. Hearts on Fire

7. Lafonn

8. Simon G.

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9. (tie) John Hardy, Royal Chain

11. (tie) Benchmark, Lashbrook

13. (tie) Frederic Duclos, Roberto Coin

15. (tie) Alex & Ani, Ostbye

17. ELLE

18. (tie) CrownRing, David Yurman, Gemsone

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A Good Idea for Thanksgiving, and More Important Dates for November

Includes a fitting tribute to the quiz show Twenty Questions.

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2 The quiz show TWENTY QUESTIONS MADE ITS DEBUT on national television on this day 70 years ago. Mark the occasion by brainstorming 20 questions to get your customers talking. Sami Fine Jewelry in Fountain Hills, AZ, came up with a list that ranged from icebreakers like “What kind of pets do you own?” to those with a specific sale in mind: “How would you like to be a hero for under $100?”

19 Mark management expert PETER DRUCKER’S BIRTHDAY by saying no to something that you feel is vaguely important, but if you were to be brutally realistic, you don’t have time for.

28 Get in the spirit of THANKSGIVING by sending a goodie bag to your best 50 customers (be sure to include a coupon). It’s likely they provide an outsized contribution to your success.

29 It’s showtime! BLACK FRIDAY marks the traditional start of the shopping season. Spur your holiday sales with a special coupon mailed to your customer list.

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Where Did All My Profits Go?

Understanding cash flow vs. profit can affect how you manage your business.

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A COMMON COMPLAINT FROM retailers after the CPA has completed the end of year financials is, “Where is the money?” Often, they have reported a healthy profit (which also leads to a bigger tax liability to the IRS), yet their bank account never seems to reflect the profit the business makes.

It’s a common issue. Most store owners expect their profit to show up in the bank account — and that’s perfectly understandable. After all, profit is supposed to be what you have left after paying your operating costs and vendors. Yet, rarely does it align.

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The reality is that cash flow and profits are two different things. Cash flow reflects the ins and outs of your bank account over a period of time. Profit is about your income and the expenses that relate to that income. That means the expenses don’t necessarily line up with when you paid them.

One of the best examples of this is the inventory you buy. For instance, let’s say Bob’s business does $1 million in sales for the year. With a keystone markup, Bob makes a gross profit of $500,000 from his business. After expenses of $400,000, his net profit is $100,000.

The bank account tells a very different story. Although the cost of goods sold is $500,000, Bob didn’t necessarily spend that much on inventory for the year. If he spent $600,000 on inventory purchases, he would have increased his inventory holding by $100,000. However, he didn’t sell the extra inventory, and therefore, it doesn’t pay for itself, but it will still come out of his bank account!

Timing is another important factor in paying vendors, too. Whether you pay your vendors immediately or pay the amount six months later, this will affect your bank balance, but it won’t affect your profit — the item is an expense when you sell it, not when you pay your vendor.

Your bank account can also be affected by assets that you buy. A new vehicle that is deemed a business asset may leave a hole in your bank account now if you pay cash, but as a business asset, its cost will be spread over several years to reflect when it is used. Your profit will look healthier than your bank account in this situation.

Of course, another factor to consider is personal spending. Withdrawing a good deal of money from your business account to support your lifestyle isn’t a business expense and won’t decrease your profit. It will, however, certainly lower the balance of your bank account.

It’s important to understand this difference between cash flow and profit so you don’t get caught spending money you don’t have.

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Editor's Note

Why The Big Survey Should Be Invaluable to Business Planning

When 800 store owners talk, you should listen.

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WE CALL OUR ANNUAL survey “The Big Survey” because we ask so many questions of respondents, but it’s also big because so many of you participate — more than 800 of you, in fact. And that makes the results incredibly valuable.
They’re so valuable that when I’m asked to speak to industry organizations, I often use the results to illustrate any number of points. For instance, I recently spoke to a group about how millennials are disrupting jewelry retail. I went back to last year’s Big Survey to reference this fascinating result: 51 percent of stores who were thriving said that the rise of millennials has been good for business, while only 18 percent of stores who were struggling said the same.
It’s questions (and results) like these that make The Big Survey so indispensable when charting the future of your business. In this case, it’s clear that if your store doesn’t cater to the needs of millennials, you’re more likely to struggle.

This year’s survey includes results like:

  • the best-performing jewelry and watch brands
  • salary comparisons for owners and staff
  • the “dark arts” of streetwise jewelers
  • the most impactful tech for jewelry store owners

And much, much more! I hope you’ll read this year’s survey not only for the fun bits and responses that make you go “huh,” but also for the takeaways that could set you up for future success.

Trace Shelton

Editor-in-Chief, INSTORE
trace@smartworkmedia.com

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

1. Remove store fixtures that are too tall to allow shoppers to look across and take in your store. (Manager’s To-Do, p. 26)
2. Make sure your staff is fully aware of what holiday promotions will run when. (Manager’s To-Do, p. 26)
3. Always ask prospective employees, “What was the best day at work you’ve had in the past three months?” (Ask INSTORE, p. 70)
4. After any holiday sale, ask the client, “How many others are on your list?” (Shane Decker, p. 70)
5. Attend local small-business meetings to search out possible cross-marketing opportunities. (Cool Stores, p. 76)

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