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Tip Sheet

Tip Sheet: November 2013



Tips: November 2013

Fresh ideas to better your business.

Published in the November 2013 issue


Here’s another example of the
gold that can be sifted from Google
Analytics data. H.L. Gross & Bro.
Jewelers of Garden City, NY, found
shortly after launching its Internet
arm,, that a portion
of orders was coming from soldiers.
They quickly instituted a 5 percent
discount on engagement rings
for military personnel and added
services such as insured delivery
to war zones and fast-turnaround
for soldiers on leave. The business
has grown steadily and H.L. Gross
is now selling a few dozen rings a
month to military customers, Brad
Gross told


Most store dogs
take it pretty easy.
Not Lester, the Silky
terrier at Brian Michaels
Jewelers in
Tonawanda, NY, who
meets and greets customers and
prances around the store modeling
a diamond collar. Lester also gave
the store’s bridal department a
boost by getting married at the
store, although he and his “wife”
continue to live separately. “It’s the
secret to his successful marriage,”
says owner Brian Levine.

According to our October Big
Survey, 66 percent of jewelers use
a code to alert staff to a potentially
dangerous situation. If your store is
among the one in three that doesn’t,
here’s one to provide inspiration
from a recent Cool Store winner:
“Sally, have you seen the red stapler?”
Translation? Call 911!


For many jewelers, Black Friday
is still one of the most important
dates on the calendar — when
the year’s business really does
turn from red to black. But not at
Krystyna’s Jewelry, Chicago, IL.
They don’t even open for business.
Last year they took the whole
Thanksgiving week and instead
went on a pre-holiday cruise with
family and staff. “We feel it is the
best way to prepare and be fresh for
the stress of December,” says owner
Dorothy Retzke.

Is fear of rejection
stopping you from
approaching your
bank, a prospective
partner or even a potential
client? Well,
don’t wait any longer — crush your
hopes yourself. It sounds like mental
self-flagellation but by writing a
letter to yourself listing the reasons
why your proposal should be turned
down, you will take a lot of the pain
out of the matter, says Dan Pink,
citing psychological research. Too
lazy to write a letter? Go to the Rejection
Generator Project at tinyurl.
com/klh7upg Just choose
your favored style of rejection, type
in your email addresss, and in minutes
you’ll receive a dream-destroyer
in your inbox, assures Pink.

Security update from Jewelers
Mutual Insurance Co.: The U.S.
Postal Service recently changed the
name of its “Express Mail” service
to “Priority Mail Express.” Don’t
confuse this with “Priority Mail,” as
the two are not the same. “Jewelers
Mutual’s shipping coverage has not
changed, and packages shipped via
Priority Mail Express will continue
to be automatically covered under
Jewelers Mutual’s Jewelers Block,
Jewelers Standard, and “Pak’ insurance
policies,” the company said
in a statement. That is not the case
with items sent “Priority Mail.”



Don’t call your
customers; textmessage
them, advises
Adam Fried,
global trainer for
Hearts On Fire. “It
allows them to look at it at their
convenience, yet it also guarantees
they will see it.” He recommends
buying a store mobile phone to do
all text messaging. It enables the
owner to see all the messages going
out, and the salespeople won’t have
to use their personal phones.

Who wouldn’t love to have hundreds
of customers eagerly awaiting
every update on their Facebook
page, especially during the crucial
run-in to Christmas? That’s what
Jenny Caro of Jewelry By Design
in Woodbridge, VA, managed to do
with their 12 Days of Christmas
promotion last year, which gave
away one piece of jewelry on the
first day of the campaign, rising to
12 pieces by Day 12. When the item
is posted to Facebook, the first person
who comments that they like
the piece gets it for free. “It gets a
community going,” said Caro during
a session at the Dallas SMART
Show. Meanwhile, the store posts
other promotional messages because
it knows that customers are
watching the page all the time.

Last holiday season,
De Beers Diamond
invited five popular
style bloggers in New
York and London to
come into its stores and play “pick
your dream ring” to give them
something to write about. In New
York, Christine Cameron, author of
My Style Pill, wrote of her store experience
as an “incredibly fun and
girly afternoon,” while drinking
champagne and eating macaroons.
It was textbook social media marketing,
at very little cost.



Wilkerson Testimonials

Texas Jeweler Knew He'd Get Only One Shot at a GOB Sale, So He Wanted to Make It Count

Most retailers only have one GOB sale in their lifetimes. This was the case for Gary Zoet, owner of Shannon Fine Jewelry in Houston, Texas. “Wilkerson has done thousands of these sales,” says Zoet. “I’ve never done one, so it’s logical to have somebody with experience do it.” The result exceeded Zoet’s expectations. Wilkerson took care of everything from marketing to paperwork. When it’s time for you to consider the same, shouldn’t you trust the experts in liquidation?

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Tip Sheet

The Best Question to Ask Job Candidates and More Tips for March

Don’t miss “the right-hand close.”




Beware Social Thieves

Going to Basel? Beware of who you tell, what you post, and how you move. “Skilled gangs of robbers monitor social networks, and, based on information that the exhibitors post, the robbers have attacked, robbed and even burglarized hotel rooms that the exhibitors were staying at,” Itay Hendel, CEO of Israel-based ISPS, which specializes in theft prevention for the jewelry industry, says in a statement.

Will Do, Not to Do

When making your daily to-do list, don’t pick 20 things you hope to do and that you think will add up to one day’s work: you’ll overestimate your capacities. Instead, pick the three or four most important things and really commit to doing them, even if you think they’ll take you only a couple of hours, suggests Luciano Passuello at

Sign Language

When you go to a jewelry show, you ask your vendors what’s new, right? Of course you do. Consultant Larry B. Johnson, author of The Complete Guide to Effective Jewelry Display, says the best way to draw customer interest from regular clients is to put a whiteboard on an easel (total cost: $79) just inside your door with all of your new products written on it.

The Right-Hand Close

Owners are uniquely placed to provide a blessing to close a sale, but knowing when to intervene can be tricky. The sales associates at Linnea Jewelers in La Grange, IL, signal such situations by shifting the piece to their right hand (a technique recommended by sales trainer Shane Decker). Owner Denise Oros will then step in to provide the reassurance that’s often needed with a line such as “Great choice! I got that stone, pearl, etc. in Tucson, it is a one-of-a-kind, she will love it! You really have an eye for the finer things.”

Keep Vacations Short

There seems to be a belief that a “proper” vacation requires at least a week off. But as the American psychologist Thomas Gilovich told the Boston Globe recently, “If you have to sacrifice how long your vacation is versus how intense it is, you want shorter and more intense.” That’s because we remember and judge our experiences, whether good or bad, not in their entirety, but according to how they felt at their emotional peak and at the end.

Ask How They Prepared

Anand Sanwal, the CEO and co-founder of fast-growing tech company CB Insights, has an interesting take on the best question to ask a job candidate: “Tell me how you prepared for this interview.” Not only does the reply likely reveal a lot about how the person’s commitment to the position — do they care? — but it will hint at their work ethic and their analytical capabilities, he says.

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Tip Sheet

A Low-Tech Loyalty Program and More Tips for February

From bench training to personal expectations, this advice provides holistic assistance.




TrainingTake Your Bench Live

Live feeds from the bench have been used by jewelers to build showroom ambience and by sales associates to close sales for more than a decade. But there’s a second benefit that’s often overlooked — as a training tool, says Jude Dutille, owner of Dutilles Jewelry Design Studio in Lebanon, NH. Dutille has a camera at his work bench to “provide micro-visuals of what he is demonstrating,” be it stone-setting, fabrication, or hand-engraving to his staff of goldsmiths (all of whom are trained in-house “from scratch”).

Podcast: Michael O’Connor, Jewelry’s Perfect Spokesman, Visits ‘The Barb Wire’
The Barb Wire

Podcast: Michael O’Connor, Jewelry’s Perfect Spokesman, Visits ‘The Barb Wire’

Podcast: A Jeweler Learns the Internet’s Weaknesses, and His Own Strengths
Over the Counter

Podcast: A Jeweler Learns the Internet’s Weaknesses, and His Own Strengths

Podcast: How to Find Good People and Avoid Employee Nightmares

Podcast: How to Find Good People and Avoid Employee Nightmares

ServicePass The Buck

A neat — and cheeky — way of dealing with overly demanding customers from a fellow independent retailer in the vision business: BJ Chambers of Carrera Optical in McQueeney, TX, told INVISION Magazine she keeps business cards of other optical shops on hand and gives them to problem patients and suggests they “go visit.”

ExperienceProtect The Window View

Yes, the job market is tight and you might be short of staff, but hang those flyers on a local bulletin board or near your counter, not on your storefront window as some retailers are doing. “Your front window is your customers’ first impression of your store,” says merchandising expert Tom Crossman. “Don’t make it a messy one.”

PersonalExpect Less

The problem with high expectations is they often result in future disappointment. Meanwhile, low ones tend to make you glum in the present, given there’s not much to look forward to. The answer? Stop expecting, says Jason Fried, who has written several books on work. “I used to set up expectations in my head all day long. But constantly measuring reality against an imagined reality is taxing and tiring, [and] often wrings the joy out of experiencing something for what it is.” Expectations also keep you mentally living in the future and deflated when events don’t measure up — even if what does happen is actually pretty good. In 2019, don’t expect … so much.

IncentivesLow-Tech Loyalty Program

Two-thirds of consumers shop more frequently and spend more at retailers with loyalty programs. But if all the recordkeeping seems like too much of a headache, you could do what Maxwell & Molly’s Closet, a pet-grooming business not far from our office in New Jersey, does: Spend $200 and earn 5 percent off all purchases for life. People appreciate simplicity.

MarketingFind Your CPP

When plotting a mass medium campaign, be sure to speak with the TV or radio channel’s consultants on how to best utilize your budget and determine what the “cost per person” you reach is, advises J. Dennis Petimezas, owner of Watchmakers Diamonds & Jewelry in Johnstown, PA. “What may be the most expensive on a cursory review may be the smartest choice if you do your homework,” he says, adding that any consultation should be at the station’s expense. “They can afford it, so don’t take no for an answer.”

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Tip Sheet

The Negativity Board, Clients in Advertising and More Tips for January

Why don’t you hold your opinions first and ask theirs?





Hold Your Peace

According to Simon Sinek, author of the business best-seller Start With Why, the typical business meeting follows this pattern: the manager outlines the problem, says what he thinks, and then asks staff for their opinions. But by then it’s too late, says Sinek. The direction of the discussion has already been set. The ability to hold your opinions has two benefits, he says: “One, it gives everyone else the feeling that they have been heard. And two, you get the benefit of getting to hear what everybody has to think before you render your opinion.” Yes, you can ask questions, but otherwise just sit back and take it in.


A Path Less Traveled

It’s not just shopping review sites that will drive traffic in your direction; travel websites can help too, especially if you’re in a holiday or gemologically significant destination. “I am so excited,” Stephenie Bjorkman recently posted on her Facebook page after TripAdvisor added her store, Sami Fine Jewelry in Forest Hills, AZ. “This is huge for our Arizona amethyst and American Gem Collection,” she noted.


Getting Better Every Day

If you’re still scratching around for a guiding principle for 2019, consider this one from Gretchin Ruhin, author of the best-seller The Happiness Project: “What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” That applies not only to the life’s work you build on a daily basis, but also the things you spend your money on. Do you really need that huge SUV if you only ever drive to work and home?


Wipe It Clean

New year, new slate. That’s also the thinking behind the negativity board at Di’Amore Fine Jewelers in Waco, TX. “This board is designed to prevent any negative mindset throughout the day,” explains store president Monali Pandya. When one of life’s curveballs causes a nosebleed, “we encourage staff members to feverishly write any negativity on the board.” Much like an Etch-a-Sketch, once the negative thought has been written, it is “shaken off” with the victorious push of a button.


Locators, Locators, Locators

Reaching new customers is a constant struggle, and marketing is expensive. In response to this, EyeStyles Optical and Boutique, an independent eyewear retailer in Oakdale, MN, targets vendors that drive traffic through store locators. “The more store locators you can be found on, the better your ability to reach your customer,” owner Nikki Griffin told INVISION Magazine.


Go Real

Figuring young, 20-something models didn’t represent their brand and demographic, Onyx II Fine Jewelers in Watertown, CT, opted for real customers in its ad campaigns. “It’s a chance we took, approaching clients with this idea, not sure they would be interested in partaking,” says brand manager James Michael Murphy. But the outcome has been “wildly popular” he says. “They love it and everyone wants their chance to be in a campaign.”

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