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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

Not GOB (Going Out of Business) but TMM (Too Much Merchandise)? It’s Wilkerson To the Rescue!

With a remodeling project looming, the time was right for Steve and Linda Hammalian, owners of Little Treasure Jewelers in Gambrills, MD, to call in the Wilkerson pros. The couple needed to liquidate excess, aging inventory. Steve says he’d totally recommend them. “Wilkerson offered a comprehensive solution in terms of advertising, in terms of on-site presence and for their overall enthusiasm. They’re also really nice people.”

Promoted Headlines

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Adults needn’t be the only ones who view jewelry stores as houses of goodies. In addition to its well-appointed kids’ corner, Renaissance Fine Jewelry in Brattleboro, VT, provides customers’ children with gift-wrapped presents to make them feel special, too. “They will remember the stuffed animal or the funky handbag they got at Renaissance Fine Jewelry,” says owner Caitlyn Wilkinson.


Worried your relationship with your phone is less than healthy? Switch your display from color to grayscale, recommends Catherine Price in her book How To Break Up With Your Phone. (This is apparently so threatening to phone makers’ addiction business model, it’s hidden five levels deep on the iPhone: go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Color Filters.) Instantly, your phone is vastly duller. Try it for a day.

CHARITY Sell On Site

When you’re asked to donate to local charities, make sure to choose only events that allow you to personally participate, says Dianna Rae High of Dianna Rae Jewelry in Lafayette, LA. This way, you’re building relationships, rather than just donating an item to sit on a silent auction table. For example, when the local ballet asked High to sponsor their annual event, she paid the sponsorship fee and asked if she could set up a small table of jewelry for sale with a percentage of sales going to the ballet. “The women loved it, we sold a lot of jewelry, I met new people, and the ballet received more than if I had just paid the sponsorship,” High says.

STRATEGY Good Citizens

If you refer to potential customers as “prospects” or “targets,” Seth Godin urges you to stop and instead call them “citizens.” His argument is based on the view that the conventional marketing terms don’t reflect the way power has shifted in the marketplace. “Citizens are no longer the weak, isolated pre-consumers in front of a TV set in 1971, with few options. Now, they appear to be holding all the cards. It sounds a bit pretentious, but then, so do most terms marketers use.” You can’t help but become a little more humble and respectful, Godin says, when you use this term.

TIME MANAGEMENTLeave the Mess for Now

If you typically feel the urge to straighten your desk before you can start on meaningful work, The Guardian’s Oliver Burkeman suggests a simple rule: reschedule. “If your job permits it, schedule a daily deck-clearing hour — but at 4.30 p.m., not 9 a.m.,” he says. “It’s time to abandon the secret pride we procrastinators feel in having completed 25 small tasks by 10 a.m.; if they’re not the right tasks, that’s not really something to be proud of.” Instead, Burkeman recommends the timeworn advice to work on your most important project for the first hour of each workday.


Want to add some fun to your store? Take a tip from Sherrie’s Jewelry Box in Tigard, OR, where “you’re never late to work if you bring donuts,” owner Sherrie Devaney says.

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One tip involves a jeweler who allowed a client to pour his own gold.




Strategy Be an Idea Machine

Write down 10 ideas a day. “Do it for six straight months and see what happens. It actually turns into a super power,” says serial entrepreneur and author James Altucher. To collect his ideas, Altucher buys 1,000 waiter’s pads at a time from restaurant supplies websites (10 cents a pad). “They’re great for meetings because I have to keep concise lists, and they’re always good conversation starters.”

Podcast: When Is It Time to Let an Underperforming Employee Go?

Podcast: When Is It Time to Let an Underperforming Employee Go?

Podcast: This Advertising Copywriter’s Last Minute Pitch Changed <em><noscript><img src=
Over the Counter

Podcast: This Advertising Copywriter’s Last Minute Pitch Changed Everything

Podcast: Millennial Gem Trader Dave Bindra Steps Into ‘The Barb Wire’
The Barb Wire

Podcast: Millennial Gem Trader Dave Bindra Steps Into ‘The Barb Wire’

Management We Are Family

Leitzels’ Jewelry in Myerstown and Hershey, PA, has a cool rule to reinforce the store’s culture: Every day, each team at both its stores must include a Leitzel family member. “We take pride in every aspect of the business and build relationships. It is easy to overlook how cool it is to be a family-owned and operated business,” says third-generation co-owner Allison Leitzel-Williams.

Customer service Pour It On

The trend of customers wanting to be intimately involved in the creation of a piece of jewelry can be considered either an annoyance or an opportunity. Collins Jewelers in Dallas, GA, opts for the latter view, starting with taking the customer out to lunch to go over their renderings and then involving them in every step of production. “One customer wanted to pour his own gold, so we made that possible and he was ecstatic,” says owner Marty Collins.

Productivity Take an Unwanted Break

According to a recent Columbia University study, the key to getting the most out of work breaks is to stop even when you don’t feel like it. “Participants who didn’t step away from a task at regular intervals were more likely to write ‘new’ ideas that were very similar to the last one they had written,” the authors explained in Harvard Business Review. So, “if you’re hesitant to break away because you feel that you’re on a roll, be mindful that it might be a false impression.” It’s notable, too, that the “break” in each case merely involved switching tasks. A change, it seems, really is as good as a rest.

Community Show Your Spirit

Communion season, which often takes place after Easter to around Mother’s Day, can be a nice opportunity for a jewelry retailer that is involved deeply in its community. Orin Jewelers in Northville, MI, is one such business, sponsoring a host of activities in support of groups from USA Hockey to the local hospital. They also sponsor, as well as make custom jewelry for, the Catholic high schools in their area.

Management Bad News First

When you’re delivering good and bad news to employees, always give the bad news first, says Daniel Pink, bestselling author of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. Pink acknowledges this often feels counterintuitive, as many bosses hope that by starting out positively, they will cushion the bad stuff. “The reason has to do with endings. Given the choice, human beings prefer endings that elevate, that have a rising sequence rather than a declining sequence,” he says.

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SecurityBeware 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.

ManagementWill 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

ShowroomSign 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.

SalesThe 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.”

PersonalKeep 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.

HiringAsk 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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