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Editor's Note

Today’s Bridal Client Requires A New Approach

Selection isn’t enough anymore.

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IF YOU’RE SELLING bridal the same old way you’ve done it in past decades, you may find fewer people saying “I do” to your engagement rings.

Twenty years ago, it was enough just to have a strong selection of solitaires. Heck, it’s been less than five years since custom design began to dominate the bridal conversation and lab-grown diamonds started making waves.

Those products are responses to three traits common to nearly every engagement ring shopper these days: they want uniqueness, an environmentally and ethically friendly product, and quality at a reasonable price. If you’re not addressing shoppers’ desire for a ring distinct from their peers — and one that satisfies their social conscience — you need to revisit your business model, quickly.

Today’s engagement ring shopper also responds well to an unexpected positive experience. Many jewelers now provide one or more “extras” to bridal shoppers, which we’ve collated in our lead story, “41 Surefire Ways to Make Your Bridal Business Stand Out.” These could be anything from a proposal package to a photo shoot, booth seating or concierge services.

And that’s just the beginning. Throughout this issue, you can read about how to make the most of the lab-grown diamond phenomenon, how to streamline your bridal inventory, how to get clients to return for jewelry service, and much more. So if you’re ready to turn something old into something new, turn the page and get cracking!

Trace Shelton

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

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

1. Write a blog post that describes the best places around your community to propose. (Tip Sheet, p. 56)
2. Create infographics about jewelry and diamonds to share on social media. (Manager’s To-Do, p. 32)
3. Give a silicon band free to engagement ring shoppers while talking about jewelry care. (Do You Or Don’t You, p. 73)
4. Treat engagement ring clients to a ride to their wedding in a vintage vehicle. (The Big Story, p. 40)
5. Track which live samples result in special orders. (Sherry Smith, p. 61)

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Trace Shelton is the editor-in-chief of INSTORE magazine. He can be reached at trace@smartworkmedia.com.

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Editor's Note

What Makes a Store Cool?

It’s the special sauce of individuality.

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WHEN I SAW a photo of an inverted canoe chandelier hanging from Erik Runyan Jewelers’ 18-foot ceilings in Vancouver, WA, I wanted to meet the people who put it there.

I got my chance in June when our panel of expert judges chose ERJ as the No. 1 America’s Coolest Store in the Big Cool division.

What draws me to ERJ is not just the canoe. The store is the perfect expression of everything Erik and Leslie Runyan love. They raised their three daughters on boats and dirt bikes. Their spirit of adventure, the sea and wide-open spaces are reflected in the store design and ambience.

Gem dealers Simon and Laurie Watt have curated EAT Gallery, the No. 1 store in the Small Cool division, to display beloved treasures, from local art to hand-carved gem sculptures. They’ve managed to connect Maysville, the Kentucky town they’ve chosen to call home, to the wide world of gems they inhabit in their travels. The place is so personal that if you tell manager Katherine Cotterill just what you want, she will string natural stones or pearls right there at her desk to match your vision — or your outfit.

Each of this year’s Cool Stores scored high in the category of individuality. Without that special sauce, even the most opulent store can feel cold.

On the other hand, when you’re able to be yourself, shoppers are delighted by the sense of ease and comfort that results from such authenticity.  How cool is that?

Eileen McClelland
eileen@smartworkmedia.com

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

  • Create a proprietary wine label to share with clients in your store and add to your overall brand. (The Big Story, p. 46)
  • Provide “loaner” rings to customers to use to pop the question so that the fiancée can be involved in the selection/design process later. (The Big Story, p. 72)
  • Produce a video blog series that shows viewers how jewelry looks when worn and introduces new collections or pieces. (The Big Story, p. 36)
  • Offer concierge services for your clients, including making dinner reservations, finding local tours or calling up Google Maps for directions. (The Big Story, p. 66)
  • Sponsor a Champagne diamond giveaway, in which all participants receive a cubic zirconia and one trades in for a real diamond. (The Big Story, p. 78)
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Editor's Note

Why It’s Good To Remember Your Best Day Ever

Reliving your favorite memory in business could inspire you to even greater heights.

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IT’S HUMAN NATURE to remember one’s failures most vividly. In my senior year of high school, we finished our football season at 9-2. A record to be proud of, but it’s those two losses that stick with me most.

Maybe you’re the same way, and you’ve had failures that you can’t stop wondering “what if” about. But we’ve already done an issue on failure (go back and read our April issue if you missed it!). Now, it’s time to celebrate the good times! Remember those moments when you were on top of the world? The ones you would love to relive again? Those are the recollections that inspire us to make the next unbelievable memory.

As we roll into the second half of the year, it seems appropriate to recall those “best days ever” to motivate you to even greater heights. In our lead story, we’ve collected 33 reminiscences from your fellow jewelry store owners to remember their favorite days, from that occasion when one made his first sale, to the moment one met his future spouse, to that time one’s father gave her the advice that sticks with her to this day. (We had so many beautiful stories that we couldn’t fit them all in print, so visit instoremag.com to read the rest!)

So go ahead: invite the memory of your favorite day back into your mind right now. Smile. Read about the triumphs of your peers. Then get back into your business and set the stage for your next best. day. ever!

Trace Shelton

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

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

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Editor's Note

This Year’s INSTORE Design Awards Winners Followed In a Stellar Tradition

With 25 categories, many designers had the chance to shine.

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EVERY YEAR, I’M consistently impressed by the ingenuity displayed by the jewelry designers who enter the INSTORE Design Awards. Two years ago, Hisano Shepherd of Little H made a splash with her fresh take on pearls, slicing them open and encrusting them with gemstones. Last year, Katey Brunini won three categories with three separate pieces from her intricate and colorful Eating Watermelon In The Black Forest collection, while TAP By Todd Pownell took two other categories with their striking, nature-inspired use of diamonds.

This year, with so many more categories (25, as opposed to eight last year), lots of designers made their mark. Adel Chefridi won two categories and a Retailer’s Choice award with his geometric matte designs. Thorsten placed with three different show-stopping wedding band designs. Manufacturers Gabriel & Co. and UNEEK Fine Jewelry each had multiple winners. The mesmerizing Sultana ring by Annamaria Cammilli Firenze cleaned up across several categories. Then there was our Grand Prize winning piece: the VIVAAN cuff (featured on our cover) with nearly 30 carats of natural fancy color diamonds that won over both our judges and online voters.

When you’re shopping the Las Vegas trade shows, start with the winners of this design competition. If they’re turning heads among our judges and online voters, they’re sure to turn the heads of your clients as well.

Trace Shelton

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

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

  • When displaying men’s jewelry, opt for timeless elements like antique fly-fishing reels, old toy cars or old sports items. (Ask Instore, p. 91)
  • Longer ad copy yields better results, as proven by Google. (Jim Ackerman, p. 90)
  • Always display in odd numbers; it’s more aesthetically pleasing. (Three Things I Know About, p. 94)
  • Ask questions that elicit a “yes” from the woman in order to close the male buyer. (Shane Decker, p. 92)
  • When retirement is in the near future, start maximizing net profit to build the value of your business. (David Brown, p. 94)
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