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Commentary: The Business

Travis Piper: Harvest Time



It’s the season to buckle down and reap
the rewards of what we’ve sown.

My store is located in an agricultural community located in southern Indiana. We are surrounded by corn, wheat and watermelon fields.

I feel as though the work of an independent retail jeweler is similar to that of a farmer in one major aspect: Our Christmas selling season. For 11 months of the year, we get to enjoy life and do business on our own terms. But for a one-month stretch from late November through Christmas, we must buckle down and do our own “harvest time.”

This isn’t a time for whining, complaining or laziness but rather a time to work hard and reap the rewards of your business.

Here are the strategies I use during the “harvest season” to keep my mindset positive:



It is important for my family to know that they come before everything else. That said, it doesn’t mean that this is a time for me to relax with them every night watching Christmas movies and making sugar cookies.

Putting my family first means that they understand that Daddy has to work his tail off in order for our store to be successful during the last month of the year.

My wife and I keep a pretty good calendar and try to do things like our kids’ Christmas shopping in early November to free up my time in December. When I’m doing seven days a week (split between the bench and floor), and we are in the last week of the season, it does become tiring, but knowing that I schedule the rest of my year around my family means I get the next 11 months to enjoy with them! (Yes, my store is open only Monday-Friday and closed on the weekends, which allows me the time to focus on being a dad and husband.)


Although it may be hectic and feel like retail madness in your store at times, you must smile and be kind to everyone. Remember that you are dealing with hundreds of people each day and that each one of those people is dealing with you only once, so make sure to give them the best impression of you and the brand/store you represent!



As small as it sounds, make sure to say thank you to each one of your employees at the end of every shift. I always try to thank my employees at the end of each day, but during the Christmas season, I find it much more important because they are trading their valuable holiday time to work in my store. A simple thank-you speaks volumes and will result in more positive employees, which in turn means more positive energy within your store and more sales.


Give your team (and yourself) more than just Christmas Day off. Try giving them off the 26th and 27th, if that’s possible. If you can schedule a small vacation or trip right after Christmas, go for it if it fits into your schedule. Knowing that you have time off at the end of the season will surely keep you in the right mindset during the retail madness.


And finally, if you ever start to feel down during the season, just remember that on Dec. 25 (as long as you were properly prepared), you should have the biggest gift of all: a healthy bank account!


TRAVIS PIPER is the owner of Piper Diamond Co. / Custom Jewelry Studio in Vincennes, IN.

This article originally appeared in the December 2014 edition of INSTORE.



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