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On Uninvited Sales Reps, Lab-Grown Diamonds, Vendor Betrayal and More of Your Letters from October

See what our readers had to say this month.

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Hating Drop-Ins

Sales reps showing up at your store without a phone call or email sent announcing their plans to stop by is unacceptable. I have all respect for traveling salesmen, but this method of just dropping in will do nothing but get you sent right out. What would happen if I showed up at one of my customer’s offices unannounced with a briefcase full of merchandise and expected them to stop what they were doing? They would tell me to get out and not come back. There’s no difference. If traveling sales reps want retailers to respect them, then they need to respect retailers. — Marc Majors, Sam L. Majors, Midland, TX

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Podcast: Wisconsin Salesperson Uses Life Savings to Live Her Dream of Jewelry Store Ownership

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Podcast: Making the World a Better Place in Steps Both Big and Small

Podcast: From Tanzanite to Greenland Ruby, Hayley Henning Loves Selling Color
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Podcast: From Tanzanite to Greenland Ruby, Hayley Henning Loves Selling Color

Deep Value Naturally

After recently reading a blog from a well-known lab-grown diamond producer about diamond formation, I would agree about one thing. Given the right conditions and sufficient flux of nutrient carbon, natural occurring diamonds can grow to gemological size in hours or days, faster than the lab processes. They are incorrect to say that natural diamonds grow in hours based on the rates of in-lab growth, because both rely on a sufficient flux of carbon. In the earth’s mantle, carbon is present at part per million levels, and it may take eons for sufficient carbon to diffuse to a site of crystallization to form a natural occurring gemological diamond. — Randy Stricklin, GIA GG, Oklahoma City, OK

Time To Go Solo

After 45 years in the ever-changing jewelry business and after spending the last 25 years running and owning my own store, it’s time to go solo and open a design studio. Thank you for the article in a past issue about others going solo — the timing could not have been better! Looking forward to the next chapter, or should I say, next jewel in my crown! — Frank Salinardi, Linardi’s Jewelers, Plantation, FL

Fuzzy Math

As things have slowed down in a lot of stores, wholesalers are tempted to go direct in the hunt for a retail sale. What they don’t seem to take into consideration is that when a store does business with them, that store represents approximately 30 people who have an interest in their product. So when a vendor bypasses that connection, they might pick up a couple of sales, but in reality they lose that 30 (or more) from the store. — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA

Things Change

I’ve had the great fortune of owning my store for 35 years. Things have constantly changed, but the rate of change accelerated since the advent of the Internet and social media. Thanks for supplying the necessary information to consider ways we can all adapt. Keep encouraging us to excel in all phases of our industry. — Ernie Cummings, Kizer Cummings Jewelers, Lawrence, KS

Be Honest

Synthetic diamonds will surely find their place in the market, as have manmade rubies, emeralds and others. Allowing consumers to have choices is what retailing is about, but the bad actors are going to seize the day and will use this opportunity to cheat honest, hard-working people in all aspects of our industry. — Robert Borneman, Diamond Jewelers, Centereach, NY

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Readers’ Thoughts on America’s Coolest Stores and More Letters to the Editor

Most love it, but one said “cool smool.”

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On “America’s Coolest Stores”

  • Just love seeing the photos and hearing about the originality of each store. It shows that there are so many different ways to run a store. Stay true to yourself and your visions. — Robin Lies, Burnell’s Creative Gold, Wichita, KS
  • Love seeing the Cool Stores for inspiration. — Annette Kinzie, Leonard Jewelry, Stillwater, OK
  • I have two stores in Southern California. I love them both. They are each unique. I would, however, happily trade them both for one really cool store. I’ll keep you posted. — Chad Elliott Coogan, Gems Of La Costa, Carlsbad, CA
  • Jewelry is art. Cool smool. Someone from my small town was in your magazine. Ultimately my box is overflowing year round, so if you’re “cool,” more power to you and I’ll keep truckin’. — Rick Nichols, Nassau Jewelry, Fernandina Beach, FL

Keepin’ It Real

  • Just a quick note to say that I loved your July cover photo! Less about the jewelry the model is wearing, but more about how she looks and is dressed like a regular woman. Well done, INSTORE! — Lisa Malbranck, Diamond Gallery, Winnipeg, MB

Notice Would Be Nice

  • What are we to do when our vendors, many of whom we have worked with for many years, start selling online? Many times without telling us of their plan to do so. Sometimes we find out from customers, or an ad will pop up on Google. — Meg Rankin, J. Rankin Jewellers, Edmonds, WA

Rushing to Read

  • When INSTORE shows up every month, it’s first-come, first-served — everyone reads it front to back. Great publication. I used to be a Brain Squad member and fell off; glad I can get back on! — Tom Nelson, Nelson Jewelry, Spencer, IA

Advice for the Fam

  • I wouldn’t know where to start if it weren’t for your magazine. Now that my son and I have family helpers in the store, I require them to read INSTORE cover-to-cover for planning, preparing and for generating/trying new ideas. Thank you! — Jill Keith, Enchanted Jewelry, Danielson, CT
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On Successful Sale Events and More of Your Letters from August

One reader is looking for good ways to clear out her inventory dawgs.

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On “Best Day Ever”

We enjoyed reading “Best Day Ever.” We used to think that day was ahead of us rather than behind us. With recent things going on, that sadly may not be the case. We hope we are wrong in those future tidings. — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA

It was a good article. The jewelry industry is old and beat up. The article hopefully gives life to those who are ready to throw in the towel. — Christopher Sarich, Noah Gabriel & Co. Jewelers, Wexford, PA

Loving Decker

We love your magazine! July was a good edition. We would like to see more articles by Shane Decker! — Sarah Vatter, Thomas Michaels Designers, Camden, ME

Kickstart My Dawg

With mid-year inventory reviews in the rearview mirror and serious thought going into dumping the underperforming dawgs, I was curious as to the best options other stores have successfully tried? One we recently were batting around was a Facebook auction for those “lazy items.” Who doesn’t love a sale and then frenzied bidding until the buzzer rings? We also considered if the item sold for more than its original retail value (hey, it could happen!), then we could donate the excess. Our customers could choose from the store’s favorite charities. All transactions would be done in the store to avoid those less scrupulous types. Has anyone tried this? Tips, suggestions or cautions? — Denise Oros, Linnea Jewelers, La Grange, IL

Time to Adjust

Online jewelry sales have hurt the brick-and-mortar establishments, but it’s time to move on and adjust to market changes. Nothing can replace quality personal service, and the Internet does not offer face-to-face interaction with a live human being with knowledge and a kind demeanor. — Joe Caron, Caron’s Jewelry, Bristol, RI

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Your Letters On The INSTORE Design Awards, the Return to The Sands, and More

Are retailers obligated to buy things back?

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On The INSTORE Design Awards

  • I was pleased to see our own Wichita lady, Debra Navarro, featured. We carry her work and have done several shows with her, and have been able to see her growth and just the guts and determination it takes to do this. — Robin Lies, Burnell’s Creative Gold, Wichita, KS
  • Loved the men’s jewelry winner [by Tavannes Watch Co.]! I always wanted to have a watch as a belt buckle. What an innovation for men … it will tell you it’s time to eat, but not to eat too much … then you’ll never be able to see what time it is. No big bellies here! — Bruce Goodheart, Goodheart Jewelry, Overland Park, KS
  • Enjoyed looking at the unique pieces of the INSTORE Design Awards. Gives me inspiration and ideas for clients. — Lyla Ismael, Lyla Jewelers, Oak Lawn, IL
  • Amazing to see new jewelry ideas in the INSTORE Design Awards. Such a great issue every year! — Jennifer Farnes, Revolution Jewelry Works, Colorado Springs, CO

You Bought It, You Keep It

Interesting discussions going on about lab-grown diamonds. One of the things talked about is what do you do when the customer brings it back to sell or trade and the prices have dropped on them. I’ve always thought, aside from standard 30-day returns or exchanges offered, why is it that a retail store is obligated in any way to take back merchandise that is used? How is it that somehow consumers feel that they can wear a piece for years and then just sell it back to stores? I realize that some in our industry thrive on buying back, but why should the store do the same when that is not their business model? Always puzzled me. — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA

Brilliant Move

Vegas was a nice boost to remind me how special our industry is. And the move of JCK/LUXURY back to The Sands convention center this year was brilliant. It’s a thousand times better! — Marc Majors, Sam L. Majors, Midland, TX

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