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Welcome to ‘Engagement Season,’ When Nearly 40% of Marriage Proposals Happen

WeddingWire surveyed 18,000 U.S. newlyweds.

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WELCOME TO “ENGAGEMENT SEASON,” the magical time between Thanksgiving Day and Valentine’s Day when nearly 40 percent of all marriage proposals take place.

According to WeddingWire’s 2018 Newlywed Report, Christmas Day is the most popular day of the year to pop the question, followed by Valentine’s Day, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve.

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Interestingly, the WeddingWire survey of 18,000 U.S. newlyweds married in 2017 reveals a dramatic spike in proposals during the month of December. Throughout the rest of the year, the distribution of proposals during each month ranges from 7% to 9%. But, in December, that number rises to 16%.

Experts believe that the winter engagement phenomenon is attributed to two factors: the romantic nature of the season… and convenience. Suitors likely choose December to pop the question because they love the spirit of the holiday season. And, certainly, there’s no better time to propose than when all the family is in town to celebrate with the newly engaged couple.

Here’s a review of the Top 10 days of the year to get engaged, according to WeddingWire’s 2018 Newlywed Report:

1. Christmas Day. It’s the biggest day of the year for gift-giving, so it makes perfect sense that this, too, would be the biggest day to give the ultimate gift — a diamond engagement ring.

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2. Valentine’s Day. Cupid’s special day is all about love and expressing to that special someone just how much you care. Instead of delivering a bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolate, millions of romantic suitors opt for a proposal and a ring.

3. Christmas Eve. For the families who prefer to exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, this is the perfect time to add to the joyful holiday spirit by popping the question.

4. and 5. New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve. We can’t imagine a better way to celebrate the New Year than with a surprise marriage proposal as the clock ticks down and 2018 makes way for 2019. Technically, if she says “Yes” before midnight, the engagement took place on New Year’s Eve, but if she says “Yes” after midnight, the engagement is credited to New Year’s Day.

6. December 23rd (Day Before Christmas Eve). In the same survey last year, 12/23 rated #9. We’re guessing that the ascent to #6 reflects more newly engaged couples choosing to get a jump on the holiday and avoiding Christmas Eve distractions that might take the focus off the bride and groom-to-be.

7. Two Saturdays Before Christmas Eve. It’s one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Might it be possible that the couples are out together, looking at engagement rings, making a selection and proposing on the spot?

8. Fourth of July (Independence Day). One of only two dates in the Top 10 that is outside the traditional “engagement season,” the Fourth of July — with festive fireworks and some time off from work — makes for a memorable day to pop the question.

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9. Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend. This day marks the official start of summer and a perfect day to propose. A Saturday engagement allows the couple to extend the celebration with family and friends over the long weekend.

10. Saturday Before Valentine’s Day. New to the WeddingWire Top 10, the Saturday before Valentine’s Day may reflect the couple’s desire to celebrate their engagement over a weekend and not necessarily on Valentine’s Day, which often comes up during the week (in 2018, February 14 was on a Wednesday) and is certainly not a day when most people have off. Popping the question on the weekend prior to Valentine’s Day also preserves the element of surprise.

Howard Cohen is the Shoreham, NY-based editor of The Jeweler Blog, a daily blog ghost-written for retail jewelers. Cohen, a long-time industry veteran, is dedicated to making social media tasks simple and affordable for every jeweler. For more information, visit thejewelerblog.com or contact Cohen at 631-821- 8867, hscohen60@gmail.com. Websites: thejewelerblog.com, thejewelerblog.wordpress.com.

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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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Commentary: The Business

Raw Gems Hold the Key To Unlocking the Imagination

Learn to sell jewelry as the powerful talisman it always has been.

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WHY DO WE, HUMANS, have such a thing as jewelry?

I don’t think it was intended to mark status originally, back when we were walking around naked and hunting bears and living in caves. I think, on the contrary, it was because of the unforgettable experience of suddenly coming face to face with something amazing, a small thing that shimmered, so unlike anything else in your life, so special, that from that moment on, you knew your life was changed forever.

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You held onto that gem, or pearl, or gold crystal, and knew you had to hold onto it, no matter what. But how? You had no pockets, you wore leaves, or maybe nothing! So you had to figure out some way of drilling it, or wrapping it, and, inevitably, hung it about your neck. In every culture, the first jewelry is always a pendant, one thing protected. When you have something around your neck, you are going to fondle it, and soon you become very attached to it; maybe it will protect you and become your secret power. And that, which I call Transcendence, is why we have such a thing as jewelry!

So when your customer moans, “My daughter does not even like jewelry!” smile and resolve to bring back the magic. In a corner of my gallery, there is a partially enclosed space called the Gem Room with drawers of tourmalines, amethysts and colored sapphires and such, and I enjoy inviting people in to discuss custom work.

But when I see a young adult coming in, quick, before they whip out their electronics, I challenge them: “You look like someone who would like raw gems! Let me show you something unusual!” and I whisk them away to the Gem Room (while the parent goes about their business). I place in their hand a large raw lapis, full of pyrite stars, a piece of opal rough with a shimmering stripe in one corner, or a huge slice of watermelon tourmaline. A transformation! They are now alive.

Then you say “Wouldn’t this be right for Game Of Thrones (or a warrior in Wakanda)?” Then tell them where it came from, how hard it is to find and ask them, yes, to imagine themselves as a prehistoric human walking out of a cave, suddenly finding something amazing like this: wouldn’t they want to somehow keep it? But they have no pockets, they’d have to find a way to drill it, wrap it, maybe, and that is how jewelry comes into being. Then you walk away and let them play for a while.

You know that now they get it.

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Columns

How to Handle Negative Online Reviews

Taking a day or two to cool off is the first step.

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THERE’S A LOT TO be said for taking the initiative to run a business; do the best job you can do, keep employees happy, keep clients happy, perform good work, be honest, all while trying to turn a profit. Inevitably, no matter how kind, humble, honest, and hard-working you are, someone is going to spoil the soup. Everyone has an opinion, everyone is an expert, and now the clients who don’t get their way or aren’t completely satisfied have a plethora of ways to tell the world and troll your business.

It stinks. For all the expletives I have muttered to myself when a less-than-shining online review happens, I will keep it relatively “clean” for this article by saying it stinks like a fresh turd on a hot sidewalk in the middle of a muggy summer. It ruins your day by upsetting your stomach and putting you in a downright foul mood.

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That feeling is not the one you should be harnessing when you write your reply. Like it or not, anyone under the age of 50 looks at reviews when seeking new businesses to work with. More particularly, they scan past the shining reviews to find the dirty laundry to see how badly things can go wrong when they do. Like a bad wreck on the highway — show me the carnage!

When it comes to reviews, I am not of the “roll over and take it apologetically” crew, nor am I of the “give ‘em hell” team. Let a negative review simmer for a day or two while you come down from the adrenaline of seeing red (“How dare they?!?!”) and don’t post a reply until you’ve had extra eyes on what you are saying. Ask an employee, friend, or colleague to look at your reply from the outside.

Remember that a review comes from that person’s point of view. There are many sides to a story. In extreme situations of riots, attacks, and politics, different media outlets will show different perspectives (often skewed). Bad reviews may seem skewed, but for the individual, it is their truth. They felt compelled to say something because the situation made them feel something.

Never post a canned response on a bad review. Readers see generic responses as an uninvolved robot behind the scenes just placating the reviewer. It feels like a cover-up.

Never post a defensive rant! Factual key points are all you need to speak your piece. It’s better if you apologize and accept that you and your team aren’t perfect; we’re all human.

Finally, accept that some people are trolls and you cannot make them happy. It’s OK in those circumstances to call them out. I have publicly responded to an unreasonable review (backed up with facts), noting that the request for a free repair on an item we didn’t sell was irrational, and telling the world the reviewer is not welcome to return to my studio. That particular response has brought in several new clients who got a good laugh and subsequently left positive reviews when they met our team. They love that we are as real in-person as we are online.

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Shane Decker

Here’s the Most Important Area To Invest In As a Store Owner

You’re only as good as your people.

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RETAIL STORE OWNERS ARE having a difficult time holding onto their people. Right now, about half of all sales teams change every three years, and every seven years there is a total team change (with the exception of one or two “loyalists” in each store).

What’s the solution? Training. When salespeople have more knowledge, they close more sales and make more money. And as long as they’re making money, they’re far less likely to leave you.

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Training involves several areas, but one of the most fundamental is product knowledge. Your customers are more educated than ever before — and millennials are taking this to a whole new level. They do more research and know more about the product they’re purchasing than most salespeople do.

That’s why all salespeople, especially in bridal and diamonds, should take GIA Diamonds 1 and 2 and Diamond Grading. To some of you, this seems elementary, but I see so many salespeople who haven’t done this.

Salespeople who don’t have product knowledge talk too much to make up for their lack of knowledge. When you talk too much, you can talk right past the closing opportunity. Talking too much also takes the client’s attention away from the item being sold, and it takes attention away from the reason he or she came into your store in the first place.

Product knowledge gives you self-confidence and empowers you. When you have self-confidence, the client will have confidence in you. They won’t have as many objections. Your closing ratio will go up because clients can tell that you know what you’re talking about. They will trust you to help them make a decision.

Owners and managers: hold a one-hour sales meeting each week. Spend 20 minutes on product knowledge, 20 minutes on salesmanship, and 20 minutes on role-playing. When your sales team is well-trained, you’ll have more time to work on your business and you’ll be interrupted less often to help people close sales.

You’re only as good as the people you train. Your team controls how much money you make. And it’s amazing how many salespeople in jewelry stores do not know what they’re doing.

When salespeople are empowered with knowledge, they’re happier and more successful. Teamwork is better because they trust each other’s sales skills.

If you want a higher inventory turn, a higher closing ratio, and more net profit, start training your team. The more knowledgeable they are, the more valuable they feel and the longer they will stay. You invest money in buildings and marketing — start investing in your most valuable asset: your people.

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