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Editor's Note

Why Custom Is King … And What You Should Do About It

Many jewelry clients are choosing custom design as a means of self-expression.



IF YOU’RE NOT part of our Brain Squad survey group, you should really join. That way, you could see all of the responses that we can’t fit into the magazine. One of the most useful features is Hot Sellers, in which we ask readers to tell us what products sold best the previous month. Without fail, one of the top responses given is “custom design!”

I’m not sure how many realize just how popular custom design has become over the past five years. That’s because one of the primary motivations — if not the primary motivation — of jewelry consumers today is self-expression.

They don’t want their jewelry to look like everyone else’s. They want theirs to look like them.


Which is why I’ve been looking forward to this issue’s lead story, “Crafting the Custom Sale,” for a long time. In it, we take you through each step of the custom sale with advice and tips on everything from marketing to closing. And we dive into one of the most important expansion areas for custom today: the virtual sale.

Of course, the biggest trade event for sourcing gemstones for custom and other jewelry is happening in Tucson as I write this. It’s my understanding that while attendance may be somewhat lower due to COVID, buying remains strong.

The future continues to look very bright for custom design. If you don’t already offer it, now’s the time to get on board. And if you’re not part of our Brain Squad, join today at!

Why Custom Is King … And What You Should Do About It

Trace Shelton

Editor-in-Chief, INSTORE

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

  • Treat Mother’s Day like a serious shopping holiday and get the word out about your special offers. (Manager’s To-Do, p. 26)
  • Ship wax models for free to long-distance custom design clients … as many times as it takes. (The Big Story, p. 38)
  • Refer to the diamond as “your diamond” in sales presentations to transfer ownership to the client. (Aleah Arundale, p. 62)
  • Use Instagram’s scroll-down menu to consider new hashtags to try out with your posts. (Amber Bartolet, p. 60)
  • Instead of fighting bad habits, start new ones instead to replace them. (Ask INSTORE, p. 67)

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



When There’s No Succession Plan, Call Wilkerson

Bob Wesley, owner of Robert C. Wesley Jewelers in Scottsdale, Ariz., was a third-generation jeweler. When it was time to enjoy life on the other side of the counter, he weighed his options. His lease was nearing renewal time and with no succession plan, he decided it was time to call Wilkerson. There was plenty of inventory to sell and at first, says Wesley, he thought he might try to manage a sale himself. But he’s glad he didn’t. “There’s no way I could have done this as well as Wilkerson,” he says. Wilkerson took responsibility for the entire event, with every detail — from advertising to accounting — done, dusted and managed by the Wilkerson team. “It’s the complete package,” he says of the Wilkerson method of helping jewelers to easily go on to the next phase of their lives. “There’s no way any retailer can duplicate what they’ve done.”

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