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Your Letters on Retirement and Changes in the Jewelry Industry

Here are your letters-to-the-editor for this month.

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On Retirement

I wish all retirees well and I hope this industry gets strong and hopeful again! — Stacey S. Sachs, Solomon’s Fine Jewelry & Watch, Albertson, NY

It was actually kind of nice to know that after a long time of working in the business, we’re not the only ones thinking of bailing. The last few years have been tough, and if this year isn’t much better, we may be following in those footsteps. — Wadeana Beveridge, Community Jewelry Inc., Brandon, FL

Retirement is a sad, sorry dilemma for many. — Eileen Eichhorn, Eichhorn Jewelry, Decatur, IN

It is so sad that the general public, me included, has shifted to the convenience of online shopping. I’ve had my first challenge against Costco for a 3-carat stone. The point is, many older jewelers are not equipped to attack the learning curve for online shopping. Second, many don’t have a willing family member to inherit or purchase their businesses. So they are leaving the industry. I am grateful for my crazy MacGyver gold skills that have created many a valuable repair, restoration or remodel. But in this day and age, that begs the question of how many young entrepreneurs are that hungry, fearless and not intimidated by the risk/reward of our industry to pick up the void these retirees are creating? — Denise Oros, Linnea Jewelers, La Grange, IL

I think kids see how stressful the jewelry biz is and are smart enough to not want to follow in our steps! Ha! My 11 year-old does not want to be a jeweler. I, however, am second-generation. — Julie Terwilliger, Wexford Jewelers, Cadillac, MI

Trust Earned

We have a lot of people come in for the first time who say, “We trust you.” It’s strange when it’s first-time customers, but I think people are drawn to mom-and-pop stores that have been in business a long time. We work hard to keep our reputation stellar, and it shows in the trust our customers have in us. — Chay Rees Runnels, Rees Jewelry, Nacogdoches, TX

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Change Happens

I think the jewelry industry is a direct reflection of society and businesses in general. Change happens everywhere. Just because there are fewer stores, it doesn’t mean that the industry is in peril. It’s just an ongoing transition and adaptation. — Jon Walp, Long Jewelers, Virginia Beach, VA

Warning To Disloyal Vendors

It’s amazing to me that as foot traffic and volume have gone down for some longstanding stores that may be thinking about retirement, there are some vendors, — even some on the INSTORE list of top vendors — who are willing to throw their accounts out the door. Just when some stores could use a little support, they get thrown under the bus. My comment to those vendors is, “Success leads to arrogance and arrogance leads to failure!” — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA

Over the years, INSTORE has won 76 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at editor@instoremag.com.

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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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Readers Sound Off On E-Commerce, Signet and Millennials

There’s hope in the form of Generation Z.

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Forward Revolution

The jewelry industry is undergoing significant changes because the concept of jewelry has changed. The very high-end luxury goods markets seem to be holding, but the squeezing of the middle class has changed disposable income. Who is buying the jewelry has changed as well. Self-purchasers prevail in this era of self (and selfie) celebration. These factors have evolved my purchasing and merchandising strategies. A pared-down inventory with only essential quick-sellers in understock coupled with targeted memo support is the new reality today for profitability. For their support, vendors must be viewed and treated as true business partners, not simply suppliers. This wasn’t how we did things in the past, but it has been instrumental in not just surviving but thriving. You adapt or die.

Podcast: A Flash of Cash and Other Meditations on the Value of Jewelry
Over the Counter

Podcast: A Flash of Cash and Other Meditations on the Value of Jewelry

Podcast: Craig Husar Discusses His Career, and His Spectacular New Store, on ‘The Barb Wire’
The Barb Wire

Podcast: Craig Husar Discusses His Career, and His Spectacular New Store, on ‘The Barb Wire’

Podcast: Make Sure You Open the Dang Box
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Podcast: Make Sure You Open the Dang Box

E-commerce alone does not bring enough people through your door. We have found a way to give our clients the opportunity to do research on our website, narrow their selection and then come into our store for the final decision and purchase. We do this via our partnership with Stuller and the free addition of their online selling platform, which includes a cart system. It’s an easy addition to any website, it drives traffic to the store and it increases our online presence. — Jessica Rossomme, Mucklow’s Fine Jewelry, Peachtree City, GA

E-Futility

I have two stores; both have excellent web presence, nice SEOs, solid cost-per-click campaigns, display ad campaigns, and a nice social media following. Our websites show our inventory, which can be purchased online. We have included the e-commerce option in all of our advertising and marketing and even coded the site to offer sale discounts during events and holidays. All of this has been in place for six-plus months, and we are still yet to sell a single piece through the site. How about that! — Chad Elliott Coogan, Gems of La Costa, Carlsbad, CA

Hard to Keep Up

Trying to stay ahead of the many changes Google, Instagram and Facebook make after we have somewhat mastered their previous algorithms is a career in itself! Wish there were some Cliff Notes for us retailers! — Susan Eisen, Susan Eisen Fine Jewelry & Watches, El Paso, TX

Signet Silence

Why are we not talking about Signet and sexual assault? Talk about taking the glamour out of jewelry — or is this entire industry tone-deaf? — Alan Lindsay, Henry’s, Cape May, NJ

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Letters from Readers on Failure, Trade Shows and More

One reader advises making up for lost sales online with higher repair prices.

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On “The Failure Issue”

Chris Burslem’s article [“Epic Fail”] gives you a definite perspective. We’re all trying to become better jewelers. Sometimes having to throw the dice really works. — Bruce Goodheart, Burnells Creative Gold, Wichita, KS

It’s sitting right next to me here on my nightstand. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m looking forward to it. Though I’ve had so many epic fails over the past seven years that the lead story title is making my PTSD flare up and giving me little panic attacks. I’m laughing as I write this, but I’m actually serious. — Andrea Riso, Talisman Collection, El Dorado Hills, CA

Making Up for Lost Profits

I feel our industry should wake up and realize that the Internet is here to stay, and it is just another progression in how the customer prefers to shop. We used to have corner grocery stores and then supermarkets — now we just place an order and drive up for pickup or have them delivered.

Jewelry stores that offer sizing and jewelry repair need to recognize that this is a service that cannot be performed online (but that day may soon come). This is an extra value to the customer who buys online, and if we don’t make profit on the sale of an item, we should consider making up the difference on this value we bring to the customer along with the trust we can instill. I have been using David Geller’s Blue Book for quite some time and have had very few objections to his prices, including when I charge more because folks mention they bought online. — Bill Brundage, Bill Brundage Jewelers, Louisville, KY

Now’s the Time

The greatest time to grow is when everyone else is stagnant because they are worried about the economy. — Bill Jones, Sissy’s Log Cabin, Little Rock, AR

High Cost of Attendance

It was interesting to see that at Baselworld, the big news was the high cost of either going or exhibiting. With the Vegas show coming up and the ridiculous costs involved in attending, will people label the costs as “just not worth it”? — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA

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