06242017Sat
Last updateTue, 20 Jun 2017 6pm
Ellis Jewelers Tim Hiatt credits retail success to his genes

Ellis Jewelers Tim Hiatt credits retail success to his genes

They say you can escape your past but not your gen...

Georgia Jewelers Association announces scholarship winners

Georgia Jewelers Association announces scholarship winners

For the sixth year, Georgia Jewelers Association (...

GIA’s M2M app helps retailers tell a diamond’s story

GIA’s M2M app helps retailers tell a diamond’s story

As the creator of the 4Cs, GIA (Gemological Instit...

Retailer Roundtable: What jewelry trends are you seeing leading up to Vegas?

Retailer Roundtable: What jewelry trends are you seeing leading up to Vegas?

Q: What jewelry trends are you seeing leading up to...

Masters of Marketing - A century of sparkling insight (Part 1)

Masters of Marketing - A century of sparkling insight (Part 1)

Schnack’s Fine Jewelry, Alexandria, LA     

There is ...

Other News

De Beers sends mining ship to explore Namibian coast

De Beers sends mining ship to explore Namibian coast

The $157 million vessel can accommodate a crew of 80 and has a helicopter deck suitable for Sikorsky S61s.

De Beers, the world's No.1 diamond miner by value, unveiled last Thursday the world's largest diamond exploration vessel, which will search for ...

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Industry Events

Charles Stanley and Yancy Weinrich honored at Jewelers for Children Facets of Hope

Charles Stanley and Yancy Weinrich honored at Jewelers for Children Facets of Hope

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers for Children (JFC) held the 19th edition of the Facets of Hope event on June 7, in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. The charity announced that $2.2 million had been raised to support their charity partners in the ...

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On The Move

JA announces 2018 GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement recipient

JA announces 2018 GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement recipient

Sally Morrison of Gemfields to receive the prestigious award

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers of America (JA) and the GEM Awards Committee have announced that Sally Morrison, Director of Sales and Marketing, Americas, of Gemfields, will receive the GEM Award for ...

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What's New

Rembrandt Charms introduces Bridal Party Program

Rembrandt Charms introduces Bridal Party Program

(WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y.) - Rembrandt Charms Bridal Party Expansion Program creates an omni-channel experience for the bridal shopper, and cultivates new and repeat business for the retail jeweler. The Program is a low-cost investment of $170 and can gene...

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Featured Articles

With more growth in the works, LaserStar celebrates 60 years of an evolving, dynamic business

With more growth in the works, LaserStar celebrates 60 years of an evolving, dynamic business

LaserStar Technologies is celebrating 60 years in business the perfect way: The leading manufacturer of jewelry laser systems is doubling the size of its facility in Orlando, FL, putting its Southern operations on par with its flagship facility in Pr...

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Latest News

De Beers sends mining ship to explore Namibian coast

3 DAYS AGO
De Beers sends mining ship to explore Namibian coast

The $157 million vessel can accommodate a crew of 80 and has a helicopter deck suitable for Sikorsky S61s.

De Beers, the world's No.1 diamond miner by value, unveiled last Thursday the world's largest diamond exploration vessel, which will search for the coveted stones on the seabed off the coast of ...

Readmore

Are American malls dead?

3 DAYS AGO
Are American malls dead?

With All the Bankruptcies and Closings, How Will the Mall Survive?

My first retail job in 1983 was at a RadioShack store in a small Indiana town. We had no POS system or any other technology to help us outside of the calculator we used to add up the numbers on the invoices. Our best-selling item was ...

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Charles Stanley and Yancy Weinrich honored at Jewelers for Children Facets of Hope

3 DAYS AGO
Charles Stanley and Yancy Weinrich honored at Jewelers for Children Facets of Hope

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers for Children (JFC) held the 19th edition of the Facets of Hope event on June 7, in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. The charity announced that $2.2 million had been raised to support their charity partners in the year ahead bringing the cumulative total since 199...

Readmore

Registration open for GIA’s New York Jewelry Career Fair

3 DAYS AGO
Registration open for GIA’s New York Jewelry Career Fair

Industry’s largest recruiting event returns to the Javits Center July 24

(NEW YORK) - Recruiters and aspiring job seekers can now register online for GIA’s Jewelry Career Fair to be held in New York on Monday, July 24. The leading gem and jewelry industry recruiting event will feature one-on-one caree...

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JA announces 2018 GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement recipient

10 DAYS AGO
JA announces 2018 GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement recipient

Sally Morrison of Gemfields to receive the prestigious award

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers of America (JA) and the GEM Awards Committee have announced that Sally Morrison, Director of Sales and Marketing, Americas, of Gemfields, will receive the GEM Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 16th annual GEM Awards...

Readmore

Georgia Jewelers Association announces scholarship winners

25 DAYS AGO
Georgia Jewelers Association announces scholarship winners

For the sixth year, Georgia Jewelers Association (GJA) has awarded scholarships to member stores and their employees. Scholarship chair, Jan Fergerson of Ford, Gittings and Kane in Rome, Georgia, announced the winners at the annual GJA Convention held at the Marriott Grand National Resort in Opelika...

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Rembrandt Charms introduces Bridal Party Program

10 DAYS AGO
Rembrandt Charms introduces Bridal Party Program

(WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y.) - Rembrandt Charms Bridal Party Expansion Program creates an omni-channel experience for the bridal shopper, and cultivates new and repeat business for the retail jeweler. The Program is a low-cost investment of $170 and can generate over $1,500 in sales from one wedding party. ...

Readmore

Jayden Star celebrates 10-year anniversary with new product roll-out

23 DAYS AGO
Jayden Star celebrates 10-year anniversary with new product roll-out

(NEW YORK) - Celebrating with style, Jayden Star marks it’s 10-year anniversary with the biggest new product roll-out in company history during the JCK Las Vegas 2017 show. “With wholesale price points from $3 to $300, it’s hard to go wrong,” says Patrick Retzer, VP of Sales for Jayden Star. “All our...

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Furry Friends: Buffy the Shitzu

3 DAYS AGO
Furry Friends: Buffy the Shitzu

Buffy the shitzu recently celebrated her 10-year anniversary at Carl’s Fine Jewelry in Covington, LA. She’s quite stylish and the customers just love her.

Do you have a furry friend that helps out in your store? Tell us about it and send a picture to bill@southernjewelrynews.com.

 

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The Retailer’s Perspective: Location, Location, Location

About 3 years ago I made the biggest decision of my professional life and decided to shut down my retail store - the retail store that I planned on owning for the next 30 years. It had been in that location since 1947 and I was hoping to make it last till 2047. Then the unthinkable happened. It failed. S.L.O.W.L.Y!

There was no warning. No precipitating factor like the factory next door shutting down and laying off my entire customer base. I wasn't doing anything wrong. If anything, I was doing everything right, just like I'd been doing since I opened my first jewelry company in 1983.

I got up every morning and went to work and turned on my OPEN sign and people came in and did business with me. Until my location died.

It was a painful and expensive time (of course that pales in comparison to the last four months of 2008) to go through. Now I've just experienced my second Christmas season in my new location and my 31st as a jeweler. And, yes it was slow, but it wasn't dead. If I'd stayed in my old location the last year and a half, I'm certain I would be bankrupt by now. And I think I've learned some valuable lessons the last couple of years I'd like to share with you.

Moving your business is a lot like moving from one neighborhood to another. Yes, you'll miss your old routine. You'll miss your old friends. You'll miss your house. But most people don't move from their house to one in a really bad part of town that's crime ridden and in decay. Most people move to a better neighborhood with more to offer than their last.

The same is true of moving your business. When I was looking for a new home for my store I wasn't looking in crappy, crime ridden areas. I was only looking in the best areas that offered the most long term growth. It took me almost a year to find my new location. It was kind of like looking for a new house and not liking anything you've seen. Then the perfect house comes on the market, and you know it's perfect because you've seen everything else. Then the move is not so scary. In fact it's exciting. Heck, the hardest part was the decision just to move.

Back when I was going through the process, I talked to lots of other jewelers who were in the same situation I was. Some moved. Some didn't. Those that did move have new stores, new customers, new sales, and a positive outlook. Those that didn't move.. well, their situation hasn't changed.

In my new store, I average about 5 people a day I've never seen in my life coming in for something. Most times it's just a $10 watch battery, but they are in my store.

The hardest part about building a new business is getting people to physically walk through your front door, but once they're in you can do your dog and pony show and make them a long term customer. We all know that word-of-mouth is the best advertising, and I'm averaging 5 new people a day. I'm thrilled. This would have never happened if I hadn't moved.

With the tough economic situation the country is facing, being in a bad location is only going to get worse. I'm glad I made the move because I've at least got a shot at surviving this mess, whereas in my previous location I had no chance.

Oh yeah, one other thing about moving. Just like how you'll miss your friends from your old neighborhood if you sell your house, the neighbors you really liked will still be your friends and you'll still see each other. And the neighbors you didn't like will be out of your life. When you move your business it's a lot of the same. The customers I really liked come see me at my new store. The customers that didn't really like me (or me them) tend to find someone else. There's a few I still can't shake though.

So what's next? Retail is next!

A couple of months ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Brad Lawrence. Brad owns Goldcasters Fine Jewelry in Bloomington, Indiana. If you've never been to Bloomington, it's an hour south of Indianapolis and an hour from any major interstate, and the home of the Indiana University Hoosiers.

A small quaint city in the middle of the country with one incredibly successful jewelry store. I was curious how someone could build a business of that magnitude in an out of the way place like Bloomington, so I went to check it out. Brad gave me a lesson or two on how to run a jewelry store.

First and foremost I learned that Brad was a retailer - not a jeweler. Yes, he's owned a jewelry store for over 25 years and has all the credentials and training available, but he doesn't see himself as a jeweler. He see's himself as a retailer.

Brad told me that most of his peers see themselves as jewelers. The difference is remarkable if you really think about it. Brad doesn't buy something because he likes it. He buys something be cause he thinks he can retail it, not just sell it.

How many of us have tons of dead stock in our cases and dead giftware that we thought was a sure fire seller? Most of us bought it because we liked it and never really thought about retailing it. Yeah, we gave it some thought, but did you really look at it like a retailer?

Ask yourself; Could you pull all of the cases out of your store and fill it with clothes and be successful? Brad Lawrence could. It's not the product you are selling that's important, it's your ability to retail that product.

Everyone reading this just happens to sell jewelry. So tell me, are you a retailer or a jeweler? For the last 30+ years I've answered that question "I'm a jeweler." In 2009 I'm going to become a retailer and damnit, I'm gonna buy a new private jet too - just like Brad!

Brad also made a statement that's stuck in my head: "If you're selling diamonds, you're doing okay in this business. If you're not selling diamonds, you're probably in trouble." That's pretty profound if you really analyze it.

Back in the day before Blue Nile and the Internet. I sold an average of 15-20 big diamonds a year. Considering at the time I was a small retail custom and repair shop, I was selling a big diamond about every 2-3 weeks, so I always had a couple of big sales in the pipeline and made a great living.

I don't think I've sold 20 big diamonds in the last 5 years, so how is Brad doing it and I'm not. It's relatively simple to explain, but it's going to be harder to put my new plan in place, but I'm gonna do it.

When I go back and really analyze those previous diamond sales, I realized I was just lucky. I never had a plan. I had something better - a jewelry store. It was just by default that I ever sold a diamond in the first place. Just pure luck.
I think a lot of jewelry store owners out there fall into this same category. You had a jewelry store and that was the only place to buy a diamond. Where else was someone going to go other than another jewelry store?

It was easy pickins back then. If I missed a sale, I had a couple of others in the works, so no big deal. Now the options are unlimited with the Internet. So since I never really had a plan, I had no ‘Plan B' if something like the Internet happened.
What I'm coming to realize is that the Internet is no different than any other competitor if you're actually in the business of selling diamonds.

There were a lot of stores that got killed when the Internet came along, and a few, like Goldcasters, that didn't. Simply because Brad was in the business of retailing diamonds, not selling diamonds - retailing them.

It took about a week for everything Brad and I talked about to soak into my thick skull, but once it got in there, it stuck. I encourage all the jewelry store owners out there to really think about what Brad has to say because it really works.
That being said, look out world, I'm about to become a retailer. God help the competition and the other airplanes up there!




Chuck is the owner of Anthony Jewelers in Nashville, TN. Chuck also owns CMK Co., a wholesale trade shop that specializes in custom jewelry and repair services to the jewelry industry nationwide. You can contact him at 615-354-6361, www.CMKcompany.com or send e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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