04272017Thu
Last updateTue, 25 Apr 2017 11pm
Retailer Roundtable: What was your most successful Mother’s Day promotion?

Retailer Roundtable: What was your most successful Mother’s Day promotion?

Q: What was your most successful Mother’s Day prom...

GA jeweler fosters, develops jewelry designing talent

GA jeweler fosters, develops jewelry designing talent

When Douglas Meadows was looking to phase out PAND...

Libby Brown named new Executive Director of Atlanta Jewelry Show

Libby Brown named new Executive Director of Atlanta Jewelry Show

Carol Young steps down after 20 years  

(ATLANTA) - T...

Other News

PGI takes a look at breathtaking and iconic platinum engagement rings

PGI takes a look at breathtaking and iconic platinum engagement rings

Royalty and Hollywood celebrities are known for gifting their betrothed with the most opulent and exquisite platinum engagement rings. From Queen Elizabeth’s solitaire diamond to Elizabeth Taylor’s 29.4-carat diamond, these baubles were all set in pl...

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Industry Events

Jewelers for Children to celebrate 5th annual Rings of Strength

Jewelers for Children to celebrate 5th annual Rings of Strength

The fifth edition of the popular Jewelers for Children Rings of Strength will be held on Sunday, June 4, at Mandalay Bay Resort Casino in Las Vegas, NV.  The very popular event includes options for a 5K walk or run, a 50K challenging bike ride in the...

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On The Move

Kim International appoints new Sales Manager for Midwest region

Kim International appoints new Sales Manager for Midwest region

Kim International Manufacturing, L.P. is pleased to announce that Bill Reilly has been appointed as their new Upper-Midwest Region Sales Manager. He will be covering the states of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota. Bill brings 30 plu...

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What's New

Gesswein introduces the PUK4c welder with SM03 Scope

Gesswein introduces the PUK4c welder with SM03 Scope

The PUK4c precision welder is a compact and versatile TIG impulse welder. Fine and minute welds are carried out under a 10x welding microscope (SM03 Microscope). Very close to laser welding, the PUK4c allows the exact positioning of small, stable spo...

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Featured Articles

Stuller, Inc. wraps up annual Bench Jeweler Workshop

Stuller, Inc. wraps up annual Bench Jeweler Workshop

Jyothi Forman walks away with overall win

(LAFAYETTE, La.) - Stuller hosted their annual Bench Jeweler Workshop this past weekend welcoming more than 200 jewelers from across the country to its global headquarters in Lafayette, Louisiana.

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Latest News

PGI takes a look at breathtaking and iconic platinum engagement rings

1 DAY AGO
PGI takes a look at breathtaking and iconic platinum engagement rings

Royalty and Hollywood celebrities are known for gifting their betrothed with the most opulent and exquisite platinum engagement rings. From Queen Elizabeth’s solitaire diamond to Elizabeth Taylor’s 29.4-carat diamond, these baubles were all set in platinum, a highly secure setting for their valuable...

Readmore

Origin of gold stash found in piano remains a mystery

1 DAY AGO
Origin of gold stash found in piano remains a mystery

LONDON (AP) —  British officials say they've been unable to trace the rightful heirs to a trove of gold coins found stashed inside a piano and worth a "life-changing" amount of money.

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Jewelers for Children to celebrate 5th annual Rings of Strength

1 DAY AGO
Jewelers for Children to celebrate 5th annual Rings of Strength

The fifth edition of the popular Jewelers for Children Rings of Strength will be held on Sunday, June 4, at Mandalay Bay Resort Casino in Las Vegas, NV.  The very popular event includes options for a 5K walk or run, a 50K challenging bike ride in the scenic foothills of Red Rock Valley, or a street ...

Readmore

New jewelry show planned for Midwest

15 DAYS AGO
New jewelry show planned for Midwest

New Horizons Jewelry Show to be held August 19-21

Jewelry manufacturers, retailers and other industry professionals will come together for the launch of a new event this August in Columbus, Ohio. “The New Horizons Jewelry Show is the only show serving the Midwest and will feature more than 250 booths...

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Kim International appoints new Sales Manager for Midwest region

1 DAY AGO
Kim International appoints new Sales Manager for Midwest region

Kim International Manufacturing, L.P. is pleased to announce that Bill Reilly has been appointed as their new Upper-Midwest Region Sales Manager. He will be covering the states of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota. Bill brings 30 plus years of experience calling on the independent j...

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Jewelers of America expands IDEX partnership

8 DAYS AGO
Jewelers of America expands IDEX partnership

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers of America (JA), the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace, has expanded its partnership with IDEX, the International Diamond Exchange.

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Gesswein introduces the PUK4c welder with SM03 Scope

1 DAY AGO
Gesswein introduces the PUK4c welder with SM03 Scope

The PUK4c precision welder is a compact and versatile TIG impulse welder. Fine and minute welds are carried out under a 10x welding microscope (SM03 Microscope). Very close to laser welding, the PUK4c allows the exact positioning of small, stable spot-welds or welds in hard-to-get-to or deep lying p...

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Ed Levin Jewelry introduces Summer Dance Collection

1 DAY AGO
Ed Levin Jewelry introduces Summer Dance Collection

(CAMBRIDGE, N.Y.) - Ed Levin Jewelry, shaping American design since 1950®, invites you to get in a summer mood with Summer Dance, Ed Levin Jewelry’s latest collection of new designs.

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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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