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Sandy Jones jewelry career comes full circle

Sandy Jones jewelry career comes full circle

They say never burn a bridge you may need to cross...

Overnight explains how to say, “Yes!” to every sale

Overnight explains how to say, “Yes!” to every sale

Releases 2 new catalogs  

Being a jewelry retailer h...

Reason to Hope: Jewelry industry steps up to help natural disaster victims

Reason to Hope: Jewelry industry steps up to help natural disaster victims

It’s so easy to get sucked into choosing a side. T...

Other News

The psychology of the allure of gold

The psychology of the allure of gold

When you think of the color gold, images of grandeur and extravagance are likely to come to mind.

For millennia, the metal has adorned crowns and hilts of swords. It has been used to enhance paintings and ornaments to increase their value.

In some cult...

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Industry Events

Initiatives in Art & Culture announces 19th Annual Fashion + Design Conference: “White: Palette, Prism, Possibility”

Initiatives in Art & Culture announces 19th Annual Fashion + Design Conference: “White: Palette, Prism, Possibility”

Conference to be held November 10 & 11, 2017 at CUNY Graduate Center, New York City

Initiatives in Art & Culture (IAC), an organization committed to educating diverse audiences in the fine, decorative, and visual arts, has announced their 19th...

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On The Move

Paul Machiels, owner of Charms Plus, to retire 37-year industry veteran seeking to sell wholesale business

Paul Machiels, owner of Charms Plus, to retire 37-year industry veteran seeking to sell wholesale business

Paul Machiels, who has spent the last 37 years selling jewelry, chains, and charms to retail stores, has announced his retirement. His announcement coincides with his intention to sell JKM Enterprises, parent company of Charms Plus, to interested buy...

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What's New

Merit Diamond introduces MFIT®

Merit Diamond introduces MFIT®

Innovative men’s wedding bands designed with maximum comfort in mind

Merit® Diamond, manufacturers of the popular, luxurious diamond fashion line Sirena®, has developed and tested their supremely comfortable men’s MFIT® wedding band line over the past...

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Featured Articles

Alamea Hawaii’s appeal washes deep into America with elegance & beauty of the sea

Alamea Hawaii’s appeal washes deep into America with elegance & beauty of the sea

One doesn’t have to live in paradise to appreciate and crave a piece of it. With this in mind, Alamea Hawaii brings the beauty of Hawaii and beyond to inner America with elegant and fashionable designs for jewelers and retailers, inspired by the most...

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Latest News

The psychology of the allure of gold

5 DAYS AGO
The psychology of the allure of gold

When you think of the color gold, images of grandeur and extravagance are likely to come to mind.

For millennia, the metal has adorned crowns and hilts of swords. It has been used to enhance paintings and ornaments to increase their value.

In some cultures, gold is a predominant feature of festivals a...

Readmore

Scientists believe cosmic collision reveals origins of gold

5 DAYS AGO
Scientists believe cosmic collision reveals origins of gold

WASHINGTON (AP) — It was a faint signal, but it told of one of the most violent acts in the universe, and it would soon reveal secrets of the cosmos, including how gold was created.

Astronomers around the world reacted to the signal quickly, focusing telescopes located on every continent and even in ...

Readmore

Initiatives in Art & Culture announces 19th Annual Fashion + Design Conference: “White: Palette, Prism, Possibility”

5 DAYS AGO
Initiatives in Art & Culture announces 19th Annual Fashion + Design Conference: “White: Palette, Prism, Possibility”

Conference to be held November 10 & 11, 2017 at CUNY Graduate Center, New York City

Initiatives in Art & Culture (IAC), an organization committed to educating diverse audiences in the fine, decorative, and visual arts, has announced their 19th Annual Fashion + Design Conference will be held N...

Readmore

Andie Weinman sparkles in the City of Gold

12 DAYS AGO
Andie Weinman sparkles in the City of Gold

Preferred Jewelers International CEO shares info on PJI and successful American retail strategies in Dubai

The City of Gold was the international backdrop for the Gemological Science International (GSI) presentation on ‘The Successful American Retail Strategies’ during DMCC Dubai on September 12, 201...

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Paul Machiels, owner of Charms Plus, to retire 37-year industry veteran seeking to sell wholesale business

21 DAYS AGO
Paul Machiels, owner of Charms Plus, to retire 37-year industry veteran seeking to sell wholesale business

Paul Machiels, who has spent the last 37 years selling jewelry, chains, and charms to retail stores, has announced his retirement. His announcement coincides with his intention to sell JKM Enterprises, parent company of Charms Plus, to interested buyers. His book of business continues to be lucrativ...

Readmore

Patrick Retzer joins the Color Merchants/Brevani family as V.P. of Sales

26 DAYS AGO
Patrick Retzer joins the Color Merchants/Brevani family as V.P. of Sales

(NEW YORK) - Brevani, the branded division of Color Merchants Inc. has announced they’ll be bringing on industry veteran Patrick Retzer to head up their sales division and oversee the brands direction.

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Merit Diamond introduces MFIT®

5 DAYS AGO
Merit Diamond introduces MFIT®

Innovative men’s wedding bands designed with maximum comfort in mind

Merit® Diamond, manufacturers of the popular, luxurious diamond fashion line Sirena®, has developed and tested their supremely comfortable men’s MFIT® wedding band line over the past 5 years. The patented brand provides men with “no...

Readmore

GN Diamond offering free Gemprint on all diamonds

12 DAYS AGO
GN Diamond offering free Gemprint on all diamonds

GN Diamond listens to the common pain points experienced by jewelers on a daily basis. Internet shopping is one of the biggest obstacles expressed by the brick and mortar store. By offering added value and annual savings through Gemprint, jewelers are now armed with a point of distinction against th...

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Furry friends on the job: Loki - Kingsbury Designs & Repairs, Clinton, Mississippi

5 DAYS AGO
Furry friends on the job: Loki - Kingsbury Designs & Repairs, Clinton, Mississippi

 

This is Loki. Loki works for David at Kingsbury Designs & Repairs in Clinton, Mississippi. David says Loki was named after the evil brother of Thor, but his customers love him anyway.

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Furry friends on the job: Larry at Douglas Jeweler in Hartford, Wisconsin

12 DAYS AGO
Furry friends on the job: Larry at Douglas Jeweler in Hartford, Wisconsin

Say hello to Larry, the mini golden doodle. Larry loves going to work with his “dad” and “grandpa” at Douglas Jeweler in Hartford, Wisconsin. Larry likes wearing his finest clothes to work and always greets everyone with a tail wag and kisses!

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The Marketing Minute: Trend Spotting

5 DAYS AGO

Marketing specialist George Prout produces a weekly marketing advice video for retail jewelers, The Monday Morning Marketing Minute. He’s generously agreed to let us share them with our eWeekly readers.

 

Click here  to see more of George Prout’s The Marketing Minute

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Marketing Minute: Pricing Strategy

12 DAYS AGO

Marketing specialist George Prout produces a weekly marketing advice video for retail jewelers, The Monday Morning Marketing Minute. He’s generously agreed to let us share them with our eWeekly readers.

 

Click here  to see more of George Prout’s The Marketing Minute

 

 

 

 

 

Readmore

The silver lining to the 2008 holiday season

You've heard the news. You've seen the stats. The 2008 holiday retail season will go down as one of the worst in three decades. With a 2.8% decline in sales, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), retailers across the country suffered through the loss of an astronomical $13 billion.


Jewelry, or luxury items, took an especially hard hit. In October 2008 MasterCard SpendingPulse reported a 20% drop in luxury sales over the previous year before the official holiday season even began. By the first week in December SpendingPulse reported luxury sales dropping a staggering 34.5% from the previous year. It is not surprising that many jewelry retailers reported double-digit declines in post-holiday stats.


But all was not doom and gloom. There were glimmers of hope displayed by some retail jewelers. Several independent retailers reported maintaining or increasing sales for 2008. These so-called ‘anomalies' beg the question... How did they do it?


Here are a few success stories from fellow retailers across the country.


Steve Morris, Helm's Jewelers, Rockingham, NC:
"I am happy to say we were up for December and for year-end 2008. We are in a small community and saw two competitors close their doors. That helped drive a little traffic our way, but I really attribute our increase to aggressive marketing. We knew during a down economy that it was more important than ever to stay in touch with our current customers. We also worked very hard, concentrating on the promotions that had been successful for us in the past. Overall, we feel very blessed. The Lord has been good to us."


Jon Mervis, Mervis Diamonds, Tysons Corner, VA:
"About our holiday sales, we find the best way to understand our numbers is to separate the bridal business from the gift business. Our gift business took a substantial hit, but we were pleasantly surprised that our bridal business remained strong through the holidays. Traditions and human sociology don't change because of a bad economy. With that said, customers are opting for lower price points than in past years. The number of tickets we wrote was consistent with previous years, only the dollar value of each transaction was lower.


"Customers are certainly shopping around more, asking more questions, and really challenging us to be on our game. It's times like these where independents across the country can show their true passion for the business and, I believe, this will be the key to survival. A power-house like Zales might have buying power that we don't, but we have muscles to flex too. We have real people with real knowledge. Customers appreciate that and they prove it with their credit cards."


Rex Solomon, Houston Jewelers, Houston, TX:
"We were up 23% for December 2008 and finished the year up. That's pretty good since we were forced to close for an entire month due to the hurricane. I attribute our success to the daily grass roots marketing program we implemented. We ran an ad in the local paper every day. We hired 14 men and one woman to dress as Santa and stand outside our store along the main street of town. During the holiday season they would sing, dance and wave to people while holding our signs. We hired people throughout the year to dress up in theme according to the holiday and stand outside holding our signs. Our customers love it."

 

So where is jewelry retail now?

Regardless of whether you made money or not, the trend for the season was low price point, and it is likely to remain there for some time. Amazon, which many consider to be the online price point leader, reported their best retail season ever with more than a 17% increase on its busiest day, according to Kristen A. Lee, AP Business writer - an increase which occurred amid a 2.3% drop for online sales in general. Likewise, Wal-Mart was one of the few traditional retailers who saw increased revenue numbers for the holiday season.


With holiday sales typically accounting for 30% - 50% of a retailer's annual total, a large swing one way or the other has tremendous impact on the bottom line. Jewelry retailers whose financial stability was fragile before the holiday season are now at a make or break point for their business.


Although reduced consumer spending accounts for a large portion of the retail recession, banking woes put the nail in the coffin. There is no doubt that the survival rate of smaller retail businesses would have increased if the banking industry had been more stable. With banks reevaluating lines of credit and pulling the purse strings tighter, retailers were faced with smaller lines of credit on top of drastically reduced sales and, in some cases, were forced to make up the difference.

Bob Epstein, with Silverman Consultants out of Charleston, SC, puts it in perspective: "People really need help out there. They are calling us to help them generate extra cash either through liquidation, bankruptcy or clearance sales. Banking concerns are causing loan advancements to tighten. The advance rate has dropped and retailers have less available funds today than they did six months ago. Many of our clients are holding clearance sales to generate cash to put toward those reduced lines of credit."


According to the Jewelers Board of Trade 2008 year end report, retail jewelry bankruptcies increased 21.1% in 2008. Even more indicative of the economic climate is the drastic impact on wholesalers. Wholesale bankruptcies increased by 80%.


"Everyone in the industry is being affected. Manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers are looking to streamline," states Epstein. "Companies with several locations are looking to eliminate the least effective ones. They are identifying the poor performers and even looking at the number of employees they have. People are reacting to the economy."


Despite consumer confidence being at an all-time low, small independent jewelers have an opportunity. At a time when the American people desperately need someone to put their trust in, the small independent jeweler is poised to provide that and then some. They can be the stable, trustworthy entity that is not swayed by economic or political upheaval.


"Mom and Pop stores will survive if they create a niche in their community," states A.G. Becker, owner of Becker Jewelry in Breese, IL. "Local people are looking for jewelers who take pride in what they do and who put their life in their business."


Rex Solomon adds: "Mom and Pop stores will weather this economy better than larger chains because strong independents have a lower cost structure and are more responsive to the market. They have greater flexibility and can buy gold directly from the public. Independents also have wholesalers and manufacturers backing them."


Jewelry may be a luxury item, but it runs close to the heart of everyone. It is tied to emotion and tradition and, at the end of the day, to happiness - and happiness is a necessity.


Columnist