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Retailer Roundtable: At mid-year, how has 2016 been so far and what’s ahead?

At mid-year, how has 2016 been so far and what’s ahead?

“So far 2016 has been very strong for us. I’m very happy how things are going with our strongest sales in bridal jewelry and custom. Bridal got a significant boost when we began advertising long-term financing for bridal jewelry. The campaign officially started in the fourth quarter of 2015, and we’ve been continuing that advertising message and methods this year with big results. Younger people don’t look at a lump sum and wonder if they can afford it. For them, they look at what a major purchase like an engagement ring will cost them in terms of monthly payments. Halo rings, especially those in more delicate designs, are still performing well for us and white metals are still strong. Our average diamond purchases range from three-quarters of a carat to one-carat. Most of that is in round brilliants and princess cuts to a lesser extent. We’re also doing well in custom work with Stuller’s CounterSketch and another vendor that is helping to create CAD renderings for customers. Also, we installed our Engagement Ring Rec Center, a standalone table with about 200 ring styles, secured to the custom-made case but still gives bridal customers the flexibility to try rings on. We sell a lot from this case. For the rest of 2016, we’re going to keep advancing the long-term financing message and add a couple of bridal events in the fall to keep up our momentum. I’m very optimistic for 2016.”

Not all was lost in the fire

Namano salvages jewelry (and memories) scorched in house fire

There are over three hundred house fires each month in the state of Georgia alone. That’s a pretty mind-boggling number; multiply it nationally and the results are staggering: thousands and thousands of house fires in the U. S. every year, causing nearly seven billion dollars worth of property damage. At work recently I saw another side of the story firsthand in the aftermath of a house fire that destroyed the home of a longtime Namano customer.

Hale’s Jewelers looks back on 160 years of business

Hales 1915 Juneentrepreneur: a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money (Merriam-Webster)

It all starts there - with one person ‘willing to risk loss in order to make money.’ Sounds a little like gambling to me, but then starting a business isn’t for the faint of heart. 

Small business has been the mainstay of the American economy since colonial times. Even Thomas Jefferson, according to Professor Robert Wright of Augustana University in South Dakota, was “constantly talking about the yeoman farmers and how they were the backbone of the economy.” Today the importance of small business is the only topic every presidential candidate agrees on.

Simply Diamonds collaborates with Disney to offer sparkling Enchanted Disney Fine Jewelry line

SImply neckSimply Diamonds finds itself enchanted indeed to be working with Disney to create a stunning and extensive line of fine diamond jewelry. The New York-based company will make fashion, gemstone and bridal jewelry inspired by the iconic Disney Princess characters: Belle, Cinderella and Snow White. Simply Diamonds also has been granted the right to manufacture product featuring Elsa from Disney’s “Frozen” and “Tinker Bell”. Shipments of Enchanted Disney Fine Jewelry have begun making their way to independent jewelry stores across the country.

Drive-through jewelry store?

With no serious injuries and a great attitude, owner can laugh

Mccarty car intMcCarty’s Diamonds & Fine Jewelry owner Bob McCarty was at home eating breakfast, looking forward to a routine day at his Evansville, Ind., store in late April when he got a jolting text from a friend.

“He asked me if I was OK, and I said what do you mean? He said I just went by your store and there’s a car in your store! You’d better get there! The police and everyone are trying to get ahold of you. About that time my sister called and said, ‘There’s a car in your building and it’s on fire!’

Retailer Roundtable: Do you sell or plan to sell lab-grown diamonds in your store?

Q: Do you sell or plan to sell lab-grown diamonds in your store?

“This is a hot topic which was addressed in part at the recent AGS Conclave. Right now, we’re seeing the slight opening of the Pandora’s Box. The industry first saw the commoditization of diamonds with price controls and price listings. Now we have lab-grown diamonds. The GIA recently stated, in some recent batch testing of natural diamond melee parcels, some were showing a mixture of about 1 percent being lab grown. People may not be doing this purposely, but it is happening in the supply chain. And, when jewelers melt down scrap jewelry and float the stones and then re-purpose them, there are no checks and balances regarding how these [melee synthetics] go back into the system [supply chain]. I have sold synthetic diamonds in the past, but do not carry them as part of my inventory. In our market there are lots of advertisements for synthetic diamonds, so it’s a necessary evil we’ll have to deal with as customers that request them are shopping with cost savings as a motivating factor. To me the cost saving between a customer buying a synthetic diamond vs. a mined diamond is very similar to selling them a clarity-enhanced mined diamond to non-clarity-enhanced mined diamond. The savings to the customer is about the same. Do we try to dissuade people from buying a synthetic or clarity-enhanced diamond, no. But the retailer and his staff should present all options to the customer to honor their requests for such a product or to be in line with their budget.”

Retailer Roundtable: What was your best store promotion?

Q: What was your best store promotion?

“For a number of years we’ve held a VIP event and an 11-Hour Sale usually scheduled after Thanksgiving Day and before early December. The VIP event is like a customer appreciation event in that we cater to our top customers with an invite-only party. The two events run over three days from Thursday to Saturday. On the Thursday of the scheduled weekend we close the store all day and open our doors for the evening event. We want it to be an exclusive event with special pricing, swag bags, serving drinks and hors d’oeuvres, and even have some giveaways for added fun. Although it’s a VIP event, if people walk in during the event, of course they’re welcome. On Friday we host our 11-Hour sales event. This day is open to the public and has been heavily advertised throughout all forms of media. Friday is an easy set up considering we spent the entire day prior posting signs in cases, individually marking jewelry down, and preparing for the VIP event. As a surprise to the public and our customers we extend the event through Saturday for any last minute sales or customers who may have missed our event. We don’t advertise the Saturday portion of the two-day event until Saturday morning through different forms of social media, and always honor the discounts that day. After 10-plus years, the event has gotten bigger and better. People ask about and anticipate the event. Some may not buy over the course of the three days, but for those we add items to wish lists or plant seeds for future sales.”