It’s been only 18 months since the doors to Heidi’s Fine Jewelry opened for business in
“We take part in our customers’ lives. It is the only way to set ourselves apart,” states Heidi. “It is so important for me to get to know my customers. I know them by name. I know their kids and their parents and I know who’s been sick and whether their son has a big ball game coming up. Establishing relationships is more important than making a sale.”
It’s kind of a novel idea, this putting relationship over profit. But, it is the one thing that sets small, independents apart from their competition. Being able to provide top quality products and custom designs in a warm, cozy atmosphere where ‘everyone knows your name’ may be the perfect recipe for success.
Take a recent client of Heidi’s. She walked in with a tattered, broken old silver snake ring desperately searching for someone to repair it. She cited that another jeweler who’d repaired it many times before was refusing to fix it again. The woman then recounted countless stories of how the ring had been lost numerous times, sometimes even for months, only to be unearthed (literally), repaired and returned to her grandson who received the ring as a gift from his grandmother when he was only five.
As the lady stood in front of Heidi telling her story, her love for this piece of jewelry and what it represented touched Heidi’s heart. Heidi knew it was much more than just a silver ring. This piece of jewelry represented the bond between grandparent and grandchild and she felt that she “couldn’t refuse to help her.”
“I knew I couldn’t repair the broken ring either, but I knew I could replicate it,” recalls Heidi. “That’s when I took the old one and worked on creating a brand new silver snake ring exactly like the original for this lady to give to her now college-aged grandson.”
Becoming caught up in this customer’s passion led Heidi to do more than just re-create a special ring. As her mind continued to mull over the sentiment and amazing journey this ring had been on, she realized just how significant it was to this woman and her grandson. She came up with the idea that the old ring could be put in a shadow box to preserve the story and significance of the ring.
When the grandmother picked up the new ring she was in for a surprise. Not only was she extremely pleased with the new replica, but Heidi surprised her with a shadow box containing the old ring. The woman was amazed. Heidi had truly captured why the ring was important and had become a participant in their family’s story.
“Getting caught up in a customer’s passion is incredible. Nothing made me happier than to do this for this family free of charge, and it made them so happy. I feel as though I really didn’t do that much.”
Learning to step aside from her own tastes and ideas about what is significant has been one of the best lessons for Heidi. Really understanding that what is important to the jeweler may not be what is important to the customer had been the dividing factor between Heidi’s store and her competitors.
“We actually take part in our customers’ lives and I love it. This is my passion. How many people are really excited about going to work? We really want to come to work.”
And what goes around comes around. Since Heidi completed the replica snake ring and shadow box she has had three more requests for snake rings. And, her design talent allows her to make each one different ensuring the wearers that their piece is unique.
So let the economic downturn continue and unemployment rise; Heidi is building her business one relationship at a time by actively participating in the lives of her customers. It’s what makes her sleep well at night.
Be sure to say hello to Heidi or Talace Brown, her store manager, by visiting her website at www.heidisfinejewelry.com or giving her a call at 334-239-7700.