A typical Wednesday afternoon. For many stores, a mid-week lull. But at Bill Warren’s Hudson, NC store (www.hudsongoldmine.com) the warm atmosphere buzzes as throngs of customers circulate, drawn by featured contests and promotions. Here customers are friends, used to dropping by to see what’s new this week, enticed by a Facebook update, newspaper ad or personal phone call.
For Bill Warren jewelry is second nature. “Almost since birth, I’ve been involved in the jewelry business. My great, great grandfather’s farm is where the first emeralds were found at the now famous Hiddenite, NC mine. As a child I loved hunting for gemstones in the surrounding area. I became a goldsmith’s apprentice, later working as a sales associate and manager for a number of area stores. My wife Angie and I opened our store in 1993 and never looked back. Our 16-year-old son Dillon’s moving in our footsteps, learning the family business.”
Bill wears many hats - goldsmith, appraiser, lapidary and watch repairman. But he shines as speaker and consultant for his own marketing company Warren Marketing Systems (www.warrenmarketing.blogspot.com). “About five years ago a number of jewelers and associations heard about the great sales results we were getting at our store by what seemed to be novel methods. So my marketing career was launched. My first seminar was at the NC Jewelers Association Convention at Sunset Beach, NC. I developed a seminar ‘How to Cook With Gas, Take No Prisoners and Build a Winning Jewelry Store.’”
Bill also recently presented his highly successful seminar at the SJTA Atlanta Jewelry Show, Louisiana Jewelers Association, Georgia Jewelers Association, Alabama Jewelers Association and the Southeastern Jewelers Alliance. His columns are now regularly featured here in Southern Jewelry News.
“An offshoot of the seminars has been consulting with other jewelers and helping them maximize their own store traffic and marketing,” says Warren. “I count it a blessing to be able to help other jewelers as I’ve always been grateful to those who’ve been generous of their time to help me, especially early on.”
What are some of his hot marketing tips? “In today’s changing marketplace, standard promotion methods don’t deliver the results they used to. Gone is the day when you could open a jewelry store, run a full page ad and be ‘rich by Saturday.’ My advice? Develop a very strong mailing list and segment it into categories. The old 80/20 rule - 80% of your business comes from 20% of your clients. Focus more on that 20%. Direct mail is still a most viable method of getting clients through your door, especially when it’s based on your in-house mailing list. Remember - these folks are already predisposed to buy from you. It’s actually much easier and more cost effective to market to our own clients rather than constantly recruiting new clients.”
The Gold Mine features bridal, custom and designer jewelry including Jerome Glassman’s pearl jewelry, Cargo Hold’s Southern Gates, Lorenzo’s 18 karat and sterling silver line and the most recent addition - Mia Katrin for Jewel Couture LLC.
“Our average ticket price is once again going up. I’ve tried to quit being all things and instead concentrate on what I do best, playing to strengths and minimizing weaknesses,” Warren said. “We try to make the shopping experience fun with unusual contests and promotions.”
The atmosphere of fun extends beyond the workplace. “My wife Angie and our son Dillon are all musical and we love to sing and perform - from piano and drums to guitar and mandolin. Dillon’s a wonderful Elvis impersonator. We’re also actively involved in our church, Hudson United Methodist, where I serve as a Sunday school teacher and lay minister.”