One of the questions I hear most often from retailers is, “What have you learned as a result of seeing so many stores and talking to so many store owners?” For me, the biggest lesson is that no matter how successful the store, there is almost always a blind spot – that is, an area of potential growth or improvement that the owner is just not seeing.
A swimming pool installer in Virginia found himself in a bind after the crash in 2008: No one was buying pools, his company’s income stream dried up (sorry, couldn’t help myself), and he needed to cut expenses. So, he looked at the $250,000 a year he was spending on traditional marketing and turned to the Internet ... to begin answering questions.
When I first found out almost two years ago that two of my favorite books “The Great Gatsby” and “Anna Karenina” were being made into new films, (I had seen the original movies as well), I was more than a little excited. When I found out that Tiffany & Co was doing the jewelry for “The Great Gatsby” and Chanel for “Anna Karenina” –I knew that I would be in heaven.
I first met Colin Cowie last week at a jewelry media preview in New York City, hosted by Platinum Guild International USA (PGI-USA). We’d spoken briefly on the phone about ten years ago when I was researching an article, but I didn’t bother mentioning that to Mr. Cowie, as I knew he wouldn’t remember. After all, he’s a busy guy—party planner to the stars, author of 11 books and, when it comes to designing elegant and interesting weddings, in particular, one of the most recognized experts in the world.
See Lorraine DePasque's exclusive video interview with celebrity wedding planner Colin Cowie, who was recently named as a spokesman for Platinum Guild International USA. Cowie discusses the best choices for modern brides in platinum engagement rings, wedding bands, as well as other jewelry for the big day. He also provides his thoughts on what a woman should look for when picking a wedding ring, and what a groom-to-be should try not do when choosing a ring for his future bride.
My third and final installment recapping the “Strategies for Advertising Designer Jewelry” panel from The SMART Show will cover advice shared by Michael Finn of E.B. Horn (Boston, MA), one of our “Eight-Figure Independents” in INDESIGN’s Mar/Apr lead story. E.B. Horn has been in business since 1839 – six years before my home state of Texas joined the Union. Nevertheless, the store’s marketing practices are anything but “old school.” Here was some of the advice Michael shared:
It’s show season again and the converging of thousands of people from all parts of the industry, and often all parts of the world, in Chicago or Vegas or Atlanta, leads me to my usual conclusion at this time of the year: We are an attractive bunch of people. Whether it’s designers, vendors’ reps, store owners, in-store associates, whoever ... (OK, perhaps not the media so much), my belief is that if personal appearance could be quantified and jewelry-industry professionals were compared with say the participants at a cement and aggregates trade show, “we” would fare pretty well.
With the much anticipated Baz Luhrmann film version of The Great Gatsby opening in theatres this weekend, fashion and jewelry of the 1920s is sure to be top-of-mind with anyone who surfs the web, watches TV, and reads the glossies.
We here at INSTORE have two conferences rooms we regularly use: the hot one and the hot big one, referred to as such (or sometimes as “the sweatboxes”) because they are on the top floor of our building and intensely hot until the A/C that is turned on at the beginning of a meeting begins to cool the rooms, normally just as the meeting wraps up.
This week, a few random-ish thoughts that could possibly be of use in running your business (or living your life):
Houston’s high-profile Zadok’s Jewelers was featured fleetingly on the local TV news Monday night, when a KHOU 11 reporter consulted the family-owned business as experts on what a 10-carat diamond ring looks like. Zadok's was happy to oblige, allowing reporter Shern-Min-Chow to try on a seriously blingy ring.
As I start gearing up for all of the draw-dropping jewels I expect to see at Couture and JCK and getting ready to do a story on engagement rings for INDESIGN and alternative bridal rings for INSTORE print magazines, I read a great article in The New York Times Style Section “Weddings and Celebrations”.
A favorite marketing ploy of stores with large, experienced staffs is to tally up their employees’ years in the business and boast they have a “combined 95 (or 140 or 200) years of jewelry experience.” Well, old hands, bow before the Brain Squad – because based on that kind of math, our 350 regular respondents have more than ten thousand years of industry experience. When they speak, you should listen, such as when we asked them in our latest survey how they were dealing with the current volatility in the price of gold.
It’s prom season, I’m seeing from the spate of recent news stories about the rising cost of proms. A story on Yahoo’s The Lookout calls prom costs “genuinely silly. Another on NorthJersey.com contends that because girls are trying to emulate movie stars, the price is rising. The Houston Chronicle report on a survey by Visa simply acknowledges that prom is becoming a big production.
I admit it: The annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner is one of my favorite fashion “shows.” Famous faces from media, government, and entertainment gathering together for a “toast ‘n roast”? You gotta love it. But seeing what the A-listers wear to that formal is icing on the cake. And last Saturday night’s standout jewelry choice? Drop earrings. They were a huge trend, yet, frankly, not a huge surprise to me. Because in February, exhibitors at the globalDESIGN Jewelry Show in Philadelphia told me drops were on every buyer’s most-wanted list. Hands-down, the dangle earring was globalDESIGN’s best-seller.
The release date for the film “The Great Gatsby” (originally set for Christmas 2012) is approximately 10 days away and those of us in the jewelry industry who have been writing about it since we first got wind of Baz Luhrmann’s remake have witnessed a trend in the making. I do believe that this has set a precedent as the trend has spread long before the movie has even hit the silver screen. For over a year, we have seen this direction take shape on the runways and red carpets in fine and fashion jewelry, in gowns and ready-to-wear, hair accessories and hosiery. The styles of The Jazz Age are already in stores and at all different price points.