Harris Botnick of Worthmore Jewelers in Atlanta, GA., says the important thing to remember when planning events is that they are parties. So ease up on your usual selling style, and make sure they have the potential to be FUN. “When they are having a good time, they remember it and they buy,” he says. Worthmore has been successful with combining jewelry sales with an antiques-road-show style event, and with art shows and car shows. The company has also managed to establish a signature drink at their events – rum punch. If they don't serve rum punch, their customers want to know why.
They also tie events to charities that they like, which attracts new people associated with those charities as well as showing existing customers that the business cares about the community. “These events don’t have to cost you a lot of money,” Botnick says. “Nothing is better for us than to open our store for charities.”
Evangeline Ross of Zachary’s Jewelers in Annapolis, MD., shared her success with a love-letter contest that brought 400 people to the store on the day they announced the winner. She said it was easy to partner with a radio station and to pitch the idea to local news organizations, including newspapers and website news services that helped promote it. Everyone who entered had to show up for the winning day brunch because they had to be present to win. One year the prize was a $5,000 gift certificate and the winner added another $5,000 of his own to give his wife the ring of her dreams, after proposing to her again, right there in the store.
Mahlia of the Mahlia Collection in Tucson, AZ, brainstorms themes likely to bring in whole new groups of people who haven’t yet visited her store. For example, the Night of the Greek Gods, she says, was an event for the gay community, which was very successful for gift purchases. “Align yourself with different partnerships,” she says. “Think up new ways to plan an event that is intriguing to a group.”
Nate Smith of Silverscape Designs in Northampton, MA, says it’s important to partner with other businesses in the community to pull off successful events. For a women’s night out, prior to Christmas, bring in martinis and offer manicures, massages and makeup applications. Take a photo of a woman wearing a piece of jewelry on her wish list and mail it, along with a gift certificate, to her husband. “Guys call in and say, `I want this one. Can you deliver it?’ It’s all about making it easy for the customer.”