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August 1999

Feature

Reaching the Rich

Here's how to find the well-heeled and offer them the luxury merchandise they expect

Hide-and-seek is a favorite childhood game. Now as an adult, you may feel you're still playing the game as you try to find your community's wealthy members and then try to market to them.

Not as many of them visit your store as you might like, but don't give up. The truly wealthy like you to come to them.

Reaching Out
The telephone is one of the easiest and most important ways to contact an affluent customer you've already met. Briefly mention you have an exciting new collection or special piece and you'd like her feedback. Invite the customer to a private showing or offer to visit him or her at home or work. "Creating the impression you are working exclusively for a particular customer will make a difference," says Ella Gafter of Ellagem, a luxury jewelry designer in New York City.

Find out when these customers work and play so you know when they'll be most receptive to your call.

When advertising to this elite group, feature unusual designs and use top consumer magazines. "The proper advertising not only attracts current customers but opens doors for new customers as well," says Linda Goldstein of Linda Goldstein Public Relations, a New York City firm specializing in the fine jewelry industry.

If you advertise through direct mail, make the merchandise highly visible and add a handwritten message or signature with the promise you'll open the store for them before or after regular hours. Follow up with a phone call.

After you make the sale, keep in touch to build trust, one of the most important factors at this level of the consumer market.

Finding New Customers
Socializing and participating in charity functions and community activities can create opportunities for future business. Attend performing arts events, benefit balls and other civic and society functions where you know your community's affluent will congregate. "Meeting outside of business will help build relationships and trust," says Tom Heyman of Oscar Heyman & Bros., a high-end jewelry manufacturer in New York City. Volunteer to give lectures, write articles and be available for interviews with reporters. Such exposure stimulates affluent buyers, who love experts to call them.

Be alert when reading your newspaper. Examine the business section to find out who sold a business or a piece of real estate. Sellers have cash and may be in the mood to spend. Also check for who is opening a new business or joining a medical or law firm. Add these names to your list of prospective customers.

You might also ask your truly wealthy customers whether they have friends who also are jewelry lovers. And if you plan a private show, ask your top customers to bring along a friend if they wish.

Each sales associate should develop a profile of their best customers and include what kind of jewelry and designs they like, occupation, birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. Put this information to work by sending "occasion" reminders to important customers. Though you may do this for all customers, you should be prepared with specific suggestions and be willing to take some pieces to the homes or workplaces of the wealthy for their consideration.

Remember, many affluent prospects are neighbors, business associates or people you've known for years. Proactively use the information you already have to stimulate your sales.

– by Lorraine M. Suermann

 
Simply luxurious! 18k gold ring features a 2.39-ct. emerald surrounded by 1.97 carats of tapered baguette diamonds set in platinum ($50,000 suggested retail). Platinum ring is set with 3.45 carats of marquise diamonds ($21,300). Platinum flower brooch has 10.04 carats of round diamonds and features green enamel leaves ($44,000). Platinum necklace has 30.14 carats of oval diamonds, two pear-shaped diamonds weighing 0.73 carat and a 4.38-ct. pear-shaped emerald in 18k gold ($121,000).
Oscar Heyman & Bros. Inc., New York City; (212) 593-0400, fax (212) 759-8612.

 
One-of-a-kind brooch features a carved rose quartz flower, 3.72 carats of princess-cut sapphires in shades of green and a 0.79-ct. round orange sapphire in 18k green gold. Suggested retail, $7,900.
G.J. Designs, Sarasota, FL; (941) 951-6658, fax (941) 365-2577.

This 151/4-in. platinum and diamond necklace features 134.92 carats of I-J/VS-SI diamonds graduating from 1.0 carat to 15.02 carat. The earrings have a round center diamond surrounded by heart-shaped diamonds totaling 23.46 carats and graded E-G/VS-SI.
Philippe Diamond Corp., New York City; (212) 869-5570, (800) 247-5570.

From the Mouvementée collection by Fred Joaillier come these 18k white and yellow gold rings with diamonds and yellow, blue and pink sapphires. Suggested retail, $2,900-$4,200.
Benedom Inc. for Fred Joaillier, New York City; (800) 282-0847, fax (212) 371-8307.

 

 

86.06 carats of straight starburst white diamonds set in platinum create the essence of elegance in this necklace and earring suite. Suggested retail, $1,187,500.
Louis Glick & Co., New York City; (212) 259-0300.

 

18k gold ring is set with a 5.88-ct. cushion-cut tanzanite accented with 1.33 carats of VS round diamonds. Suggested retail, $12,852.
Kabana, Albuquerque, NM; (800) 521-5986 or (505) 843-9330, fax (505) 843-9624.

 

Platinum ring is hand-engraved and features a 14.22-ct. princess-cut diamond accented with 0.57 carat of baguette diamonds and 0.22 carat of round brilliant-cut diamonds. Suggested retail, $225,000.
Alan Friedman Co., Beverly Hills, CA; (888) 489-4545 or (310) 278-4944, fax (310) 278-5449.

Versatile pin/pendant features a 4.79-ct. blue sapphire, 2.83 carats of round diamonds, 0.66 carat of princess-cut diamonds, an 18.5mm-by-6.5mm Australian pearl and two black onyx disc accents. Suggested retail, $42,000. Earrings feature 4.43 carats of blue sapphire, 5.85 carats of round diamonds, black onyx and two Australian pearls. Suggested retail, $30,000.
Ella Gafter for Ellagem, New York City; (212) 398-0101.

Diamond necklace features 56.18 carats of G/VS diamonds in 18k white gold. Suggested retail, $128,600.
Siyance, New York City; (800) 875-4701 or (212) 354-9055, fax (212) 302-6896.

Earrings feature 6.82 carats of round diamonds on the platinum leaves, 0.25 carat of tapered baguette diamonds on the stems and two 21mm-by- 15.1mm black pearl flowers. Suggested retail, $47,750.
Peter Atman, New York City; (877) 462-8626 or (212) 644-8882, fax (212) 644-3888.

18k gold ring cradles an 8.17-ct. tanzanite surrounded by 2.37 carats of pavé diamonds. Suggested retail, $22,000. Also available in platinum.
D'ckar Business Corp., New York City; (877) DCKAR99 or (212) 819-1177, fax (212) 819-1717, www.dckar.com.

Large Love necklace is crafted in 18k white gold with 1.0 carat of diamonds set in an "X" pattern. Suggested retail, $3,250.
Henderson Designs Ltd., Charlotte, NC; (704) 333-4444, fax (704) 333-4644.

Bracelet comprises a series of hand-fabricated 18k gold and platinum beads with 0.98 carat of diamond accents. To open the hidden clasp, press one of the diamonds. Suggested retail, $25,000.
Kent Raible Jewelry, Tiburon, CA; (415) 389-8885, fax (415) 389-0305.



Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.



 

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