Professional Jeweler Archive: Two-Part Success

November 2001

Professional Bench/Five Steps to Profit


Two-Part Success

Business savvy and mechanical genius pair up for success


Powerful husband-and-wife team Jim and Lucinda Rogers own Gold ’N Carats Custom Jewelers, two retail jewelry manufacturing locations in Irving, TX. Jim, a JA® Certified Master Bench Jeweler™ and mechanical genius, has shops in both locations. He and two other bench jewelers are able to fulfill the demand for repair and custom orders. Lucinda, a JA® Certified Senior Management Professional,™ concentrates on the retail and business side of the operation.

Jim Rogers started in jewelry arts by cutting stones at age eight, opal by age 11. In 1967, he took a part-time job and got his first training as a bench jeweler generalist with a multiple-unit retailer. He graduated to a full-time position in a trade shop in 1969 and then launched his own trade shop in 1974, immediately acquiring seven retail stores as customers. Rogers provided everything from routine repair to custom orders.

In 1980, Jim and Lucinda were married. They opened their first store shortly afterward and their second in 2000. Both attribute the success of their stores to the products and services from their in-store shops. Here is how the couple use the Five P’s of pricing, process, promotion, productivity and professionalism to make a difference.

Pricing

The couple use Repair Pricing Guide, a book by David Geller, to price repairs, services and custom products at both locations. Customers seldom question prices quoted in a professionally printed resource, they say. Sales associates, who handle the take-in procedure, are trained to identify all features requiring repair, not just those that customers bring to their attention.

Process

All work is logged into the Jewelry Shopkeeper computer program at the end of each day. Individual customer records now exceed 35,000. Computers at both stores are linked via a DSL line so the records can be accessed at both locations.

The couple have two safes measuring 7 by 3 by 3 feet. They had custom shelves fit and secured into each safe to accommodate the trays from their showcases, simplifying the task of picking up and putting out jewelry each day. Jim built all showcases for their new store.

Jim also designed a storage unit for their extensive inventory of findings. It’s made of lightweight laminated boards and overhead light grids. Several trays stack and are secured by a central bolt and nut. Even when the tray is turned upside down, the findings remain in place.

Custom shelves hold showcase trays in the safes.
Storage unit makes findings easy to find.

Promotion

The Rogers aren’t shy about promoting their business. They send direct mail pieces to their database of 35,000 customers every quarter. The mailings feature invitations and reminders of special events and shop and service-department special offers. Customer records serve as reference for the sales professionals because all event dates for items repaired and purchased are recorded.

During sales presentations, Gold ’N Carats sales associates routinely refer to Jim’s professional credentials and note that all work is done on the premises. In both stores, the shops are in view of the sales floor, which puts customers at ease when leaving their jewelry for service, says Lucinda.

Productivity

Productivity is paramount. Jim is a staunch believer in technology and having the right tool for the job. At times he even makes his own tools when the ones he needs don’t exist or don’t perform as well as he requires. Here are a few examples:


Jim casts on the premises a few times per week, several pieces at a time. When the castings are removed from their sprues, the staff grinds away the remaining portion of the sprue with a casting finishing system Jim designed and constructed. A series of grinding wheels are mounted on a 1-in. shaft and driven by an electric motor. The small wooden discs below each grinding wheel are covers that allow a vacuum system to collect grindings more efficiently. The metal is ground away with the series of wheels from coarse to very fine. Next the rough castings go into the magnetic finisher for brightening.
Jim made this forming unit when faced with the challenge of doming the top of a sterling silver box he manufactured for his master-level bench exams. With pressure from the jack and proper forming shapes above, he was able to form the domed lid to perfection – and in one simple step.
How many times has a piece of jewelry slipped from your hands while polishing? To avoid wasting time locating jewelry that drops into the dust collection system, Jim designed a wood box that has a countertop attached with a piano hinge at the back. When jewelry drops during polishing, a long pole (see red arrows) is placed into U-shaped bolts on the countertop. That way, the top can be raised and the jewelry retrieved quickly and easily. Jim attached his dust collection unit to the wooden box system.

Professionalism

Jim and Lucinda are certified by Jewelers of America at the highest level obtainable in their respective fields and have many other professional and civic designations.

Lucinda, for example, graduated from Tulsa University with a BME and is president of the Texas Jewelers Association.

In addition, Gold ’N Carats Custom Jewelers has won eight jewelry design contest awards from the Texas Jewelers Association.

The passion, energy and knowledge Jim and Lucinda bring to their business would typically be enough for success in the retail world. Add to that their level of talent, creativity and drive, and it makes them an unmatched duo in the industry.

Jim Rogers

For information about JA’s Bench Jeweler Certification program, call JA at (800) 223-0673 or visit www.jewelers.org. For information about Repair Pricing Guide by David call (888) 255-9848.


– Mark B. Mann, Director of Trade Programs, Jewelers of America

Featuring Jim Rogers, JA® Certified Master Bench Jeweler™ and Co-owner of Gold ’N Carats Custom Jeweler, Irving, TX

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications