Top Five Things Every Jeweler Should Know
Appraisals, Web sites, trade organizations, press kits, industry involvement
While there are many more than five things every jeweler should know, these are my top five, garnered from my retail jewelry background and from working with the industrys top trade organizations. Read on and see if you agree!
You Are Legally Responsible For What You Sell and Appraise
This shouldnt come as a surprise to anyone, yet it often is. When you sell an item, you become responsible for what you say it is. Its not enough to use someone elses opinion as fact. The Jewelers Vigilance Committee (see contact information below) can help you if you have additional questions.
You should know the actual content of your showcases and jewelry. And hopefully youre doing some quality control to ensure youre ordering and actually receiving items of the same quality. You dont have to test every item, just make random checks of merchandise from each vendor to ensure the correct quality.
Laws applying to the jewelry industry are from the Federal Trade Commission Guides for the Jewelry Industry, as well as additional state and local laws.
The JVC advises that this responsibility applies to appraisals too! Heres what you should know:
- If you make a representation regarding anything that is an expression of opinion or a statement of fact, you can be held legally responsible.
- If your customer relies on that assertion and is harmed, you can be held liable.
Hopefully, as an appraiser, youve had advanced training from an appraisal organization. Or if youre new to appraising, check out J-BAR, a division of the JVC (www.jbar.org).
- Know what you are doing. If youre not qualified or comfortable doing an appraisal, just say no!
Everyone Should Have A Basic Web Site
Having an expensive site with lots of bells and whistles isnt the answer for everyone. A basic site is. Even if its just one page inviting potential customers to come by in a warm, friendly manner and including your most important information thats enough. If someone wants to know a bit about you, they are likely to look on the Internet. Make it easy for them.
Have a picture or two of your store. List your store hours and basic directional information. Give an easy-to-find phone number. Consider listing the brands you carry, talk about your services and detail anything that makes your store different from everyone elses.
Most importantly, devote one (or more) well-written paragraph(s) to why someone should shop with you. And as you get comfortable with the site, you might consider adding email newsletters, e-commerce and/or a more comprehensive site to fit your changing needs.
Where To Go for Help
Do you know where to go for assistance when you need it? The chart below shows many of the helpful organizations in our industry, their area of smarts and a contact phone number. These are the ones youd probably use most. For others, keep your eye on trade magazines for an organization that meets your specific needs (such as the Womens Jewelry Association, www.womensjewelry.org, a personal favorite).
Almost all of those listed have low-cost or no-cost items that can help you in your everyday business. Its worth the time to make a phone call or visit their Web site to get better acquainted.
Each organizations purpose is to help you better connect with their specialty. Use these great resources.
|American Gem Trade Association
|Cultured Pearl Information Center
|Diamond Promotion Service
|Gemological Institute of America
|Jewelers of America
|Jewelers Security Alliance
|Jewelers Vigilance Committee
|Jewelry Information Center
|Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America
||Manufacturers and suppliers
|Platinum Guild International
|World Gold Council
* Need Tradelock password to enter trade portion of site. Visit www.tradelock.com (a division of Polygon).
What A Press Kit Is and What It Does
A press kit tells the world who you are in an official way. Its usually an imprinted folder (or a nice folder with one of your gift-wrap stickers on the front) with two pockets inside and a place for a business card. Why is one important? There will be times when you need to introduce yourself or your store to someone, and theres no better way than a press kit to do it. It serves as an ambassador for your store. And, no, you dont have to have one just for the press, though thats certainly a great use.
Its best to have a few made up and on hand its better to be proactive than reactive in this case. You could mail one to a prospective customer (along with a well-written cover letter) or give one to the reporter who comes to you with a question. Its also a great way to introduce yourself to a new designer or manufacturer whose line youd like to carry.
Below is a short list of what could go in your own press kit. Add or subtract items so you end up with an impressive selling and public relations tool.
- History sheet. This can be a few paragraphs or a few pages on the history of your store. You should include why youre in business, your stores personality and your selling philosophy. Explain your tag line if you use one.
- Products and Services Brochure. You may already have something to hand to customers who want to learn more about you. Include it in your press kit. Dont have one? Make one.
- Biography of Owner(s). A photo (optional) and a few short paragraphs per person are great. You also may consider adding any other important staff members to this page(s), such as your experienced bench jeweler or top salesperson.
- Press Clippings. These are items written about your store (or you) in the past. They usually are from local newspapers or magazines. If youre lucky, you have some national mentions in trade or consumer publications as well.
- Product sheet or brochures. These will help familiarize the press kit reader with your store. You might include pre-printed brochures from manufacturers (make sure they have your contact info on them or your stores sticker), any fliers youve used in recent promotions and educational material such a brochure on diamonds.
- Any print ads. If you have any great ads that show off your store, be sure to include them.
One overall note: Keep everything neat and pretty. If your print ads are small and may get lost among larger sheets of paper, use a glue stick or double sticky tape to put them neatly on a piece of your stationery. While you build the kit, keep putting yourself in your readers shoes is it easy to follow, does it appropriately convey your stores image, is it neat? If so, youre ready to go.
Get Involved in the Industry
We have wonderful trade professionals working very hard in many organizations. But its your input and support that truly accomplishes meaningful change and helps the industry grow and prosper.
Theres one attitude out there that says if you dont vote, you cant complain later about what happens. We dont really vote as an industry, but through our local and national involvement with organizations and issues, we can vote by our involvement. As someone who has seen behind many industry scenes, its those who are involved who make a difference. Our industry wouldnt be as strong without the jeweler who gives time back to the industry. Its in your own best interests to be involved.
Stay informed. Its your industry. Participate.
by Caroline Stanley
A third-generation jeweler, Caroline Stanley is the president/CEO of Red Jewel Inc., Manhattan Beach, CA, an industry-savvy marketing, communications and consulting firm. Reach her at (310) 937-8997, www.redjewel.com.