Professional Jeweler Archive: Hide and Seek

October 2003


Hide & Seek

Find new opportunities in hidden profit centers

In the child’s version of the game Hide & Seek, one person covers his or her eyes while the others hide and hope they won’t be found. The reward for uncovering a hiding place: the simple pride of a job well-done.

In the grown-up retail version of the game, the business owner tries to uncover as many hidden profits as possible, and the reward goes far beyond simple pride.

You can add to your store’s bottom line by uncovering profits hiding in fine giftware and other products targeted for jewelry stores, including those that commemorate an occasion, elegant cases to store precious jewelry, repair services and corporate awards.

Fine Giftware: Products Targeted for Jewelers’ Customers

It makes sense that customers who trust you for fine jewelry and watches will trust you also for fine giftware. And a growing number of fine giftware suppliers are looking to do more business with jewelers, who understand the nuances of fine products rather than department store employees who sold kitchen spatulas the day before and tires the day before that.

The music box on the cover and Highlights page of this issue is by Reuge, a Swiss maker of top-notch music boxes, bird boxes and other mechanical marvels many customers will never see outside of the very best stores.

The same can be said of some pen, clock, china and glassware brands. Just be sure to choose companies that don’t supply the same lines to department and down-market stores. You should protect your brand as well as promote theirs.

Occasion Commemorative: A Celebration of Family and Togetherness

For very special gifts marking a wedding or birth, many consumers already visit jewelry stores for ideas. “Retailers can’t go wrong with affordable [under $100], distinctive gifts with good margins,” says Frank Tullos, president of Foreign Advisory, Princess Anne, MD. Made in Holland of authentic delft, Foreign Advisory commemorative plates have personalized designs and hand calligraphy that is refired, making it indelible.

Regardless of the giftware, it should have a strong shelf presence. “Having a strong concentration of product shows a devotion to it and says this merchandise is important and that you are in this business,” says Tullos. Also, allow the customer to examine this product with help from employees. Seeing the quality and feeling the weight speak for themselves.

Marketing tip: check birth records and mail a promotion to new mothers, who can’t resist buying gifts for their new babies.

Jewelry Cases: A Hot New Commodity

It’s leather-bound. It’s sleek. It’s fashion-forward, and it’s not a new rap group. It’s the European version of the jewelry box, which cuts ties with tradition. “Our jewelry cases go beyond wood. They are more functional, are easy to travel with and are very salable with triple-keystone margins,” says Simon Wolf, president of Wolf Designs, Malibu, CA. Not to mention that consumers love these cases. Paul Hill, director of business development, says retailer clients are on auto order, which means they restock orders every week or two. “If the product is kept in stock all the time, it will sell all the time,” he says. The success rate: “In 2001 we sold over 1 million jewelry cases. In 2003, we sold over 2 million. With growth like that, we invite any retailer to take the Pepsi challenge with us,” says Hill.

Jewelry Repair: The Land of Lost Opportunity

Some jewelers see sizing, repairs, watch battery/band sales and special orders as a necessary evil. Because it takes time to write a repair order, they feel it takes time away from real sales. “But when a customer brings in a repair, it’s because the piece means a lot to him,” says Gary Wesdorp, president and CFO of Jewel-Craft, Erlanger, KY. “Jewelry retailers don’t seem to realize this and are afraid to charge the customer when, in fact, the customer is willing to pay.” Show off your expertise to help build trust. Ask whether customers would like to have any other jewelry they are wearing cleaned.

These services also create traffic, and traffic should always be considered a prime opportunity to sell. A customer who drops off an emerald ring for sizing might well be interested in the emerald necklace you just put on display. Even if you can’t think of any matching product in stock, distractedly say, “I can’t stopping thinking about a new piece of jewelry we just got in. Let me show you before you go ...”

With the slower economy upon us, now is the time to improve this business. This is a strictly customer service area, and customers want to be taken care of.

Corporate Gifts: Reward Employees

Create visibility and exposure in the community with corporate awards. Many corporations give corporate jewelry as part of recognition programs because they can’t afford the merit raises they used to give. “Seventy percent of companies have some type of recognition program to award employees for their length of service, meeting sales goals and company loyalty,” says Mike Byam, managing partner of Talisman, Grand Rapids, MI.

This product also creates a revenue stream without the headache of having to have inventory on hand. “And because commercial orders are usually large, this is a great way for retailers to grow their business without having to increase staff or shelf space,” says Byam.

Promoting this product is a year-round commitment. In your store, create a Wall of Fame of local achievement. Pictures of corporate award presentations will draw attention to this division of your jewelry business.

– by Lorraine M. O’Donnell, A.J.P.

In tribute to the rich history and cultural traditions of the city of Venice, OMAS unveils its latest color, Venice Blue. This pen features a classic Hellenic frieze surrounding the cap, a flexible and smooth 18k gold nib and rolling disks on the clip.

Omas, Springfield, NJ; (973) 467-1890, fax (973) 467-5495.

Becoming known as a local source for corporate gifts can broaden your customer base and increase your store’s name recognition and sales. Talisman handles each of your corporate projects from start to finish, without a need for you to invest in inventory beforehand.

Talisman Corporate Jewelry, Grand Rapids, MI; (800) 548-8058 or (616) 458-0100;

Porcelain Gift of Hope treasure box features a sculpted rose intertwined with a loop of pink ribbon. Inside is a 24k gold electroplate ribbon pin. Suggested retail, $30.

Lenox Classics, Langhorne, PA; (888) 561-8808,

From the Chiara collection, this hand-cut 24% lead crystal vase is made in Tuscany especially for Abbiamo Tutto. It is 23 inches high and is $1,600 suggested retail.

ABBIAMO Tutto, McLean, VA; (866) 714-9161.

Delftware plate depicts a stork bringing baby home through a nursery window. The plate provides room to hand-letter the child’s name, birthdate, weight, length and place of birth. Plus the little clock in the nursery will be set to the time of delivery. Plates are available in blue, rose and polychrome and include an attached wire hanger for wall display. All items are hand-lettered using ceramic ink, then kiln-fired to make the lettering a permanent part of the commemorative. Allow two to three weeks. Suggested retail, $60-$150.

Foreign Advisory, Princess Anne, MD; (410) 651-0600, fax (410) 651-3742.

Fountain pen is a limited series commemorating the 31st edition of the America’s Cup. It features low-relief engraving on the barrel, cap and end cap and an 18k gold nib partially platinum-plated on which the America’s Cup and the Montegrappa logo are engraved. The pen’s case, in the form of a ship’s hull, is made of a single piece of MDF wood finished with mirror-polished navy blue lacquer.

Montegrappa, New York City; (212) 446-3526.

Silver pen is set with 1 carat of pavé diamonds. Suggested retail, $1,770.

J.R. Gold Designs, New York City; (212) 922-9292, fax (212) 922-2992.

Morph2 Rollerball pen features a translucent expandable grip for silicon-cushioned writing comfort. It’s available in chrome, blue graphite or smoked vapor.

A.T. Cross Co., Lincoln, RI; (401) 333-1200,,

18k gold or platinum buckles and accents highlight these genuine alligator watchbands. Suggested retail, $240.

Liz Carlo di Ferrara Co., North Attleboro, MA; (508) 695-1438, fax (508) 699-5607.

A new Connoisseurs line of Italian and exotic leather watch straps features drum-dried skins and sealed-edge rembordé construction techniques to ensure durability, water-resistance and a highly tailored appearance, as well as high-strength stitching and sonically welded hand-tacked keepers, reinforced lug ends and nickel-free buckles.

Connoisseurs Productions Corp., Woburn, MA; (800) 851-5333 or (781) 932-3949, fax (781) 932-4755,

Enamel gift boxes by Vivian Alexander are each $120 suggested retail.

Stuller Inc., Lafayette, LA; (800) 877-7777, fax (800) 444-4741.

These leather and crystal jewelry cases are from the new Lady Spencer Red collection, which includes a large two-drawer case with enclosed travel piece, a medium domed case with a lift-out tray, a medium square with a lift-out tray and a small square with a lift-out tray. Suggested retail, $49.50 to $118.

Wolf Designs, Malibu, CA; (866) 289-9653.

Wrought iron wall clock with decorated leaves and a cast crown is finished in charcoal gray with gold highlights. The pendulum bob is finished in antique gold and suspended on a charcoal gray finished wood pendulum. A charcoal gray finished bezel surrounds the dial, which has black Roman numerals and spade hands. Convex acrylic crystal protects the dial. Quartz battery-operated movement. The name of this clock is Paulina.

Howard Miller, Zeeland, MI; (616) 772-7277, fax (616) 772-1670,

Scale enamel gift box.

Rochard, New York City; (212) 679-4615, fax (212) 779-2268.

A 22k gold silhouette graces Her Majesty the Queen’s enamel coronation box. The design is inspired by the Imperial Mantle, made of cloth of gold, one of the coronation robes created for George IV and worn by all successors. The base is decorated with rose, thistle, shamrock, fleur de lis and the imperial eagle. Diameter is just over 1.5 inches.

Halcyon Days, London, England; (44-207) 629-8811, fax (44-207) 409-0280,,

Class ring is crafted in 14k gold.

Artcarved, New York City; (800) 223-5364, fax (800) 531-9169.

Silverplated pitchers make elegant serving accessories. From a new gift catalog by Quality Gold.

Quality Gold Inc., Fairfield, OH; (800) 354-9833 or (513) 942-7659, fax (800) 686-7184 or (513) 682-1100,

Giro Grande watch winder is made of solid hardwood, winds four watches and has a storage drawer. Suggested retail, $999.

Toys from the Attic, White Plains, NY; (914) 421-0069,

Offer your customers money back for their precious metal jewelry by using Hoover & Strong’s refining services.

Hoover & Strong, Richmond, VA; (800) 759-9997 or (804) 794-3700,

Brilliant Restorer jewelry cleaner is a spray that requires no soaking. Cleaning typically occurs within one minute. Rinse with water. Removes hard-water deposits and lime that accumulate on diamonds. Suggested retail, $5.95.

Brilliant Restorer/The Brutti Co., Los Angeles, CA; (866) 441-4423, fax (310) 398-6890,

Jewelry repair by Jewel-Craft Inc.

Jewel-Craft Inc., Erlanger, KY; (800) 525-5482 or (859) 282-2400, fax (859) 282-2424.

Photo by Joe Harrison / Jewel-Craft Inc.

Copyright © 2003 by Bond Communications