Professional Jeweler Archive: The Best Return on Your Money

April 2005

The Store | Managing: Industry Memberships

The Best Return on Your Money

Here's a membership that provides ROI

By Susan Eisen

As retailers, we get myriad requests to join trade organizations. I try to join as many as I can afford to, with the understanding it must be worthwhile and must benefit my business. A recent experience reinforced the value of membership in one organization.

I had a legal question regarding consignments and merchandise left over five years in my store. I knew I’d have to pay a minimum of $500 to have a lawyer look it up and get back to me. Then I remembered my membership in the Jewelers Vigilance Committee could help and, after a simple fax request, I got legal information on state requirements. My JVC membership fee paid for itself three times over in the first week of 2005.

JVC is one of the few industry organizations that can educate you on issues regarding problem customers, product liability, misrepresentation in advertising, under- and overkarating and other business-related legal questions.

Who better to seek advice from than a trade organization that specializes in our industry? I’ve had the opportunity to lead my local Better Business Bureau and to serve on its national board, but BBB has to deal with all kinds of industries while JVC specializes in the jewelry industry.


One new JVC service involves checking member websites for compliance with FTC guidelines. JVC found some extra information should be added to mine about gems and recommended other changes. This “preventive medicine” was worth thousands of dollars and helped me to fix the situation before I could be called on the carpet.

Many of you create your own designs and may want to know how to protect them, mark them properly and keep them unique. JVC can show you where to go and who to speak with to meet these requirements. You’ll also learn how to advertise the designs, including stone weight, type and quality.

The corporate attorneys I use are not specialists in the jewelry or advertising fields. Hearing JVC’s comments helped me immensely with my custom designs.

So how can you not join JVC? Along with the good work JVC does for the industry – such as hosting educational seminars and going to bat for us with the government – you get a real personal return for being a member. Next time you pick up the phone to call your lawyer about an industry issue, call JVC at (800) JOIN-JVC or (212) 997-2002.

Do you host trunk shows? Please e-mail me hints I can share for making them more useful at for use in an upcoming column.

Susan Eisen is CEO of Susan Eisen Fine Jewelry & Watches, El Paso, TX

Copyright © 2005 by Bond Communications