50 Tweaks To Your Store That Shout Personality.
1.YOUR VOICEMAIL GREETING
Scott Ginsberg, a.k.a. The Nametag Guy, suggests asking a specifi c question as part of the message — eg. What’s your favorite pizza topping? It encourages people to leave a response.
2.YOUR BUSINESS CARDS
Michael Hurst, owner of Hurst Fine Diamonds in Lawrence, KS, uses a business card that looks like a $100 bill when folded. So, of course, he keeps them folded in a money clip. “In 2008, we were celebrating our 100th anniversary, so I thought how appropriate — a $100 bill for our 100th anniversary,” Hurst says. “When I hand them out, customers think we’re trying to pay them. But it’s a card they never throw away. And they use it to play tricks on people. So it’s become a game.”
Zachary’s Jewelers in Annapolis, MD, keeps umbrellas and ponchos on hand, with the store’s name and logo on them, to loan to customers — and even passersby — when it’s raining. “Our customers really appreciate the little extras,” says marketing and sales director Evangeline Ross.
4.YOUR KIDS’ CASE
Mark Loren of Loren Designs in Fort Myers, FL, keeps a display case full of candy jewelry for kids to “shop” from, providing entertainment without having to devote a large section of the store to children. The kid-size case, stocked with Ring Pops and candy necklaces, has an easy-to-open lid.
he first hint a DuMont Estate Jewelry purchase will be exciting comes from a full-size knight in shining armor that Paul DuMont found in an Atlanta antiques store, and placed outside his Manhattan store, with the shield painted to refl ect the store’s colors. The knight appealed to him because it was similar to one in his family crest. Passersby on the pedestrian friendly street pose for photos with the metal mascot every day.
Alara Jewelry in Bozeman, MT, and Tivol in Kansas City, MO, off er watering stations for dogs and their owners in front of their stores. Tivol has also installed a doggie cam (pictured), so that any dog that pauses for refreshment at the doggie bar can become famous on the Tivol website, www.tivol.com. (“See Spot. See Spot run. See Spot online via the Tivol Doggie Cam.”)
At Churchill in Fairway, KS, owned by Sally Hilkene, fabulous necklaces dangle from antique Buddha statues. Cases are arranged as collages, with designer handbagscomplementing red carpet fashion jewelry.
8.YOUR CUSTOM-DESIGN SIGNAGED
don’t just tell ’em about your designs; show ’em, too. Whether you display designs on overhead LCD screens, like CAD-CAM master Greg Stopka of JewelSmiths Studio in Pleasant Hill, CA, does, or on photos simply hanging from clothespins, like designer John Paul of John Paul Designs in Bend, OR, does, make sure your customers know immediately what you can do for them. And the best way to do that is with gorgeous photographs of finished designs or renderings.
9.YOUR DOOR HANDLE
At Heartwear Designs in Birmingham, MI, owner Marcy Feldman’s design work is incorporated into the custom-made door handle. “It is a large replica of two links from my signature “Geometrix” collection,” Feldman says. “Two more links are incorporated in the handrail inside the store.”
10.YOUR GOOD LUCK CHARMS
Talk about conversation-starters! Karen Bell, co-owner with Dan Schuyler of Lily & Co. in Sanibel, FL, has friends with feng shui inclinations who have helped create positive energy in the store. Three coins are planted under the front porch rug to bring prosperity. Buddha and frog figurines are placed around the cases, and the space was even blessed by feng shui practitioners. So far, the energy and prosperity have been abundant, as the money flows in and not out of the store, Bell reports.
11.YOUR TV LOUNGE
Lee Read jewelers in Meridian, ID, installed a greeting-card rack in its TV lounge, where guys can select free, full-size cards to facilitate one-stop, special-occasion shopping. For some wives and girlfriends, it’s the first time they’ve ever received a card.
12.YOUR SMILING CUSTOMERS
Designer Ruth Mellergaard of Grid/3 International permanently affixed big photo frames to the wall of Clarkes Jewelers in Shreveport, LA, where owner Ginger Clarke can easily display pictures of her satisfied customers. All Clarke has to do is enlarge photos to a certain size and insert them.
At Destin Jewelers in Miramar Beach, FL, the floor is bejeweled with iridescent glass tiles set into the bronze-stained concrete floor. Owner Lisa Peters says when she was setting up shop, her builders had to shape troughs in the stained concrete floor to make room for electrical infrastructure. If concrete were added to the troughs afterward, the stain wouldn’t have matched. “So we made a design out of the way we ran the electrical and then we put little glass mosaic tiles in. We get a lot of compliments on our floor,” Peters says.
14.YOUR FOCAL POINT
With a title like “The Lee Read Public Aquarium,” you know it’s not just a run-of-the-mill fish tank. For thousands of Boise, ID, first-graders on field trips, the 1,200-gallon, living reef aquarium with 30 species of coral often is their first glimpse of a marine environment. Staff spends at least an hour every day on maintenance and posts video of the aquarium on the company website, www.leeread.com.
Metalsmith Travis Kukovich, owner of William Travis Jewelry in Chapel Hill, NC, believes one big reason for his store’s success is “The William Travis Show.” In other words, he’s turned his shop into street theater. “Our workshop is by the window. People walk by and see someone swinging a hammer. There’s the fire, the torch. It gets people excited. When someone comes in, we sit them down and bring out trays of stones, talk to them and start hand-sketching designs. It’s a show. A complete performance. My customers often come back just for the fun.”
If your store occupies an interesting building — converted bank, brothel, timber mill, tobacco warehouse or public library, for example, — remember that it already has a personality. So don’t overlook a chance to salvage or preserve a piece of your building’s past. Tim Anthony Weisheipel of Anthony Jewelers in Hayward, WI, found several century-old brick walls in the former bank building he renovated, which he left exposed. The building’s original 19th century vault has been refurbished and is in working order. Alan Rodriguez, owner of Julz in Canton, OH, used an exposed brick wall (pictured) in his building as an art gallery and regularly hosts openings. At O.C. Tanner in Salt Lake City, UT, architectural details of the 1905 public library building have been lovingly preserved.
17.YOUR STORE’S SCENT
Using branded scents in retail creates the kind of mood that causes shoppers to browse longer and return to jewelry counters more often, studies have shown. Mark and Monika Clodius of Clodius & Co. Jewelers in Rockford, IL, introduced a custom scent around Christmas 2009 to improve the overall shopping experience and help recession-stressed customers relax. Finding the right scent should be a matter of blending your store’s overall mood with what’s hot in any particular season. Here’s a hint: Marc Levy of Air Esscentials of Miami, FL, says sweet scents with earthy undertones, like cedar, have sensual appeal this year.
A creative name can create a lot of buzz. Consider the case of Fly High Little Bunny in Houston, TX, which has got people talking, including reviewers on Citysearch.com: “The name is oddly compelling: sugary-sweet yet cryptic, and get a look at the logo. Are those fangs on that bunny? Something sinister may be behind this silver jewelry shop, though an employee insists the name is meaningless and “just made up.” Nonetheless, the store keeps sending ambiguous messages. One day, its ever-changing marquee read on one side, “Silver makes you cool and popular”; on another, “I miss Motown, especially Michael Bolton.” Keep visiting to uncover all the oddball bunny’s secrets.
Try seasonal treats. “The week of Christmas, since we are host to many male customers, we have a fun hot dog stand and a mini burger station,” says Evangeline Ross, marketing and sales director of Zachary’s Jewelers in Annapolis, MD. They’ve also experimented with a lemonade stand in the summer.
20.YOUR EMPTY OFFICEE.
E. Robbins in Seattle, WA, transformed a back office into a 180-bottle wine cellar with Starbucks-style tables and a divan to soothe engagement-ring shoppers. The private retreat — and the wine — combine for a calming influence.
21.YOUR FAMILY HISTORY
If yours is a multi-generation jewelry store, your family history most likely has personality to spare. One example worth promoting: It was 1892 in Indian Territory when B.C. Clark opened his first jewelry store in the corner of a five and dime store. Today, B.C. Clark Jewelers is Oklahoma’s oldest jewelry store and the oldest retail store in Oklahoma under the same name and ownership. Now that’s worth talking about.
Make sure what you’re selling reflects the personality you’d like to project. Hamilton Hill International Designer Jewelry is in Durham, NC, but owners Michael Hamilton and Sarah Hill have imbued their store with an international flair that’s rooted in its jewelry lines — Niessing and Carl Dau from Germany, Majoral from Spain, and Brazil’s Antonio Bernardo, to name a few. The pieces come in a range of materials and price points, but all share a similar modern sensibility — simple lines, with design dominant over content.
23.YOUR SALES TEAM
Marshall is a yellow Labrador retriever, who works at the Country Jeweler in Allendale, MI. He is a top-notch salesperson, always putting his paws up on the counter as if to say, “May I show you something?” says owner Louise Cannon. He was also a contestant in the SMART Jewelry Show’s top-dog contest.
“We can’t wait until a client has to go to the bathroom,” says Jackie Abraham, owner of Jackie Abraham Fine and Estate Jewelry in Bay Harbor Islands, FL. Dark brown velvet wallpaper with a floral paisley pattern covers the walls, highlighting an ultramodern sink with sharp lines. “When you give extra attention to a detail like the restroom, it has a compounding effect.”
Wilson Diamonds in Provo, UT, has a fleet of five Mini Coopers, used primarily as mobile billboards, which are parked in areas crawling with potential engagement clients, such as on university campuses, says owner Richard Wilson. The advertising message is easy to read with the store’s logo on the side and a simple slogan underneath: “Wilson Diamonds. Huge Selection. Mini Prices.” The cars are also dispatched for engagement surprises. “We had one where all five minis pulled up at one time, each with five different rings,” Wilson says. “The drivers all were in tuxes and they all got down on one knee and she got to pick out her favorite ring.”
If you have natural light in your store, make the most of it. The view from the lounge at Sathers Leading Jewelers in Fort Collins, CO, is a stunner. “We watch flaming sunsets over the mountains, the lush mature foliage outside our building, the rainstorms … customers watch the snowflakes falling next to them through the floor-to-ceiling windows,” says Julie Sather-Browne.
In Newport Beach, CA, Gail Jewelers has incorporated its logo, the letter G, into its store in an integral way by creating a curved accent wall made up of letter Gs of various sizes. It’s a retro-modern, signature look that owners Barry and Gail Benowitz hope to propagate as they grow their brand and open more stores.
A fountain near the front of Weber Goldsmith Gallery in Carmel, CA, is topped with a spinning globe of rose quartz. When a similar one first arrived at his Maui store, Brad Weber says, his dad questioned the $5,000 cost. “I said, ‘Just trust me. This’ll be cool.’ The very next day, this guy came in and said he’d just been going to get a newspaper at the next store, but he had to stop and look at the fountain.” Minutes later, that passerby made a purchase big enough to more than pay for the fountain. “It was worth 20 grand a month in Maui,” Weber says. “People come in just to look at the ball.”
Set the scene: At Destin Jewelers in Miramar Beach, FL, the scene is a page from a fairy tale. A round, hot-pink settee adds whimsy and drama to the showroom. Prince Charming, a brass frog wearing a crown, sits beneath a chandelier with crystal and glass beads emerging from the billowing silken cloth that drapes the ceiling. Prince Charming may also be accompanied by two (real) ragdoll cats.
Before you settle on a traditionally staid or formal music mix, consider who is shopping in your store as well as who you’d like to be shopping in your store. “I am particular about the music mix in our store,” says Lisa Malbranck, co-owner of the Diamond Gallery in Winnipeg, MB, Canada. “Our target market is couples who are 25 to 40, and I want to make sure our music fits that age range. Even with Christmas music, we don’t play a lot of traditional music.”
Spexton’s owners enhance the online portion of their Tulsa, OK, store with creative photography that allows shoppers to see what their jewelry looks like on someone. “If you’re a local jeweler and if you find a photography student to do some work for you, the results are great,” says Nate McPherson. “And people will model your jewelry for free. Just ask your friends and neighbors.”
Consider adding a chandelier or pendant lighting for a more personal look. “If you have the rest of the lights recessed in the ceiling, a hanging decorative object will attract people’s attention without increasing the light output too much,” says Ruth Mellergaard, a principal at New York design firm Grid/3 International. Chris Harrison of Harrison’s Diamonds & Designs in Ephrata, WA, replaced 56 halogen track lights with 15 pendants. “They fit the feel of the store,” he says, “and one light will cover a 6-foot case.”
Think lofty and enlist an artist. At Traditional Jewelers, two ceiling murals recall the Renaissance. The first is a re-creation of Michelangelo’s “Creation of Man” from the Sistine Chapel, with a twist: It features Eve as well as Adam. The second mural, in the watch area, depicts God creating the sundial, rather than the stars and the moon.
A black-and-white striped box with a neatly tied red ribbon is the object behind the long-lived advertising slogan, “Every woman wants a Bailey Box,” for Bailey’s Fine Jewelry in North Carolina. If they happen to wrap a gift in paper without those signature stripes, a customer is likely to say, “Can I get it wrapped like I see in the magazines?” says President Trey Bailey. Bailey’s even has a vehicle painted to look like its Bailey Box. “When people see this car, they smile and remember the wonderful experiences they have had in our store,” Bailey says, “or they might just be inspired to drop in.”
35.YOUR BRANDED BOUTIQUE
Richard Van Derdys, manager of Donoho’s Fine Jewelry in Houston, worked with Scott Kay and interior designer Regina Kay, Scott’s wife, to transform a lounge into a masculine retreat with throne-like chairs, chandeliers, a zebra rug and display space for Kay’s men’s jewelry lines. “No matter what brand you’d like to promote,” says Regina Kay, “go to that vendor and say, ‘Help me, support me, I’d like to make your salon successful.’”
John Paul, owner of John Paul Designs in Bend, OR, likes his handmade, rough-hewn jewelry to feel like it could be 100 years old. His thrift-store chic furnishings fit his inventory perfectly. A 55-gallon Hangsterfer’s drum display, for example, once held metalworking lubricant. His planters are made of recycled steel and concrete.
When Wesche Jewelers built a new in Viera, FL, a bar was a priority to facilitate in-store special events (pictured). But if you don’t have the budget for that, consider Allison Love’s approach. When Love, the owner of Allison Love’s Fine Jewelry in Rock Hill, S.C., installed a temporary beer tap for Valentine’s Day, she also put a sign outside advertising “Free Beer.” It drew a crowd, much laughter and the local media.
38.YOUR HOLIDAY SPIRIT
At Christine’s Gold and Diamonds in Harrisonburg, VA, Christine Wade and her dad and business partner, Doug Wade, frequently dress up in holiday-themed attire, for traditional gift-giving times, like Valentine’s Day, or even for St. Patrick’s Day (pictured). Doug Wade wears a grass skirt for their annual Hawaiian luau party, which draws a crowd for that reason alone. It’s all part of their approach to fun customer service. “Treating everyone like a good friend has increased business,” Christine Wade says.
39.YOUR BLANK SPACE
Can’t find it? Paint it. When Alan Rodriguez, owner of Julz by Alan Rodriguez in Canton, OH, found a 19th century building for his downtown store, it had everything he wanted — except the authentic bank vault he had dreamed of. So Rodriguez commissioned an artist to create an 8-by-12-foot mural depicting the vault he had envisioned — a 1920s-style model with enough three-dimensional verve to pop off the wall and fool the eye. The mural has become the store’s focal point as well as the brand image. “In addition to its artistic merit, it serves as a psychological symbol of the store, promoting safety and security and the value of its products and services and it also delivers a message of creativity, which is what we hope we represent in our products,” Rodriguez says.
If a young child comes into James Free Jewelers in Dayton, OH, with an adult shopper, chances are the little one will walk out with a Gund stuffed teddy bear. The bears represent owner Michael Karaman’s dedication to customer service as well as his passion for superior craftsmanship, since Gunds are top-of-the-line bears. Karaman spends nearly $20,000 a year on the Gunds, but says it’s worth it because it’s a tradition. “I have customers who come into the store and tell me they remember the Gund we gave them when they were children.”
When anyone from Oklahoma City hears the name B.C. Clark Jewelers, they begin to hum a little tune. So popular is the retailer’s circa-1956 jingle, originally devised for its anniversary sale, that it’s turned into a regional Christmas carol, which actress Megan Mullally, an Oklahoma City native, once sang on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Now, it’s even got its own website, www.bcclarkjingle.com, where you can download it as a ringtone.
42.YOUR BAG AS MOBILE BILLBOARD
For Idar Jewellers of Vicoria, BC, Canada, function is always just as important as fashion. Years ago, the Canadian jeweler switched to reusable black fabric bags that feature the store’s bee logo. “I suggest that they use them for their lunch. That always gets a chuckle,” says owner Idar Bergseth, who has begun giving away pencils stamped with his bee.
Kelly Jensen of Plateau Jewelers in Sammamish, WA, has a richly colored “glory wall” in his customer lounge area illuminated with bright lights. He displays pictures of custom work along with awards they’ve won, all beautifully framed. Yanina & Co. of Cedar Grove, NJ, displays magazine articles and awards prominently near its front entry.
44.YOUR COMMITMENT TO RUNNING A GREEN BUSINESS
The Malbranck family, owners of the Diamond Gallery in Winnipeg, MB, Canada, have lots to talk about with their environmentally conscious customers. Their building was designed to exceed industry standards of efficiency in heating and cooling, lighting and plumbing. It’s geothermally heated and cooled with the help of two underground wells on the property and heat pumps. The lighting lineup includes ceramic metal halide, energy-efficient fluorescents and LED showcase lighting. And, yes, even low-flow toilets. Can’t build a new store today? Start by upgrading your lighting or even by recycling your trash.
45.YOUR FRONT PORCH
Lily & Co. in Sanibel, FL, has the ambience of an island bed and breakfast, especially on its porch, which has been outfitted with comfortable seating and rugs and decorated with hanging plants. The whole scene invites shoppers to slow down, linger and enjoy living on island time.
Every other week, a florist delivers fresh flowers for Jackie Abraham Fine and Estate Jewelry to display in Bay Harbor Islands, FL. “It’s more of a nuance,” Abraham says. “It gives you an idea that we’re always looking for ‘fresh.’”
47.YOUR VIDEO SCREENS
Offer something unexpected: “We absolutely won’t play videos of how designers make jewelry; we play rock videos and concerts, instead,” says Michael Nedler, owner of Sonny’s Rocks in Denver, CO, a store with a rock ’n’ roll personality.
The wallpaper behind the cash register at Simon Jewelers in High Point, NC, has faceted crystals attached to it so that from any direction, it appears that diamonds are dancing on the wall, says owner Gary Simon.
49.YOUR CURB APPEAL
Nature is an effective way to add some color and improve your curb appeal. Shoppers traverse a winding path through one of the largest rose gardens in Oklahoma City as they approach Samuel Gordon Jewelers.
“We used huge mirrors to open up the space on each side of the store,” says Jackie Abraham of Jackie Abraham Fine and Estate Jewelry in Bay Harbor Islands, FL. “We have three massive floor-to-ceiling mirrors so that clients can see themselves in the jewelry full-body, as opposed to countertop or hand mirrors that just show your face. They can kind of admire themselves that way, which we feel opens up the shopping experience for them.
SOURCE McClelland, Eileen. “All in The Details.” INSTOREMAG.com. 9 May 2011. Web. 24 Aug. 2011. <https://www.instoremag.com/instore/store-advice/leads-and-features/6331-lift-off>.