How to Be Successful with your Jewelry Business
I’m always amazed at how stark the contrast is in ‘attitude and discipline’ between a successful retailer and one who’s struggling. The same thing can be said about jewellery designers and staff. Talent is rarely a good indicator of future jewellery making success, as is with the desire to succeed. I’ve just returned from doing back to back jewellery trunk shows with one of the most successful jewellery retailers in Canada, so I’ll use them as an example to illustrate my point.
The store in question carries precious metal jewellery, many brand name international designers, and strongly supports Canadian jewellery designers. The owner is in his late forties and has had the store for almost 20 years. There are 2 locations and, including head office administration staff, he has over 20 employees. The volume of jewellery they sell is phenomenal for the size of the stores, they’re an industry leader.
They work hard. They invest in thoroughly training their staff and expect all of them to work hard and be their best. Quite often jewellery designers like to live the “designer myth” that they’re creative people for whom routine does nothing but stifle their creativity. Jewellery making isn’t just about being creative, there are many aspects to a successful business that have little to do with talent. You should enjoy it if you are going to do it, because there are many other more lucrative and easier ways of making a living. However, too many people focus on the enjoyment and not enough on the discipline that it takes to succeed in the jewellery making business. As a wholesale designer, you must have the drive and tenacity required to make the quantities that customers order, and to meet their delivery deadline.
The retailer I worked with is willing to open for long hours, and is always energetic and professional, ensuring their customer has a great shopping experience. The less successful retailer is puzzled as to why their staff isn’t motivated to perform well, or why sales are poor when management isn’t around. And yet, the less successful retailer doesn’t spend the time to train and motivate their staff, some don’t even want to spend the time to recruit and screen potential employees properly. When they have poor performing staff, they don’t provide criticism, regardless of how positive and vital it can be. In fact you’ve probably walked into a store where, from the service, you know that it’s not long for this world. It’s the same for the jewellery making business where just one delivery or show is all a customer needs to tell if they, and likely other shoppers, will ever want to buy from you again.
Successful retailers are never complacent. They change their displays regularly, and their staff are constantly cleaning and rearranging the stock. They invest in new display cases and lighting. The same is required in successful jewellery making. A good designer has to constantly update their look, even though they must be consistent in their aesthetic appeal. This means sourcing new components, upgrading their quality and experimenting with different colours and silhouettes. Even if their last collection was a smash, a jewellery designer must still take risks; refreshing their line so they can their surpass their last achievement.
Next week we’ll look at how to secure customer loyalty and how to communicate your message.