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“Customer experience is the next competitive battleground. It’s where business is going to be won or lost.” ~ Tom Knighton

Like it or not, the holiday season is upon us once again. You’ve had your store decorated for weeks, your holiday marketing strategy has already rolled out, and yet, despite the best laid plans, you aren’t seeing the traffic you had hoped to draw from Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.

If your customer count is feeling a little thin, and your year to date seasonal sales aren’t quite where you had hoped them to be, we’ve got a few last minute tips that can help you engage customers and build up your bottom line during the last few weeks of the 2016 holiday season.

#1) Marketing plans aren’t set in stone. If the marketing strategy you’ve decided to use for the holiday season isn’t giving you the returns you’d hoped for - change it up! Seasonal ad buys for radio and television may be concrete in terms of the dollar amount you’ve committed to, but media outlets want their customers to be happy. If you don’t think the ad dollars you’ve committed to local radio and television are bringing you the customer response you had hoped for, talk to your sales rep right away! Don’t be shy about asking for some special considerations, such as some extra on-air spots, or more social media promotion. Traditional media companies are losing money, and customers, by the minute, and they want you to be happy. Chances are they will be happy to work with you to help you reach your goals. A happy advertiser is a great customer, and we all want great customers!

#2) Consider hosting a last-minute holiday event, such as a trunk show or a “Stocking Stuffer” jewelry sale. These types of events can be planned with minimal effort, and if your staff is stretched to its limits, consider using a company such as TK Enterprises, Inc., to maximize your customer reach and success. I spoke with Heidi Kaufmann, who manages the events division for TK Enterprises, Inc., and asked her to share some information on how their Retail Marketing division can help with last minute holiday events. 

Heidi explained that the Retail Event Marketing division of TK Enterprises, Inc. provides a service specifically designed for jewelers who are looking to increase event traffic. TK Enterprises, Inc. places phone calls to existing customers, and personally invites them to store events. Heidi says phone calls are highly effective at delivering the message of the event to the customer, due to the fact that the TK Enterprises, Inc. callers will either speak directly with the customer or leave an enthusiastic voice mail about your upcoming event. Heidi says it’s important to remember your in-store holiday event can not only serve as encouragement for your customers to purchase their gifts, but also as an opportunity for them to do a little holiday shopping for themselves. Find more information on holiday party planning with TK Enterprises, Inc., online at www.tomkaufmann.com/holiday-parties-and-jewelry-go-hand-in-hand/  or contact Heidi directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 519-250-3955.

#3) There’s still time left to incorporate the spirit of charity and holiday giving into your 2016 seasonal sales. Now is the perfect time to establish charitable giving into your store by getting involved with the Million Key Movement. The Million Key Movement is a nationwide, causal-related jewelry program created to generate the largest ever charitable contribution to Jewelers For Children with a goal of raising over $1,000,000 as well as to spread the positive brand message of Love is the Key®. Whether love is found in family, friends, life, faith, happiness or success, Love is the Key® jewelry is meant to empower, support, and inspire us to put love in everything we do.

Vardi Company, in conjunctions with participating retailers, will donate 10% of the retail price of these specially-designed jewelry pieces to Jewelers For Children. Please join the Vardi Company this holiday season and make a meaningful impact on the lives of children in need and help spread happiness and love all around! You can find more information on the Million Key Movement online now at www.millionkeymovement.com/.

And last, but not least, if you find yourself with a few minutes to spare during the next few weeks, I’d like to encourage you to participate in a quick survey for one of our Southern Jewelers Guild partners, 1 Step Technologies. 1 Step Technologies is seeking feedback from retail jewelers about their perceptions of jewelry management software. Whether you are happy or not with your current software, do not use one or are considering, it does not matter, your feedback to the 10 questions are crucial for our market research. All responses are anonymous and confidential unless you indicate such with notes. 

The survey will take no more than 60 seconds. Please visit www.surveymonkey.com/r/YCRGLX6 and provide your insight.  Thank you, in advance, for taking the time to participate!

Have questions about the Southern Jewelers Guild or want more information about membership? I’m here to help! E-mail me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 504-615-1191.


Darling Imports’ new catalog on the way

Company will honor old catalog prices through end of year

Over the next week Darling Gem Imports customers will be receiving the company’s new catalog. The new catalog features new items, updated pricing, and a new color chart. However, since the catalog has come out in the middle of the holiday rush, they have decided to honor old pricing until the new year. The new catalog prices will take effect starting the first of January.


112 million consumers shop & dine on Small Business Saturday – more than ever before

More than 6,700 small businesses and organizations signed up to be Neighborhood Champions, a 63% increase from approximately 4,100 in 2015

As Small Business Saturday wrapped up its seventh year on Saturday, November 26th, the outpouring of support for local businesses across the country hit record highs with 72% of U.S. consumers aware of the day. More shoppers reported visiting local independent businesses on Small Business Saturday this year than ever before, according to results from the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, released today by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and American Express. This year, an estimated 112 million consumers reported shopping at small businesses on Small Business Saturday, marking a 13 percent increase from 2015.

Court blocks plan to extend overtime pay


LAS VEGAS (AP) — In a blow to the Obama administration's labor-law plans, a federal court has blocked the start of a rule that would have made an estimated 4 million more American workers eligible for overtime pay heading into the holiday season.

As a result of Tuesday's ruling, overtime changes set to take effect Dec. 1 are now unlikely be in play before vast power shifts to a Donald Trump administration, which has spoken out against Obama-backed government regulation and generally aligns with the business groups that stridently opposed the overtime rule.

Russian scientists extract gold from coal

coal gold

It may not be pure alchemy, but a team of Russian scientists from the Scientific Center of Amur has discovered how to extract one gram of gold from a ton of coal.

By analyzing the structure of coal from different deposits in the Amur River region for 15 years, the group realized that each ton of solid fuel from the Erkovetskiy basin contains about a gram of the precious metal.

The ratio of gold to coal was ascertained through actual extraction and filtration. So far though, the filtration process has only been experimentally tested, but it is slated for installation for commercial use in 2017, the press service of the Far Eastern Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences reported.