“I’ve got gold coins, silver bars, and platinum ingots, but sorry, no Bitcoin!” my friend Brian replied to the customer who interrupted our conversation.
“Why don’t I show you something that you can take home with you today, store in your own safe, is not vulnerable to a hard drive crash or on-line hackers, and is universally accepted?” Brian said as he walked the customer over to another showcase.
By now, you are probably familiar with Bitcoin, and maybe you can even explain blockchain technology to your friends at parties. It’s reached the mainstream already with a Big Bang Theory episode about Bitcoin that aired in November (even if you are not a fan of the show, you should still watch this one episode just to get an understanding of the Bitcoin phenomenon). You may even be taking payment in Bitcoin (if you are, please contact me and let me know how that is working out for you).
A few minutes later, the customer walked out having bought some gold and silver coins. “I don’t really make much money buying or selling bullion,” Brian said. “But, my customers bring me coins and bars that they want to sell, and I can’t turn them away. And, when I go to sell them, everyone knows the price, and there is very little margin on that side.”
“And now it looks like you are going to have to compete with Bitcoin?” I asked.
“You’re right,” Brian replied. “Like gold, Bitcoin is a store of value, and it is not correlated to other asset classes. However, unlike gold, there is no commercial use for it at the moment, pretty much the only people who actually accept it for payment are cloud based companies, drug dealers, and war-lords. It’s vulnerable to hacking, disruption to the internet, competition from newer crypto-currencies, and who knows if the people ‘in charge’ of this don’t just one day flood the market with it. So, I’m not worried about it replacing gold, and lets face it, at some point, Bitcoin could be completely worthless.”
Brian is a very smart retail jeweler. He’s a regular at jewelry shows and state conventions, and regularly attends classes and seminars while he is there. He’s up on all the latest trends, and easily describes the features and benefits of his products and merchandise. He knows how to overcome customer objections and turn them into selling opportunities. He will tell you there is no substitute for education and training.
And that is where The 24 Karat Club comes in. The 24 Karat Club offers a variety of scholarships to members of the jewelry trade to attend seminars, up-grade certification, learn a new skill, or even take business and finance classes. But, unlike Bitcoin, which you can’t see, hold, or even spend on anything, the scholarship money from The 24 Karat Club is real, and easily available to you. Ask your favorite 24 Karat Club member to consider nominating you for one of our scholarships. A list of scholarships and members can be found at www.The24KaratClub.org.
Feel free to thank him or her, or me, with a small token of your appreciation. As for me, I’d prefer a beer over a Bitcoin any day.
Howard Kelrick is President of Finger Mate and a board member of The 24 Karat Club, SEUS. Finger Mate manufactures and installs expandable ring shanks and sells to retail jewelers throughout North America. Contact Howard at 954-458-2700 or e-mail Howard@FingerMate.com.