It’s a new year and a new me? Hah! I’d like to think so, but since I’ve never changed with the changing of the calendar before, I’m going to just assume this new year will be no different. So what will this new year bring? Well, I’m no expert, but I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night, so here’s what I’m thinking.
It’s going to continue to drop throughout the year. Oh how I’d love to see $400 gold again. But just because I want it to happen doesn’t mean it will happen. Is $600 gold possible? I think so. First, you have to understand the reason that gold shot up to almost $2,000 an ounce. It had nothing to do with the rarity or scarcity of the mineral. It didn’t get harder to find or more difficult to mine. If anything, modern technology has made mining more efficient. It was panic that caused it to skyrocket. Now, many years later, that ‘panic mode’ has subsided and gold is not as ‘golden’ in the eyes of the doomsday preppers. So I predict the price will continue to slowly drop throughout the year. I’ve always said, “I wish that the gold that jewelers use could be different from the gold that people buy because they think the sky is falling.” Well, the sky almost fell, but it’s still up there, so gold will continue to fall in price. Yeah!
The Stock Market
I think it’s about at the top of its rapid climb and will hover around this point most of the year. We’re going to see normal fluctuations with occasional wide swings in the market just so the media can overreact and send chills throughout the country. But then a week later it will be right back where it was the week before.
As a long time business journalist, I’ve followed the stock market to understand how it affects those of us that run small businesses. The stock market is, in essence, a reflection of the health of the largest employers in America. If a company’s stock is strong and growing, then their business is strong and growing. If the major employers are strong and growing, then jobs are stable and people are comfortable spending money on things that they really don’t need – like our goods and services. What can I say, we’re not delivering life-saving heart medicine here. We’re a luxury item and a strong stock market is good for us.
That’s a tough one. As a person who has to pull up to the gas pumps and watch it drain my bank account far too often, I’m all for cheap oil. Here in Nashville, TN, the cheaper the gas, the better the economy. But out in west Texas, it’s a whole different story.
A lot of people compare the gold market to the oil market when comparing commodities. But the difference is that nobody needs to buy gold (except us jewelers). Oil, on the other hand, is a commodity that every single person reading this column has to purchase on a regular basis. If it goes up, a lot of people are happy, but a lot of people are also extremely unhappy too. With oil at an all-time low, there are untold thousands of jobs that have been lost because a major segment of the economy just laid off the bulk of their work force. As much as I love cheap oil and cheap gas, I also sympathize with all of those affected by it.
The Business Climate
I feel good about it. We’ve had a rough ride these last 7 or 8 years and I’m ready for some fun again. I’m not worried about how I’m going to make it month to month anymore. I’m now more focused on how I can grow and expand and increase revenues. During the recession, so many of us were in ‘hunker down’ mode, just trying to keep the rent paid and the lights on. It’s hard to make that switch and get your mind out of that way of thinking.
The Great American Recession was a life changing event for millions of people, and almost every company in the jewelry industry was negatively impacted for years on end. But, history proves that after most major recessions, there are years of solid, sustained economic growth. So I’m trying to wrap my mind around that and not be so darned gun-shy about spending money on business investments.
Oh dear, who can even fathom what we’re going to have to learn this year? I still haven’t fully grasped whatever I was supposed to grasp in 2012. It’s so difficult to plan your marketing these days. You can’t commit too far out because the way we reach our customers changes every quarter it seems. I’m still sold on Facebook for getting my products out there in the marketplace, but I haven’t gotten a grip on the numbers yet. If 100 people walk in my store and tell me how much they like a $95 item that I have in stock, I’m probably going to sell at least 20 of them. Yet, I have one item on my company Facebook page that has over 12,000 likes, and over 1,200 shares. All 1,200 of those shares are from women tagging their husbands or boyfriends telling them that they want this. I think I’ve sold 5. How can 1,200 men, trying to figure out what to get their wife or girlfriend for Christmas, not get the hint and order the darned thing? I don’t get it, but I’m still trying.
New Year’s Resolutions
I don’t know why I even consider them. I never follow through. My resolution this year was to finally take control of my finances instead of letting them control me. And, that was my resolution the year before, and will probably be my next one too. Maybe I should just pray for world peace. There’s a better chance of that happening than me sitting down and balancing my checkbook on a regular basis.
What’s going to be HOT this year
Summer! I’ve never been any good at predicting the trends. I wish I could, but it’s not in my DNA. If I’m lucky, Touched Impressions’ newest offering, ‘The Forever Note’ will be the HOT jewelry item of the year… but that’s just because I own the company. But honestly, it’s a pretty cool product. We can take a note written by a loved one and duplicate it on a silver charm. Check it out at www.TouchedImpressions.com.
Alright, it’s 2016, and I just finished my 38th year in this industry and I’m feeling good about the future for the first time in a long time. Now let’s all go sell something!
Chuck is the owner of Anthony Jewelers in Nashville, TN. Chuck also owns CMK Co., a wholesale trade shop that specializes in custom jewelry and repair services to the jewelry industry nationwide. If you would like to contact Chuck or need a speaker or instructor for your next conference/event he can be reached at 615-354-6361, www.CMKcompany.com or send e-mail to email@example.com.