“We usually start to think about stocking up for the spring and summer seasons in mid-March. This year is when we were asked by our state to shut down until May. Honestly, any thoughts of restocking went out the window, as my focus became how and when we would be able to see our clients in person again. When we did reopen in May, I was surprised at how many categories we were low on – basics like pearl earrings, pendant chains, birthstones, diamond wedding bands, all the things that clients needed ASAP. I’ve managed to haphazardly fill in categories as clients have asked for specific products, which is not the best way to manage inventory, but it’s gotten the job done.
Going forward, I plan to reach out to sales reps to help me in ways they haven’t before. I need help analyzing sales/inventory, and researching new product. Most reps are used to coming into the store and showing me product and that’s it. They sit back and wait to write an order. If they were more proactive, asking for my sales history (not their sales history – it could just be sitting in my case) and inventory, they could get more reorders and help build my sales with them. Retailers are pulled in more directions now than ever before (we sanitize in between every client all cases and inventory touched), and if reps are going to sell product, they must look at their roles differently. Fortunately for them, for established accounts, they might not even have to leave their home. So much info about their products is available online. Line sheets can be emailed for new product. They can create suggested orders based on the above info as well as knowing the retailer’s market. In essence, yes, they need to do what has been the buyer’s or store owner’s job, because there isn’t enough time in the day for us to do it all now. What will suffer? Sales, because of not having the right stock in place. I know this methodology works because I have one rep who has done this for me for years, and we have seen sales grow (and our base inventory stay the same, as she is quick to take back product that hasn’t moved in exchange for new). It’s time for reps to look at their role differently, to the benefit of all. I’m seriously thinking of creating a training model for this to help my reps!
As for the question you asked, we are planning to only reorder basics heading into the fall. I think that in this unsettled time, it’s hard to plan too far ahead, and I don’t want to over order and fall into a cash crunch if we don’t have a good sell through. Hopefully our suppliers will be able to respond quickly if we see demand increase substantially going into the holiday season. As retailers, we’ll need to pay close attention to requests and trends more now than ever before. It’s going to be an interesting third and fourth quarter!”
“I’ve been in business since 1984. I went to Paris Jr. College to master skills in repairing and making fine jewelry. My back ground came as a young girl in art class learning how to cast in silver and cut opals. Went on to high school and we had a teacher that also trained us on carving waxes. I continued to make jewelry throughout my high school years. Then the request to set stones and size rings and repair jewelry came about. I went on to Paris Jr. College to continue to learn this trade. Well, here we are, 44 years later I’m running my own custom retail jewelry store and still sit at bench.
So I have retail customers, but after Texas was hit with Hurricane Harvey I purchased a dental office that I totally remodeled to make it into a perfect custom design studio. Retail is still part of my business but CAD and repairs keep me going. I believe the internet helps and hurts retail. My plans are to continue custom and repair jewelry. I won’t continue to buy designer brands. I have a true unique business for which I have no competition. We do most all work on premises. I will purchase the less than $500 retail items for Christmas. But no more expensive items.
With the storms and our plant [chemical plant explosion] that almost blew us off the map Thanksgiving 2019, and now COVID?? We are lucky to be in business. I have actually had 2 great months for summer. My plans are to continue to make and repair jewelry. As long as people love each other I will always have a job. We must be smart and have the items our customers can afford. I am very busy right now. I owe it to loyal customers that trust me.”
Dana’s Custom Jewelry
Port Neches, Texas
“At My Diamond Shoppe we deal with very few company vendor lines these day, because it is all a click away. We bought heavy pre-COVID and luckily (and I mean LUCKILY) the terms are not until the first of the year. Other than that over the counter buys are going crazy, so we refurbish or put together our own pieces. So much so that I am not sure I am gonna need to balance out the year with vendor lines.”
My Diamond Shoppe
“As an estate jewelry store offering goods on consignment, we don’t buy per say, but instead offer a service to our client base with our consignment model. We are still very much taking in jewelry on consignment as people are eager to clean out their jewelry boxes or have finally gotten around to sorting an inherited jewelry collection. We’ve found our clientele is most interested in jewelry that symbolizes love, family and significant milestones. Since COVID-19, we’ve had more requests for custom jewelry that represents those special moments.
For example, I consulted with a local electrician that has been swamped with business during the pandemic as more folks are spending time at home and upgrading their space. His wife, celebrating her 50th birthday, isn’t much of a jewelry person. I was instructed, ‘no bling!’ After getting to know her virtually, through phone calls with her daughter and viewing family photos, we determined she is most connected to family and nature. We are currently fabricating a ‘tree of life’ pendant that will be adorned with the family’s birthstones. While this is not an uncommon piece of jewelry in the industry, it is the perfect customized birthday gift for her.
During this pandemic, babies often lighten the mood, after all they have no idea anything is going on! Currently we have two families expecting and are designing the perfect push presents. One is custom CAD family crest pendants for everyone, including the new baby and even the family dog! The other project in process is featuring a classic pear shaped ruby surrounded by diamonds, signifying the couples passionate love.
Clients now are open to virtual consults, video calls, text chats, emails, DMs, phone conversations and when local, even curb side delivery. When clients come in store, we highly recommend a private appointment. Instead of having all of our jewelry displayed in showcases, we have taken a concierge approach by pulling special collections for each client to view one-on-one; resulting in long-term loyalty. We review needs, objectives, visions, preferences, and price ranges prior to pulling jewelry for them to view, touch and try on. This allows us to keep our space safe and sanitized while cutting down on unnecessary browsing.
Jewelry has always stood the test of time and will continue to do so for centuries to come. As we look toward the future I expect our inventory will include fabulous pre-owned treasures that exude history and craftsmanship. Our process in working clients will continue to be customized to their needs and we may never go back to regular retail.”
Joint Venture Jewelry | Peachy Keen Boutique
Cary, North Carolina