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Old 10th April 2007, 03:47 PM   #1
Krissy's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Mpls/St.Paul
Posts: 4
Default Best Option?

Hi All!

I'd really love to hear your opinions on which option would be the better one here. The options pertain to the opening of a small retail/repair/custom jewelry shop in a small town.

My husband currently works full time for a larger jewelry store and does custom work and misc.work for other shops after hours. He does his after hours work both at the store where he works, and at home where he keeps his bench and tools. With the new store he'll be able to do his side account work at the new store, along with daily repair work and custom work by appointment. We recently decided that we'll also offer medium and lower price point jewelry in the store also. So during the day I'll man the store taking in repair work, setting appointments for custom work, and selling the medium and lower priced pieces. It's become clear to us that we made that decision without putting enough thought into it!

I'm currently taking classes which will eventually make me a Certified Gemologist. I'm barely into the first class which is 3 months long. There are two additional classes which, at completion, will give me a certificate as an Accredited Jewelry Professional. With that certificate I should be knowledgeable in the management of a retail jewelry store, and also in colored stones, diamonds and jewelry sales.

Here's the dilema....... We have found a fabulous store front on Main Street. The landlord and the city are excited to have us coming in and have offered us a very nice low rent at a 1 year lease with assistance in wiring for security, lighting and storefront signage. We began the conversations with the landlord with the thought of opening in early/mid June of this year. We could have our equipment in by then, along with a nice inventory of pieces for retail sale. The problem is that if a customer comes in the door and asks a question about gemstones/diamonds, ect, I have a very limited knowledge to share! I would hate to tell a customer......."I don't know, my jeweler will be in at 6!"

So the options we're considering are
1) Open the store selling less expensive pieces, taking in repairs and setting custom appointments without me having much knowledge. This might result in a potential customer not coming back after I'm unable to answer a question for them.
2) Hold off on opening the store until I complete at least the first course in the Gemology degree. This would probably result in losing the store front, which really is a great spot. I'm sure there will be another spot somewhere in town to lease in 3 months, but maybe not right on Main Street.

This is a large tourist town in the summer. The closest jeweler is 20 minutes away in the closest larger town. The demographics show that the building going on in and around this small town would support a jeweler.

Your thoughts? Thanks!

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Old 10th April 2007, 04:10 PM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Woodland Park Co.
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Well, you dont have to know alot to sound like you do. There are basics of jewels such as what kind of inclusions, the cut, etc. All this can be learned very quickly online. You can even order cardboard displays explaining to the customers what the basics are. You can use it as a follow along with the customer. I am sure you know far more than I do about it. Maybe you should look into sales techniques and learn how to be a great sales person. Ive sold alot of stuff I knew nothing about ,but i'm confident the customer went away feeling informed.As time passes you will become extremely knowledgeable and be able to sell your product with ease. Jump right on in. Dont hesitate and spend major bucks, you can school yourself on alot of things. It sounds like this door is being opened up in front of you. An amazing oportunity. Be excited about it, you'll do just fine especially learning from the vast experience your husband has. Complimenting each others skills like that make success an easier factor to achieve.
Oh i just noticed you said the location is great and that youd be the only jeweler , and that you have already nailed down that the demographics support the business. Real no brainer now. Location is everything. Its not just a catchy phrase. Go for it. But i'm not the cautious type. I crash n burn and get up and go again. Hope you have amazing success.

Last edited by stagecoach; 10th April 2007 at 04:15 PM.
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Old 10th April 2007, 04:45 PM   #3
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Location: Mpls/St.Paul
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Thanks Todd! I AM excited about it, and it would be just like me to jump right in with excitement being my only asset! I tend to be extremely impulsive and my husband is far more conservative. I also think that what I don't know about the piece of jewelry, I can make up with enthusiasm. But....(isn't there always a butt?!).....This little venture leaves very little room for error! I'm unemployed right now and this shop is taking the place of other gainful emplyoyment.....and all our savings too! I really want to be seen as a knowledgeable store with quality service and product. With the major jewelry stores as our competition, the only benefit we have (granted it's HUGE), is that we are local, we know the area, we can establish a personal relationship with our town (ie. wish lists, postcards to spouses when an "event" day is coming up, ect) and that we're good at what we do.

My Husband is good at what he does......I'm just in the learning stage!

Thanks for the input.....I love the enthusiasm coming from you. I feel it too and am just trying to make sure I'm not leading everything with blind enthusiasm!

I guess it boils down to what is more inviting to a customer......New and excited and learning with the expertise actually belonging to my husband (of course I'd tell EVERYBODY about my exciting new classes and future degree as a gemologist!).................or calm and steadfast and patient and knowledgeable (and maybe a day late and a dollar short!)

Thanks again, Todd!

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Old 10th April 2007, 05:25 PM   #4
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Location: Hampton Roads, VA
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If you're one page of the manual ahead of the others, you're the expert.

Go for it. If you get in a real bind, just explain that the registered gemologist will be in later. If you've had one class you know more than I do.

And don't let them cut the counters testing the diamonds.....

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Old 10th April 2007, 05:49 PM   #5
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Location: Mpls/St.Paul
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Thanks Pete, for your thoughts.
Some of my reservations also come from never owning/operating a retail shop before! We don't know what the heck we're doing! But, we DO know what the heck we like, and we know the type of shop we'd like to be in and own, and we know jewelry....ok, well, hubby does.....and I soon Will! Ha! I've learned SO much about in the last month or so reading and studying about marketing and advertising.

Perhaps Todd had a great point in studying up on sales techniques and retail operations also.? Oh Man........that puts me back at square one!!! Should I do that BEFORE or AFTER we open the shop!?? I'm beginning to see how people just can talk themselves right out of success! Or even trying for it! Oy!

This is going to be SUCH a learning experience! I sure hope I can afford it!

Thanks again, Pete!

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Old 10th April 2007, 07:21 PM   #6

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Florida
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If you wait until you learn it all...you'll never get started. While knowledge and research will be important...don't keep putting it off until you "know more." It sounds like you have a huge opportunity here...so I say go for it!!!

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