Created with Sketch.
25 minutes | 6 months ago
JimmyCast (Episode 18): Jeffrey Samuels On How To Build A Business To Support A Lifestyle
This month, Jeffrey Samuels, owner of William Jeffrey’s Jewelers near Richmond, Virginia, joins host Jimmy DeGroot and co-host Doug Meadows of David Douglas Diamonds in Marietta, GA to talk about how a jewelry store owner can build a business that supports their lifestyle. Samuels started in the industry as a loose diamond sales rep covering nine states. He decided to open a retail jewelry store in his hometown of Mechanicsville when his oldest son was born in 1990. At that time, store hours were six days a week from 10 until 8. Today, the store is open Tuesday through Friday until 6 and Saturday until 3. And this year, Samuels will only work four days a week in the store. He discusses how a store owner needs to train their team to take ownership, but more importantly, how the owner has to train himself not to micro-manage and how to ignore that “little gremlin” that says you could have done something better than your employee did it. One impressive feature of Samuels’ operation is that his average inventory turn is 6 — whereas most jewelers have an average turn of about 1. “It’s not about how much you sell,” Samuels says, “but about how much you make in profit.” Samuels goes on to discuss his aversion to traditional advertising and insistence on ROI, and how he’s found reliability in Podium and Google Reviews. He also talks about why he doesn’t sell lab-grown diamonds, gives his thoughts on CRM (customer relationship management) software, and shares his preliminary exit plans.
28 minutes | 10 months ago
JimmyCast (Episode 17): Wilson Lin on Starting a New Business During a Historic Health Crisis
This month, JimmyCast brings you a story of hope — of a business person who fell so hard for metals and gemstones that he felt he needed to open his own jewelry business, even in the face of a historic health crisis. In the episode, host Jimmy DeGroot and co-host Doug Meadows chat with Wilson Lin, a 33-year-old whose family immigrated from China to Nebraska when he was in his teens. After graduating school, Wilson, a non-smoker and non-drinker, decided he had little interest in the family business of liquor and spirits. Instead, he found his passion in working with metals and gemstones. With no history in the jewelry business, getting his foot in the door was difficult for Wilson. He applied and was rejected 13 times for jewelry store positions, before finally getting a job as a bench jeweler’s apprentice at the 14th location — A.T. Thomas in Lincoln, NE. He later worked as a manager at a Zale’s location. Now, however, Wilson taking the biggest step of all — launching his own business, with an opening target of September 1. He talks with Jimmy and Doug about how and why he decided to launch right now, his intended product and service range, as well as other details on how he financed his business and selected a location. Plus, Wilson also discusses the Facebook group he formed for jewelers in a similar position to his, called “First Generation Jewelers”, which now has close to 900 members. (Sign up for the group here.)
45 minutes | a year ago
JimmyCast (Episode 16): Larry Rickert on Working From Home and His Last Big Project
This month, JimmyCast welcomes Larry Rickert, owner of Jim Kryshak Jewelers in Wausau, WI. The two know each other well, as Jimmy was the general manager at Rickert's business from 1996-2007, before leaving to begin his jewelry consultancy business. Amongst other useful business advice, Larry offers timely guidance to jewelry business owners on how to adjust to working from home. In fact, Larry is something of an expert on the matter -- having worked off-site with Jim Kryshak Jewelers since 2005. Larry's most important lesson? Stop micro-managing and trust your people. Since 2005, "the store has continued to grow. Because of the people at the store. Not because of me. It actually was in spite of me. Because I wasn't there. I couldn't micro-manage. I broke my micro-managing tendencies and ... everybody did just fine." Hear more wisdom from Larry, Jimmy and co-host Doug Meadows in the latest episode of JimmyCast.
37 minutes | a year ago
JimmyCast (Episode 15): Jason Druxman on Moving From Corporate Jewelry to Independent Life
This month, Jimmy DeGroot welcomes a guest he knows quite well. In fact, they know each other so well that they can complete each other’s … “… sandwiches?” suggests Jason Druxman, co-owner of Avenue Jewelers in Appleton, WI. Druxman has been in the jewelry business for over 30 years — “which is impossible,” he jokes, “because I’m only 36.” Before taking over Avenue Jewelers (where he worked with DeGroot), the fourth-generation jeweler spent much of his early career in corporate settings — working for Sterling Jewelers’ sub-brands. In the podcast (11:50), he discusses pros and cons of working in a corporate jewelry environment versus an independent one. Druxman describes the corporate business as “very cutthroat, very push-push” but admits he enjoyed it, especially as a young man with an instinct for competitiveness. “It was awesome for me,” says the jeweler, “because I could measure myself against these other thousand stores.” How does independent life compare? As his current business title on his LinkedIn profile and business card (“The Diamond Stud”) indicates, Druxman’s working life is definitely not as stiff and regimented as it use to be. Hear more pros and cons in the latest JimmyCast.
5 minutes | a year ago
Over the Counter (Episode 17): The 12 Days of Xmas ... the Jewelry-Store Version
In this special episode of Over the Counter, host Kyle Bullock grabs a guitar and presents you with his very own, jeweler-specific version of the holiday classic, "The 12 Days of Christmas". We won't spoil it for except to say that, while you won't hear about any partridges in pear trees, one part of the song remains, reassuringly, the same. (Can you guess which part?)
22 minutes | a year ago
JimmyCast (Episode 14): Aleah Arundale on Selling Diamonds and the Power of Jewelers Helping Jewelers
This week, JimmyCast welcomes Aleah Arundale, founder of the popular private Facebook group, Jewelers Helping Jewelers, and a fifth-generation jeweler who works for diamond wholesaler Olympian Diamonds. Chatting with co-hosts Jimmy DeGroot and Doug Meadows, Aleah shares why she created Jewelers Helping Jewelers (4:05), which now has 18,500 members. A few years back, Aleah felt there was something missing in other social media communities. “I wanted a free, open forum where everybody could say whatever they want, whenever they want,” she says. She decided to launch a brand new community for which the primary rule would be having the fewest rules possible. She says she’s proud that, despite the openness and freedom of the group, participants (mostly) get along, providing an important source of advice, support and trading partners to thousands of jewelry professionals who would otherwise struggle to find community. Says Aleah, “This is a testament to show that, if you just let people go, they will show you how wonderful they can be.” Aleah estimates that the group has facilitated more than $1 billion in transactions since its launch, sharing a few anecdotes of jewelers whose businesses and lives were changed by the community, including one jeweler who claims to have done $4 million in business through JHJ. Later in the podcast, Aleah discusses one of her pet peeves — jewelers who refuse to put prices alongside jewelry in the showcase (11:00). Plus, she offers her extremely simple tip for selling more diamonds (13:05).
10 minutes | 2 years ago
Over the Counter (Episode 16): Beauty From Ashes
For his last podcast of the season, Kyle Bullock of Over the Counter tells the story of Emma, a woman whose life was turned upside down when the man she loved and planned to marry died in a car accident. For Emma, the tragedy caused her to completely change the direction of her life. She left community college, where she was studying to become an art teacher, and moved to a different school to try out the art of metalsmithing. Quickly showing promise in her new field, as well as finding comfort in the act of creating jewelry, she decided to build her skills further with a months-long jewelry apprenticeship in Florence, Italy. Emma’s instinctual method of working through her grief was to create beautiful jewelry that was redolent with symbolism. And while her loss remained one of the defining events of her life, she was able to move forward and build a satisfying, deeply meaningful career by fashioning beauty out of the most terrible of losses. There’s a lesson in that for all jewelers, says Kyle. “Don’t ever forget that every and every piece we create or sell means something deeper to the customer that we might ever imagine,” says Kyle. “In the same way, don’t ever forget your own experiences. Owning and managing a jewelry company can bring difficult, sometimes even painful, experiences for you to deal with. It has in my life, for certain. But in the nature of our work, we are given a unique opportunity to shape our circumstances into something beautiful. So, go out and do beautiful work, listeners. The world needs it.”
68 minutes | 2 years ago
The Barb Wire (Episode 11): Jenny O Calleri
Dropping into the Barb Wire for this month’s episode is Jenny “Jenny O” Calleri, the owner of Huntington Jewelers in Las Vegas, NV. A jewelry-industry veteran whose career has seen her move between the supply and retail side in both sales and management, Jenny O finally took her biggest step yet two years ago— becoming the owner of her very own store with the nearly 70-year-old Huntington Jewelers. In the podcast, she discusses what a transformative experience a GIA education can be for a young person in jewelry sales (12:40) and how, after she took her very first GIA gemstone course, she dropped everything — including a “super hot and heavy” relationship with her future husband — sold her house, and went to study at GIA in Carlsbad, CA. Jenny O also talks about her career, and the key lessons she has learned along the way that she is following as she builds the Huntington Jewelers brand. And, recently having had her third child, she describes the challenges of life as a working mom. (35:30) Plus, you’ll also hear why Jenny O believes that Liz Taylor is the ultimate and enduring jewelry icon (44:45).
24 minutes | 2 years ago
JimmyCast (Episode 13): Dave and Spencer Mink On the Importance of Counting Your Traffic
In this month's episode of JimmyCast, host Jimmy DeGroot talks customer data with Dave and Spencer Mink of TraxSales. One of the earliest customer tracking companies, launched in 1996, TraxSales uses an infrared camera system to track door traffic (eliminating visits from your staff and other non-customers like the mailman). The statistics generated can then be integrated with retailers' CRM program, offering the ability to create up to 30 different reports, including closing ratio and a statistic owner/CEO Dave Mink calls "revenue per guest". Hear more about how Dave's big "epiphany" led to the creation of the company in 1996, as well as how you can use customer-tracking data in order to make better management decisions and dramatically improve your sales team's performance.
10 minutes | 2 years ago
Over the Counter (Episode 15): Honesty Pays
Sometimes the jewelry customers most want, or have even dreamed about for years, simply isn't right for them. Owing to our professional expertise, many jewelers know when this is the case. But, as often as not, customers don't. Whether it's a hue that doesn't match a woman's coloring, a design too gaudy for her personality, or a gemstone too large or small for the wearer's proportions, jewelers can typically sense when something is or isn't right for a client. Of course, no jeweler ever enjoys telling someone that the item they covet will make them look awful. However, when you're seeking to create lifetime customers, it pays to be honest — albeit as tactfully as you can. In this episode of Over the Counter, host Kyle Bullock tells the story of Denise Oros of Linnea Jewelers in LaGrange, IL, and what Denise did when a customer entered her store an asked for a very expensive item that simply wasn't right for her. Enjoy the episode. P.S. Fans of Over the Counter and Kyle Bullock won't want to miss this special offer. The author recently released a new book called Mister Christmas, described as "the story of a white-collar loser who has his life turned around when a mysterious stranger offers him a job creating a real-life Santa's toy factory". For listeners of this podcast, Kyle is offering the audiobook version of Mister Christmas for only $3. Go to misterchristmasbook.com to order and use promo code "OTC" at checkout to get the deal.
65 minutes | 2 years ago
The Barb Wire (Episode 10): Ben Smithee
The Barb Wire celebrates its tenth episode with a visit from Ben Smithee, CEO at The Smithee Group (thesmitheegroup.com), a digital consultancy whose mission is "helping big brands think small and small brands think bigger". Talking with host Barbara Palumbo, Ben shares why he decided to originally focus his consultancy on the jewelry business (8:10), and Barbara refers to him as one of the industry's few true "influencers" online (11:10). He talks about his unique upbringing in Dallas as the adopted Asian son of white parents (17:00). Ben's passionate about social media, calling it "the great equalizer" for small businesses (29:30). And he later shares one of his pet peeves -- retailers who can't stop complaining about the things their customers do (32:50). He also cites a specific behavior that he believes, if a retailer performs it daily for the next 365 days, will guarantee them a six-figure increase in their sales (36:20). Later, Ben shares the specific sales pitch he uses with jewelers to convince them to invest in building their social media following (40:30).
49 minutes | 2 years ago
JimmyCast (Episode 12): Kim Gordon on Making the Leap to Jewelry Store Ownership
Kim Gordon is living the dream — it's the dream of owning her own store, the aptly named Dream Jewelers in Oshkosh, WI. Gordon has spent most of her career in jewelry sales, having spent more than a decade as an assistant manager at a Kay Jewelers and, after that, another decade as sales manager at Jim Kryshak Jewelers in Wausau, WI. Then, in 2014, she finally made the leap into jewelry-store ownership, using her life savings to purchase a Wisconsin business called Thimke Jewelers, which she later rebranded as Dream Jewelers. Gordon shares the story of her journey, and tells you how she's launched her business in a challenging competitive environment and on an ultra-tight budget. "I had $20,000 in the bank," she says. "And $20,000 seems like a lot of money ... until you open a jewelry store." Hear the rest of Kim's story on the latest edition of JimmyCast.
8 minutes | 2 years ago
Over the Counter (Episode 14): From Farm to Finger
This month in Over the Counter, Kyle Bullock has his mind on conservation. In the latest episode of his podcast, the owner of Bullock's Jewelry in Roswell, NM, tells a series of interconnected stories related to efforts big and small to make the jewelry industry more friendly to consumers, communities and the planet. These efforts range from the ultra high-profile work of the Diamond Producers Association to promote more responsible diamond mining to the almost entirely overlooked efforts of one of Kyle's own employees, Sherri, who hoards used scraps of paper so they can be re-used in the office. Kyle asks her why she does this. "To help the environment," she says. "And to save money." "But paper is cheap!" says Kyle. "Not to the trees," Sherri answers. Can't argue that. The very important message? Every little bit helps. And no matter what your role in the industry, everybody can do something. Why not start today?
58 minutes | 2 years ago
The Barb Wire (Episode 9): Hayley Henning
Marketing colored gemstone is on the agenda when Hayley Henning visits The Barb Wire with host Barbara Palumbo. Henning is currently vice-president of Greenland Ruby, where she has been working the last two years after spending most of her career as one of the key faces behind the rise of Tanzanite since the mid-1990s. (In fact, Barbara says that before she knew Hayley personally, she thought of her as “the Tanzanite lady”.) The South African native shares some of her personal journey (2:55) from her homeland to a career in the U.S., working for a company called Afgem that eventually became the well-known Tanzanite One. Hayley calls the company’s efforts to market Tanzanite "the start of colored gemstone marketing as we know it today". (6:55) Now Hayley is involved in a similar effort to increase public and industry acceptance of Greenland ruby (12:10). Her company, Greenland Ruby, is the first business with government permission to mine, market and sell ruby material found in Greenland. Says Henning: "There is no real instruction manual on how to introduce a new gemstone to the gem and jewelry industry. But we're figuring it out." She is passionate about the story behind Greenland rubies. Says the executive: “It's not as though we went to some fancy marketing agency to say, "Alright, help us make up a story. We are telling the story of a gemstone that has been buried under ice and snow for nearly 3 billion years." (25:20) Later you’ll hear some of the work Hayley is doing with retailers to promote rubies from Greenland, as well as best practices for retailers looking to introduce new gemstone varieties. Want to learn more about marketing colored gemstones to your customers? Don't miss Hayley Henning on The Barb Wire.
34 minutes | 2 years ago
JimmyCast (Episode 11): The Dumbest Things We've Ever Done
If making mistakes is the best way to learn, then the latest episode of JimmyCast promises to be a tremendous learning experience. In the episode, Jimmy DeGroot and co-host Doug Meadows each share five dumb things they've seen jewelers do in their jewelry stores. "This includes us," notes Jimmy. "Actually, my list is mostly mine," says Doug. Tales shared include a pyrotechnic prank gone wrong (3:40), a store owner who brought in a new sales trainer to work with his team, only to completely sabotage the effort before it even began (11:30), plus an expensive lesson from a jewelry con artist (20:00). Says Jimmy, "This is a good episode for learning what not to do in your jewelry store."
6 minutes | 2 years ago
Over the Counter (Episode 13): One Final Wish
In the latest episode of Over the Counter, host Kyle Bullock tells the story of one of the most memorable custom-design sales of Sandra Locken of Sarini Fine Jewellery in Vulcan, Alberta, Canada. In the heartbreaking tale, the jeweler creates a rush job for a woman dying of terminal cancer, who is holding onto life by creating jewelry memories for her family in her final days. Kyle concludes: "Remember that what we do In the jewelry business goes far beyond little hunks of metal. We are invited to share in the expression of people's hearts and souls in a very real, very emotional, and very honest way."Enjoy the story. (Have those tissues ready.)
33 minutes | 2 years ago
JimmyCast (Episode 10): Secrets of Cool From EAT Gallery
In this month’s episode of JimmyCast, hosts Jimmy DeGroot and Doug Meadows chat with the manager of the winning store in the “Small Cool” division of INSTORE’s America’s Coolest Stores”, EAT Gallery of Maysville, KY. Katherine Cotterill, manager at EAT Gallery, has an eclectic past, including more than three years spent in New Zealand and Samoa (2:30). She talks about how she was hired to run the store in 2016 by Simon and Laurie Watt, owners of colored gemstone dealers Mayer & Watt, who had opened EAT Gallery in the early 2000s as a side project (5:30). The discussion continues to cover EAT’s attention-getting (and occasionally confusing to visitors) neon “EAT” sign (9:15), which had previously identified a diner that was a town fixture for 50 years. “We are definitely not a restaurant,” says Cotterill. “But we do say that we’ll feed your soul.” As for the big question of how many visitors per week come in, thinking it’s a restaurant? “At least a couple a week,” says Cotterill. Hear more of the conversation — including tips on how to make a tiny business stand out with marketing and product selection — in this month’s JimmyCast.
7 minutes | 2 years ago
Over the Counter (Episode 12): A Flash of Cash
In this month's Over the Counter, we bring you several short stories aimed at reminding you of what is most important in life. It is so easy to go day by day, nose to the grindstone, that we lose sight of what matters. In fact, we may start to believe that work is what is most valuable — that our identity comes from work, or wealth, or from accomplishments. And the truth is, it doesn’t.
50 minutes | 2 years ago
The Barb Wire (Episode 8): Craig Husar of Craig Husar Designs
Watch collectors, vintage jewelry, adventures in treasure hunting, and a showplace new store are on the agenda when jeweler Craig Husar steps into the Barb Wire this month. Husar is the owner and self-titled "Chief Romance Officer" at Craig Husar Fine Diamonds & Jewelry Designs in Brookfield, WI. Husar's spectacular new store, which is located opposite a major new lifestyle center, opened in January. Says the owner about the difficult store-creation process: “I was relentless. I’ve never been so focused and passionate about making something happen in my life. And it was that passion, that drive, that led me here. It was almost like, knowing somehow, that this was my destiny, to be here and nothing was going to stop me.”
34 minutes | 2 years ago
JimmyCast (Episode 9): Open the Dang Box
Open the box. That’s the central theme of the latest edition of JimmyCast. By “opening the box”, Jimmy and Doug mean jewelers’ tendency to grasp for things — a training course, a new technology, or a hot line of jewelry — but then not do what they have to do in order to ensure that the new purchase positively impacts their business. Says Jimmy: “A lot of time people regard training as a pill, and as they write the check, they think “This is gonna fix me, this is gonna fix me.” But then those jewelers get the training package back to their store, and they never open the box.Learn why jewelers keep making this common mistake, and how you can be sure to "open the box" in the future.
Terms of Service
Do Not Sell My Personal Information
© Stitcher 2021