Want straight talk about the toughest marketing and management issues facing jewelry retailers? Then we've got the podcast for you — JimmyCast, hosted by marketing guru Jimmy DeGroot of the Jewelry Marketing Institute, with moral support and important insights from the retail front lines supplied by co-host Doug Meadows, owner of David Douglas Diamonds in Marietta, GA.
JimmyCast (Episode19): Trade Shows Mixdown
This month, JimmyCast dives into a timely topic: trade shows. In this episode, host Jimmy DeGroot and co-host Doug Meadows of David Douglas Diamonds in Marietta, GA share a fun and lively conversation about why shows are important, what retailers can get out of them and how to make the most of your time there.
As Doug says, it’s not about just going to buy. It’s about going to learn and meet people as well. “I pray for those divine appointments and connections,” he says.
Jimmy talks about best practices he learned over the years and how much that helped him make the most of his time at the shows. Doug reminisces about his first time going to the Vegas shows and how much he learned from a fellow retailer’s buyer. And both discuss how being at shows can make you feel like part of the larger retail community.
Several fun stories are shared, including the time Doug brought friends as a “babysitting service” for his wife so that she could have fun while he was at the show, as well as the time that Jimmy and Doug bunked together at a certain trade show that used to take place in Chicago.
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.
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.)
(Season 1, Ep. 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.
(Season 1, Ep. 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.
(Season 1, Ep. 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).