Providence, R.I., May 21, 2018. It’s easy to stay in your own circle—your circle of colleagues, peers, industry resources, and reliable sources of inspiration. In fact, once established, rhythms rarely change. But by altering your view—even just a little bit—you can get a fresher, more valuable firsthand perspective of what’s happening elsewhere. And in the case of those in the jewelry industry, a new look at independent jewelry stores across the U.S. can make a big difference in business.
Many of us read daily or weekly about the state of retail from myriad sources. And though much of what we register can be disheartening, I often see the proverbial glass as half full rather than half empty. Why? Because my full-time position with a major pearl brand frequently takes me to retailers’ stores nationwide. I either travel solo to stores or ride alongside our territory managers, who sometimes cover hundreds of miles in a day. In these travels, I’m no longer observing from a distance—I’m getting up and out of my familiar day-to-day surroundings, circle of colleagues and peers, and sources of information to see retail paradigms in action. And because of these travels, I know there are positive stories to be told.
Freshwater baroque-pearl pendant necklace with diamonds from Imperial Pearl
In these stores, I see the spirit, creativity, enthusiasm, determination, tenacity, risk, fear, and faith of both staffers and owners. I see them giving back to their communities and paying ideas forward. I see enterprising women, men, and families running successful modern jewelry businesses, and every inspiring move I’ve witnessed has left an indelible impression on me.
Some are second, third, and even fourth generations whose predecessors built namesake neighborhood jewelry stores they now call their own. It takes more than DNA to succeed; the challenges of yesterday are different from those of today, but it requires evolution and determination to overcome them.
The jewelers I meet are not deterred by what they hear and read—they know those negative headlines don’t apply to them. They do know, however, that they must define and fill a niche and do it well, be active in their communities, purposeful, authentic, and connected to customers to create their own success. This is what they do and who they are.
Change is necessary and it’s good. To reevaluate, adjust, improve, and move forward is necessary, but we must expand our circles to do so. To get an accurate assessment of any scenario, it’s always best to stay current—to evolve your circle of influence—to view things from a 360-degree point of view.
Have you successfully pivoted or evolved to remain competitive? How have you kept your multigenerational jewelry store fresh, inviting, and successful? Please weigh in on the comments below. I would love to hear about your circle of influence.