Recipe for creating a tribe

Great book

Great book

In today’s market place, it is possible to create a tribe of “fans of your brand” using some planning and the vast array of social networking tools. So what is the formula?
First, discern what makes your brand different. This is a very important challenge. Often it is you and your staff that makes up your business “DNA.” Think about these people not in term of who they are and what they look and act like, but in the unique talents they are. Begin to speak those talents until that becomes part of your store identity. If a staff person leaves, he or she takes their part of that identity with them. That does not mean that those talents aren’t replaceable. The important part is to create the recipe of talents you want your store to be and speak that recipe.
The second part of creating your jewelry tribe is living up to your promises and exceeding expectation. It is very important that everyone in your store understands the importance of all promises that are made. It is always better to not promise something and then be able to achieve the goal, than the reverse. Make your promises very carefully. Next is exceeding expectation. The current “bar” for expectation is very low and getting lower. Service is an expensive part of a business and is often a place that owners become cheap about. That is great news! To exceed expectation, you only need to be a little better that what the consumer is used to other places. In other words, your store can be pretty average and still exceed expectation, but this is not what I am advocating. I think your business service needs to shine! This makes your satisfaction level go “through the roof” and your customers become the best source of advertising you could ever have!
Now, it is time to create tribe! With the current social networking tools that are available, you create a “space” to connect all of your businesses advocates and let them tell your story. If you have done a good job on the first two steps, the third happens with very little encouragement. If you want to see what one of our (Krombholz Jewelers) spaces looks like and does, become a fan of Krombholz on facebook!

Office environments

A friend of mine, David Coffey, is proactively directing his company, Modern Office Environments, in a positive approach of the future. His in store gatherings are making the news!

Simmons Jewelry Company Decks SpongeBob

67537-011609_spongebobl2New York–Nickelodeon’s most rapt audience for its SpongeBob SquarePants cartoon might be the school-age set, but the show also counts die-hard fans well past elementary school, and the Simmons Jewelry Co. is betting on that with a new jewelry line.

In honor of SpongeBob SquarePants’ 10th anniversary, the Simmons Jewelry Co., together with Nickelodeon and Viacom Consumer Products, is creating a fine-jewelry and watch line inspired by the show.

The collection was kicked off with the creation of an exclusive pendant to be auctioned off for charity. The $75,000 pendant, crafted in 18-karat yellow and white gold, features 12 carats total weight of diamonds, including colorless diamonds and color-enhanced diamonds in SpongeBob’s signature yellow, red and blue.

The piece will make its display debut in Park City, Utah, during the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and will be auctioned off at a later date, with proceeds to benefit the Diamond Empowerment Fund.

“We are always looking for innovative ideas to develop fine jewelry, and the Nickelodeon partnership to license SpongeBob is the perfect addition to the Simmons Jewelry Co. family,” Simmons Jewelry Co. co-owner Russell Simmons said in a media release.

The collection will feature designs for both men and women and will be available at fine-jewelry and specialty retailers in fall 2009, with pieces retailing between $150 and $75,000.

This article has been reprinted from January issue of National Jeweler

Hot colors for 2009

There are always a flurry of discussion at the beginning of the years about the new hot colors will be for 2009. Pantone has selected the color Mimosa, a warm, engaging yellow.

Color of 2009

Color of 2009

Jewelry trend watcher, Cynthia A. Sliwa, states the limitations of this color for many people based on their general skin tone.

I will be watching the streets of Cincinnati for the arrival of this color!

Mimosa in fashion

Mimosa in fashion

De Vroomen

De Vroomen Enameled Pin

De Vroomen Enameled Pin

The following article is copied from the De Vroomen Web site.


Leo de Vroomen is recognized today as one of the world’s most prestigious designers of bespoke jewelry. Born in Holland during the Second World War, Leo was the youngest of eight siblings and the family tulip growing business was long since spoken for.

From an early age he dreamed of a more artistic life, a world away from farming. Following his apprenticeship in The Hague and qualifying as a Master Goldsmith in Switzerland he came to London in 1965.

Whilst lecturing in jewelry design at the Central School of Art and Design (now Central St. Martins) he met Ginnie, his future wife, design partner and muse. This successful relationship resulted in the formation of De Vroomen Design.
Interest from top retailers in the UK and the US ensued. The company expanded rapidly and the distinctive De Vroomen style gained an international reputation. It received many accolades including twice the coveted De Beers Diamonds International Award. De Vroomen also holds the 2001 Award for Best in Design, Haute Couture, the “Oscar” of the jewelry industry, presented in Phoenix Arizona.

In 1991, in recognition of De Vroomen’s uncompromising pursuit of the highest standards in craftsmanship and design the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths presented an exhibition of jewelry by De Vroomen in London’s prestigious Goldsmith’s Hall, the ultimate accolade.
In June 2002 Leo de Vroomen decided to focus on his own retail outlet and opened an elegant boutique in Belgravia’s Elizabeth Street, London SW1.

The shop provides a showcase for the collection as well as offering a bespoke design service for customers seeking jewelry that is personal and exclusive. Many will make an appointment with Leo to discuss the item they might like to buy from the collection or to explore the possibilities of having something designed especially for them. Either option is a most enjoyable process and will very likely take place whilst enjoying a glass or two of bubbly.

De Vroomen’s strong sculptural forms make a clear individual statement, encapsulating elegance and sophistication.

Each De Vroomen piece is a work of art made by the finest craftsmen with exquisite attention to detail.

I am deeply passionate about my jewelry. To create something innovative, dynamic and beautiful without compromise is always exciting. But the real pleasure comes from seeing it worn by the right woman with confidence and pleasure”.

If you want to learn more about this artist, go to his website:

We need others opinions and help!

This is a great perspective on why we need other peoples help, published in “InStore Magazine, November 2008”

Reading the future

Reading the future

The Losing Hand of Playing Solitaire

I USED TO PLAY a lot of solitaire. Over time, I learned I was playing a game designed to make me lose. There was no way to tell from the hand whether the next cards would fall properly. There was only luck, and the game was designed to keep me playing, and keep me losing.

Now I’m in another game, this one called retail. And I have a real tool that is almost never used by retailers, a tool I should use more often. You see, in solitaire, you play alone. In business, you have a tool that helps you predict what will be hot, prevent losses, figure out what displays are working, even judge which media to use. That tool is other people.

You haven’t noticed them yet? They are on your staff and reading all the magazines you don’t have time to read. They are cutting your hair and would love to talk about their jewelry. They are your best customers, brought together for lunch and a discussion.

Still want to play solitaire? Trust me, you’ll lose.
Jeff McCandless has been in retail management for 30 years and is now general manager for J.E. Caldwell’s Center Valley, PA, store. E-mail him at

Marriage Proposal Ideas

Marriage proposal ideas: #1 Do it outside…the proposal that is.. pack a 5 star, upscale picnic with champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, and other such gourmet luxuaries. If you have one, go to one of your favorite natural spots for the picnic. Present her with a list of 100: unique things that you have done together, inside jokes, favorite moments, etc. After she has eaten the delicious meal and read the list, she will be like putty in your hand….. Pull out the ring and ask her if she will be yours forevor

– Marriage proposal ideas: #2 Do something special to a momento that you have from one of your dates. i.e. Frame a movie ticket stub from the first movie you went to together. Go back to the place where you had your first date. Reminisce about all the good times you’ve had together since you’ve started dating. Present her with the momento and talk about how you’ve had so many adventures together and how you never want that to end. After she’s squealed over the momento and how thoughtful you are, pull out the ring and pop the question. This will be a night that she will remember forever and you will look like one, romantic stud.

– Marriage proposal ideas: #3 Have a t-shirt printed up that says “The next Mrs. _______ (insert your last name).” Cook a romantic dinner at home for her. When the timing is right after dinner, tell her you bought something for her. Present the t-shirt (which should be elegantly wrapped up in a gift-box). As her eyes are bulging over as she reads the tshirt, pull out the ring and ask away.

– Marriage proposal ideas: #4 Take her to your childhood neighborhood. Show her some of the special spots that you loved growing up. At the last spot, get down on one knee and propose. Have a fabulous evening planned following the proposal

"Current" antique style engagement ring

"Current" antique style engagement ring