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How to Build a Booming Jewelry Repair Business

Jewelry Repair Business Blog Header

On average, your jewelry repair business contributes 15% or more to your top line, while accounting for 60% of your foot traffic. Most jewelers aren’t making as much from their jewelry repair business as they could. So, we reached out to David Brown, the CEO of the Edge Retail Academy (ERA) to look over the data. As the industry’s dominant consulting service, they gather and analyze impressive amounts of data from cooperating jewelers.

 

Here are five areas to review when building a booming jewelry repair business—

 

FTB by the numbers Jewelry Repair Business

The Edge Retail Academy Data

The graphic above reflects ERA facts collected over the past three years. In that time, the average repair price has risen about $0.08/month or $1/ year. These gains are minimal. Ask yourself: Have the costs of labor, equipment, and supplies remained similarly static? You know the answer to that question. At the very least, you should use this information to re-evaluate your pricing.

Get the Price Right

If you already own David Geller’s Blue Book and have adjusted your prices accordingly, you’re good. If not, that’s an excellent place to start. Many jewelers fear that by raising rates, they’ll scare off customers — effectively sending them to a competitor. Geller delves into this idea and explains that it isn’t true. You can charge more and attract more repair customers than ever. It’s a win-win proposition for you.

Communication Matters

To succeed, you must take a close look at how you sell your repair services. One of the most fundamental issues involves effective communication between you and your sales staff and their interactions with customers. How well have you trained your salespeople to assess and take in repairs? Do they know to perform a proper evaluation? Do they know when to call on your expertise for an assessment? Do they know and clearly explain the upsell options?

What Exactly Happens?

In eight out of ten cases, once a customer understands all that goes into the repair, the price is not an issue. You also build trust by educating the customer about a repair. Along these lines, we see an increasing number of retailers choosing to locate their benches where customers can watch the jeweler at work. This activity attracts customers into the store and lets them see for themselves how bench jewelers work.

Word of Mouth — It’s Powerful!

When a customer brings you a repair, explain the steps involved and the years of experience required to accomplish the repair. This assures them of the value they’ll receive. Armed with this knowledge, these satisfied customers will become your best promoters. Chances are strong they’ll mention the experience to multiple friends and acquaintances, and a number of them will bring you their jewelry repairs. A trustworthy jewelry repair business can help improve your product sales closing rate through the trust earned in your repair shop.

Jewelry Repair Business Social Share Image

 

Read more from the latest From the Bench Repair Issue here


 




Organize Your Bench

An organized shop is a more efficient one. How much time do you waste daily looking for tools? If you don’t think you do, log your actions for a day. Are you surprised? You can completely control misplaced tools by assigning each a designated space. Now label the location so you can easily spot when anything is out of place.

  • Keep accessories and consumable goods stored within easy reach of their coordinating equipment.
  • Use compartmentalized boxes to organize quick-turn repair needs: earring backs, lobster clasps, spring rings, jump rings, imitation birthstones, fabricated metals, etc.
  • Bench top organizers can help maintain an orderly bench all within easy reach.
  • Store extra buffs and rouges in drawers at your polishing station.
  • Keep your burs organized and labeled in one of our handy bur holders.

The bench is your foundation. While no jeweler’s bench is exactly like another, these suggestions ensure you’ve fully optimized your workspace in a way that works best for you.

 

Foredom® Bench System: A Must-Have

The Foredom® Bench System brings ultimate organization to your workspace. The raised swinging arm attachments allow for quick and easy tool storage and eliminate bench-top clutter, all while keeping necessities within your reach. The add-on options for this gadget are endless: from a pivoting LED light bar, an accessory tray, a bur holder, a double sided magnetic tool arm or a double motor hanger, just to name a few. This tool system will transform your effectiveness at the bench while the endless accessory options allow for step-by-step additions that won’t break your budget.

 


Bur Holders

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Compartmental Storage

Fill these handy drawers with different types of findings, stringing materials, solder chips, and anything else to get the job done. This clear-view tray with magnetic closure includes 24 vials with swing-top lids. This utility cabinet features 60 drawers to keep small parts separate and easy to find. The one piece frame even has keyhole slots for wall mounting.
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Plier Holders

This plastic plier rack keeps them organized, accessible and easy to identify. Hang pliers, screwdrivers, and other miscellaneous metal tools with this magnetic tool holder. It holds tools securely in place with permanent magnets and mounts with screws. This wooden plier rack with drawer holds your pliers, has a small shelf for tools and a storage drawer to keep your necessities at hand.
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Tool Storage

This wood carryall features a plier bar, hooks, a place for wire and cord spools, a tabletop ruler and a top shelf for all holding tools. Keep tools handy and organized while clearing your work area with this tool holder. This tool storage enables you to store all of them easily and find them quickly. This bench top organizer fits perfectly on your bench or work table. It contains space for findings, tools, and accessories and organizes it all with four drawers for stowaway items.
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Time-Savers

With a 6″ reach in any direction, this adjustable swing arm’s exclusive design, developed here at Stuller, gives you an extra hand when setting or engraving. When set in the adjustable swing arm, this Microblock Ball Vise’s compact design simplifies microscope work. Use it for engraving, stone setting,  and other precision work. The Little Torch™ Magnetic Holder keeps your torch near your bench and is particularly helpful as you change your tip repeatedly throughout the day.

 


What are other ways you keep your bench organized and tidy? Tag us in your pictures on FacebookInstagramTwitterPinterest or share with us in the comments below!

 

Want to clean up your workspace while maximizing your returns? Read more about dust collectors for your bench here. As always, reach our tools tech team at 800-877-7777 ext. 4300 or find more on setting up your shop at stuller.com/shop-setup.




Dust Today, Gold Tomorrow

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Though not quite as extraordinary as say, interstellar cosmic dust or remnants from a shooting star, dust in your store can reap unexpected rewards. In day-to-day activities like buffing, polishing, grinding, and so on, specks of fine metal dust can be spread here and there around your work space. Collecting this accumulation of dust and precious metal amounts to a considerable return and will help to put money back in your pocket.

Here are a few easy practices for getting the most out of your gold recovery:

Don’t let your gold walk out the door! A bench mat is essential to keeping your work space clean and tidy. This addition to your bench can help to collect small bits of precious metals and prevents debris from falling onto the floor and getting scattered.

The sticky adhesive of a Gold Mat placed at the entrance/exit of your work area will help to capture bits of gold and precious metal, helping to avoid tracking these tiny fragments on the bottom of your shoes. In fact, some large facilities even require employees to change their shoes when going in and out of their work spaces!

TIP:
In order to maximize your returns, it is important to keep different grades of metal scraps separated for refining.

Floor Sweeps

  • Save cutoff/separating wheel pieces, old flex-shaft buffs, brushes, etc. and throw them in with the floor sweeps.
  • Designate filings and trimmings from stone setting and seat cutting, for example, as clean filings.
  • Use your bench mat to collect finishing wheel debris, buffings, pumice wheel, and other pre-finishing wheel debris. Keep this separate from your clean filings.
  • Save old buffing wheels, used sand paper, or anything else that you think might contain gold…it probably does.

Dust Collectors

  • Rather than a traditional vacuum cleaner, use a dust

    collector with disposable bags to vacuum shop floors. This ensures the collection of 99.9% of debris and traps particles down to 0.3 microns in size in its collection chambers. Save the filled bags and keep them with your floor sweeps. These bags can contain a substantial amount of gold in the form of small solder snippings, filings, cut off disc powders, small pieces from ring sizings, etc. and can be sent to your refiner.

  • Vacuum your buffer daily. It helps to keep the shop neat and decreases buffing dust from falling to the floor and being lost.

Ultrasonics

  • Use a rinse bucket to rinse items coming from the ultrasonic. Also, save your ultrasonic solution, settle out, and pour off the clear top liquids. The sludge can be dried out and returned to your refiner with the buffing dust. Yield is typically about the same as buffing dust.

Drain Sweepers

Don’t let your gold wash down the drain. By investing in a drain sweeper, you can easily capture precious metal sediment that would otherwise be flushed down the pipes. In fact, a Stuller tools study revealed that after nearly six weeks of using the drain sweeper, .082 oz. of gold was recovered, equating to roughly $77.67 at $947.25 gold. A product like this will pay for itself in no time.

Castings

  • If you cast, rinse out your quench tank/bucket and pour off the suspended used investment. Keep the bottom sludge and put it in with the floor sweeps. This can contain a good amount of gold debris.
  • Save old melting and casting crucibles and return with the floor sweeps as well; these also contain a good amount of finely divided gold particles.

How to Maximize Returns

  • Save your filters, including those from air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and dust collectors. These can contain a good amount of fine gold dust from buffing.
  • Segregate gold by karat from ring sizings, etc. If kept separate, you can remelt and roll these pieces out to make sizing stock, wire, etc.
  • You’ll get a higher return from gold buyers if the karatage of your gold bits is known and not mixed.
  • Also, save gold-filled and gold-plated pieces, along with silver watch batteries (throw out NiCd batteries, they have no value). These may have a very small amount of gold, but anything saved helps to pay the bills.

Approximate Gold Recovery Yieldsgold recovery

Clean Filings: Approximately 40% fine gold by weight

Dirty Bench Sweeps: Approximately 5-20% fine gold by weight

Buffing Dust: Approximately 2% fine gold by weight

Floor Sweeps: (Including vacuum cleaner bags): Approximately 1% by weight

 

How do you get the most out of your gold recovery efforts? Share your wealth of knowledge by posting in the comments below!




Color By Rouges

Rouges are a must on any jeweler’s bench. They buff and polish, smooth and shine. There are many colors with even more uses, but no perfectly right answer. See rouges are subjective with each jeweler choosing what works best for them. Just how many rouges does it take to get to the one the works for you? Let’s find out.

rougesPolishing Kits | 47-3220
Kits are a great thing that every jeweler should try. They give jewelers a lot for little investment. Using a kit, you can find out which option(s) you use the most of, and when you’re ready to reorder, you know exactly what you need.

This kit in particular comes with the step 1 polish Avivor and step 2 polish ORAS along with two buffs – a medium grade and soft cotton.

Avivor Polishing Compounds | 47-3223
This line of polishes has our tried & tested seal of approval found in the halls of our very own manufacturing facility. This compound is especially effective in polishing gold and steel watch cases; they’ll come out looking like new!

Luxor Polishing Compounds | 47-3224
Save time and use less. This is what Luxor compounds bring to the table. Cleaner piece, less residues. Options include:

rougesrougesPink (first stage) – Used on all metals, but especially good for platinum

White (second stage) – Used for fine polishing and finishing on
steel, stainless steel, silver, grey gold, white gold, and platinum

Yellow (third stage) – Used for finishing on all kinds of gold, steel, and stainless steel

Orange – Used for super finishing on precious metals and lacquers

Merar ORAS Polishing Compounds | 47-3225
ORAS rouges have outperformed a number of other polishes. And we’ve even matched it up with the perfect buff – STV buff 47-3229 – for the best results. Along with Avivor, folks have started to use ORAS as the step 2 polish for gold and steel watch cases.

Odds and Ends
These rouges have some specific specialties:

rouges Black 47-32000 – Very popular for silver. It also can produce a rich,
darker luster on white gold and platinum.

Titanium 47-32990 – This series offers different levels for your titanium metals. Each stage brings the piece to a brighter shine.

ADDED BONUS! Read up on the do’s and don’ts of polishing success here on benchjeweler.com!

Now we’d like to hear from you! Everyone’s got their favorites, so share them with us? Which rouges do you like best and why? Our ears are open!




Feature Friday – Andy Kroungold

26811360Folks have been calling me “the Tool Guy” for as long as I can remember.

Before I found my true calling, I worked as a security guard at a buddy’s sidewalk sale. Over time, I became friends with the shop guys and they introduced me to the jewelry industry. I started by simply listening and cleaning the bathroom at the shop, but eventually graduated to setting, polishing, plating, and casting. And just like that, the tool guy was born. I loved watching them create things and thought it was the coolest thing.

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J.R. Newman and myself

I applied for a job at Swest in 1986. I joined their team as the assistant manager and technical advisor. J.R.Newman, the owner, became a great friend and mentor to me. He taught me a lot of what I know today. Every morning around 10:30am, I would go into J.R.’s office and we’d discuss the daily numbers. After a quick discussion, he’d pull out the Swest catalog and he’d go from product to product explaining each one. He’d give me tips and tricks that weren’t in the book, little tidbits and insights to share with customers to help them solve problems they may have been dealing with. I’ll never forget what J.R. did for me. I’m thankful for his guidance every day.

Time went on and changes were happening at Swest. In 1997, Darrell Warren came to Stuller to start the tools division, and I wanted in. I finally joined the team as a product manager and technical advisor.

30176947There was virtually no transition for me moving from Georgia to Lafayette. Everyone at Stuller was so inviting and friendly. They made me feel welcome from day one.

My fondest memory of Matt (something I still remember verbatim to this day) is when we ran into him at a local rodeo. See Matt and my son, Robby have the same birthday. So, my family and I were at the rodeo and we run into Matt. He shook my hand then got down on one knee eye level with my then five-year-old son and shook his hand and said “Welcome to Lafayette and to Stuller.” Right then and there I knew I wanted to do the best I possibly could for this man because of the way he treated my family.

I eventually moved into Sales working for Tip Cornell and Chris LaLanne. And when the last manager of the technical support team moved on, I assumed his role as well.

I’m now the director of tools and Stuller Bench, and I love it! My team is phenomenal. Each has a specialty, and together we span many years of at-the-bench experience and vast product knowledge. We are, without a doubt, the best at what we do.

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At the 2016 JCK Las Vegas Show

Our customers are the most important thing to me. I’ve worked with parents and grandparents. I’ve formed relationships that have spanned generations, and I now work with those folks’ kids and grandkids. It’s the greatest honor to me to see people that I gave a small piece of candy to when they were kids still do business with me today. It’s an opportunity I don’t take lightly. I promote honesty in all things, give the best advice I’m able, and work hard to ensure our customers always come out on top. I’ve learned that if you treat people with respect and decency and give them a fair price and good information, those customers will remain loyal to you.

Outside of Stuller I enjoy swimming and golfing. I used to swim in my younger days and still love the sport. And my grandfather — a huge role model in my life — loved to golf so that’s one way I honor his memory. I’ve been married to my wonderful wife Susan for 31 years. We have one son, Robby who is 23 years old and is greatest joy in both of our lives.

Thanks for listening and have a Stuller-iffic day!




Shop Feng Shui

Many folks call me throughout the week who are either new to the business, or have been in business, but don’t know where or how to set up their equipment in the shop. Here are some pointers I’ve picked up over the years when it comes to shop set up:

One of the main things to look for when setting up a shop is “walk space”. You want to make sure to have walk space and that people are not bumping into each other. A constant flow between the equipment and what it’s used for is a top priority.

When designing your space, use some graph paper, and mark the dimensions of the room and location of the doorways, windows, water, electricity and gas lines. Setting up a shop is similar to putting a puzzle together. Keep in mind all of the elements will dictate where things have to be. For example, your bench will be close to your gas line, and wherever you ventilation duct is, your polishing unit will be as well.

Continuous flow is the ideal way to set up a shop. If you do your own wax carving, you’d start there, and then a piece would move to sprueing, then investment, then the oven – that’s your casting area flow because that’s where the magic starts to happen.

polishingAfter casting a piece, you would have your polishing area close by (because that’s what comes next) where you’d be prepping the piece, and tumbling it. Placing these areas in close proximity to one another ensures that the process can flow efficiently.

Finishing and plating is last. It’s important to note that when the piece is finished, put it in anti-tarnish paper. The customer should be the first person to touch the piece after it’s done. It’s sort of an unspoken rule that we have in the industry.

Like I said, it’s really important that your shop flows sort of like a circle. A good example of this is Stuller. We don’t have people bumping into one another. We strategically put the departments in a flowing way that is consistent. If you don’t set up your shop this way you are losing money for each step that you take that breaks this flow.
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Remember when setting up your bench work area, ventilation should be a top priority. Your health is the most important thing. Make sure that when dealing with fumes, and vapors you have the proper equipment to counteract this potential hazard. Whether your store is in a mall or a stand-alone, make sure to have the proper collectors, filters, and vents.

All this have you worried? There is no need to panic! We offer a FREE Shop Set Up Service that helps you figure out which tools and equipment matches your needs best. Our Tools Tech team will walk you through and help you find the right fit. Give us a call at 800-877-7777, ext. 4300 or click here.

Have any thoughts on shop set up? Share them or any pictures with us below!