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Customer Events: Rocks on the Rocks

Customer events rocks on the rocks

Host your customers to boost relationships and returns

Developing a relationship with your clientele should be as fun as it is rewarding. As their jeweler, you know their needs and style. So why not invite them over for a party? But not just any party, host a “Rocks on the Rocks.” These after-hour events are gaining popularity as tools for jewelers to showcase their inventory, primarily gemstones, in a casual, cocktail party-like setting.

Melissa Barnhill, of Kevin Kelly Jewelers, in Peoria, IL., has hosted multiple “Rocks” parties, which she said are a big hit with her regular customers. With two decades worth of experience in the industry, Barnhill said she’s learned a lot from a trial-and-error approach when reaching out to clientele. We caught up with her during Stuller’s 2017 Bench Jeweler Workshop to discuss her tips for hosting the perfect customer events.


All About Customer Events

My most recent event was in August. I’ve been doing this a super long time and have had many successes and failures with different ideas. I’ve learned that events need to be fun and super casual. I had bottled beer and margarita mix, creating an easy feel. Our Rocks on the Rocks event was a collaboration with Stuller’s Gemstone Department who lent my store gemstones on memo. We displayed the stones for guests to admire and purchase their perfect picks. After choosing their stone, customers follow up with our store to create the desired setting to hold their new stone.

Spread the Word

We designed this 10k gold East-West semi mount to hold an oval tanzanite purchased at our Rocks on the Rocks event

I had three points of contact. I’m a mom, so if someone texts me once, I’ll probably forget. If someone emails me, I might look it over and then delete it. And then the third time is a phone call. If I don’t have time for a phone call, it rolls over to voicemail. So I thought okay, I’ll start with a short and sweet note so invitees can read it their own. They can listen to the voicemail that follows and see the text whenever they have time. So three points of contact are what I prefer. I find this is how I garner the most return.

So… How’d it Go?

I held Rocks on the Rocks for two hours on a Thursday night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. I kept it casual and wore blue jeans, inviting 20 customers. Eighteen showed up, and 17 made a purchase!

The event centers on personal relationships, so I treated it like a party in my living room. I wanted to talk to everyone and ask “Hey, how are the kids?” I made my way around the room as if I were mayor, striving to make everyone feel important because they were there for me.

Choosing Inventory

This custom designed pendant was created to hold a hot pink natural sapphire and a bright peridot stone, both purchased at our event

Shelby Mire in Stuller’s gemstones department helped me to select really nice, high-end stones. And I wanted to have something for everybody. I can’t expect my guests to purchase $3,000 or $8,000 gemstones, so I needed stock in a laddered price point. The highest items reached about $5,000, and prices went all the way down to vials of loose gemstones priced at $40.

Keep closely in mind each stone’s potential and who to show it to. I knew a lady attending who needed a first communion gift for a niece. I also knew I had a gentleman customer, an engineer, who often buys based on papers; he bought two Black Box gemstones during the event.

I tried to cherry pick five items I planned to show each particular customer. Keeping a targeted plan and knowing their interests went a long way. I wanted my guests to feel like, yes, there are things especially for me here.

We designed this piece to hold three natural yellow sapphires

My Advice For Success

Base your inventory on your clientele. I think one of the biggest turnoffs, and a surefire way to botch any event, is carrying out of budget inventory. When everything is $3,000 to $5,000 and guests have a significantly lower budget, your efforts will be out of touch. Go above and beyond to make everyone feel important. To me, I think that’s where I succeed in customer service. I try to make everyone feel as if they’re my only customer as though I ordered this amethyst or peridot with them in mind.

In short, carry an array of price points and keep your inventory specific. Make your customer events all about gemstones. Pack up the entire store and put all other inventory away in a safe. The only items we displayed were the gemstones. This made for a fun event with a special feel.



Let Stuller help you throw your “Rocks on the Rocks” customer events. To start, learn more about our Black Box Gemstones here.


Melissa Barnhill