Sissy’s Log Cabin: A Journey of Legacy, Growth, and Innovation
Discover a thrilling tale of how a small antique cabin in Arkansas is growing into a jewelry-industry standout.
One thing that has always amazed me is the unique ways people have found themselves in the jewelry industry. Many have stumbled upon it by chance, me included. But it’s not always how we got here that’s the exhilarating part, it’s what we’ve done with our time in it and how we are leaving our mark. Let me tell you about a rising force in the jewelry space coming to us from Arkansas: Sissy’s Log Cabin.
This growing multi-location, family-owned and operated jewelry store is experiencing phenomenal growth with enthusiasm and innovative creativity from the family’s third generation of jewelers. After speaking with Chief Operations Officer William Jones and Vice President of Training Wyatt Jones — brothers and grandchildren to founders Sissy and Murphy — I am amazed at the journey this business has taken from a fun hobby to a regional empire to a total revolutionary in sales training.
Humble Beginnings: Sissy’s First Log Cabin
Originally from a small town called Pineville, Arkansas, Sissy Jones had a love for collecting antiques. She loved the stories and character these items held. However, her husband Murphy believed they needed more space in their home. The antiques had to go. Ever the fiery spirit, Sissy found her own solution.
In 1970, she passed a log cabin available for rent as she was driving down Highway 79 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and fell in love with it. Sissy began renting the cabin for $50 a month and filled it with her prized antiques that had adorned her own home. This became the start of Sissy’s Log Cabin, a place where she could sell antiques and do interior design.
Not only did Sissy enjoy collecting antiques, but she also loved helping special pieces find a new home. One day, she needed her son Bill’s help moving a particularly special piece that happened to be an antique roll-top desk. If you aren’t familiar with this type of desk, allow me to just say this: heavy. She needed it moved up three stories…in the middle of summer…with no air conditioning. If that isn’t a life-defining moment, I don’t know what is.
Surely enough, that same afternoon, Bill returned to the store and sold a 1-carat diamond ring worth the same as the roll-top desk he just moved minus the back-breaking labor. At that moment, it was decided that jewelry would become the family’s specialty.
In 1991, the first full jewelry store under the name Sissy’s Log Cabin opened for business.
An Arkansas Hometown Staple
Something to know about Sissy’s Log Cabin is that they know their area and they know their customers. Their flagship location resides in a lower-income area of Arkansas, challenging Sissy’s Log Cabin to think outside the box when it comes to boosting clientele. However, customers and employees travel from other parts of the state to visit the store.
The key to Sissy’s Log Cabin not only surviving in such a rural location but also becoming one of the most recognizable names associated with jewelry in Arkansas is that they went to great lengths to make sure it was worth a full day’s experience. The origin story, the brand, and Sissy herself all played a part in making Sissy’s Log Cabin a true destination. Everything fits within their story.
As a result of this thinking, they have since expanded to six total locations in Arkansas and even Memphis, Tennessee, with more on the way.
Obstacles Turned into Opportunity
Maintaining a family-owned business with over 130 team members across regions posed certain challenges for the family, but they embraced the difficulties as opportunities for growth. Secret shopping missions revealed disparities, highlighting the need for a consistent Sissy’s Log Cabin sales experience. To address this, they collaborated with an improv company with a focus on essential salesmanship skills and genuine human connections. This innovative approach remarkably reduced the onboarding period from 2-3 years to just 6 months.
“We aren’t training staff how to act; we are training them on how to interact comfortably with customers,” explains Wyatt Jones. This transformative shift has not only streamlined employee training but has also strengthened customer interactions, reinforcing Sissy’s Log Cabin’s commitment to excellence.
Opportunity Turned into Business Venture
The Jones family has worked very hard at refining this training program for their staff and learned many lessons along the way on what makes a successful salesperson, a successful manager, and a successful store. Eventually, they asked themselves, “What if we could share these lessons with other jewelry stores while expanding our business?”
This prompted William and Wyatt to work with a software company so they could develop an online learning environment that any retail store could benefit from — the Jewelry Sales Academy.
The Jewelry Sales Academy is an opportunity to build your own training and development experience for your jewelry store. It incorporates your own branding to create a portal all employees have access to. They can access onboarding training, industry insights, and continuing education in a personalized, professionally curated environment all taught by jewelry, gemological, and business experts with decades of experience. Not only that, but you can also connect your point-of-sale system to the dashboard for an all-inclusive information system, which can help with planning and maintaining team goals.
“The topics we cover are everything from starting someone with no experience to training them for management. It’s an academy for running jewelry stores,” says William.
After years of development, the Jones family launched the Jewelry Sales Academy at JCK Las Vegas earlier this year where it received plenty of attention and success in its opening days.
You can learn more about the Jewelry Sales Academy at JewerlySalesAcademy.com.
A Brilliant Future on the Horizon
One clear takeaway from the story of Sissy’s Log Cabin is that innovation, creativity, and tenacity run deep in the Jones family. From the grit Sissy exhibited in turning her hobby into her family’s life work to her grandchildren revolutionizing how jewelry stores can enhance the training experience for their employees, the Joneses truly have a grasp on what it takes to stand out in the jewelry industry.
Taylor holds degrees in Political Science and Communication from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette as well as multiple certifications from GIA. His years in the wedding industry and love of fashion trends helps him write content for the on-trend and creative jeweler.