1

MatrixGold Brings Motorcycle Design to Life

David Hill is a custom jewelry designer for Coin and Jewelry Gallery in Gainesville, Florida. Open since 1981, Coin and Jewelry Gallery provides a wide variety of repair services and custom designs. 

To David, offering custom design has become the most profitable part of his jewelry business. MatrixGold®, the CAD Jewelry Software he uses, has made it incredibly easy to show his wholesale customers exactly what they will get before production, allowing him to close more sales faster. 

“MatrixGold achieves the best bespoke jewelry design, getting guidance from Gemvision training instructors.” 

avatar

David Hill

David James Designs

David understands that gaining the proper skills to lead complex projects is critical when offering high-quality service to his customers, so he relies on the Gemvision educational team to receive personal training assistance when he needs it. 

We discuss with David to uncover how the Gemvision One-on-One training sessions helped him pull off a complex custom design job and improved his design skills. 



Q&A With David Hill

How was your learning experience with the Gemvision training instructor? 

Jessica Smith was my instructor for my original training sessions and was fantastic.  She was thorough and also helped explain some more advanced modeling techniques when completing the regular curriculum.  She took the time to make some videos explaining exactly how to model the motorcycle project, which has increased my modeling ability immensely and helped me figure out other jobs.   



Did you accomplish your goals taking the One-on-One training session? 

Absolutely! I was able to complete the custom design project and, again, also further my modeling capabilities.   



What do you think about the teaching approach?  

One-on-One training is always excellent.  The screen sharing is very helpful too. It can see exactly what the instructor is doing, and she knows whether I’m doing something correctly or incorrectly, addressing it immediately.  



What do you think is the main benefit of taking the One-onOne training sessions? 

Being able to move at your own pace and not get bored or feel pressured to keep up with others.  I had never used any 3D modeling software, and it was effortless to learn with one-on-one training.  



What improvements would you recommend to the one-on-one training sessions?  

Honestly, I cannot think of anything.  



Diamond-Studded Steel Horse



David created this motorcycle design using MatrixGold. “This was definitely the most involved project I’ve ever done. I set over 500 individual white and black diamonds in the headlight and wheels. It weighed almost 80 grams and was about 4” long when completed. And yes the wheels spin!”



To learn more about Gemvision’s training solutions, visit our website: https://www.gemvision.com/store/matrixgold/training  or send an email to sales@gemvision.com  




Roll into the Roaring ‘20s With Stuller Events

You’ve poured your blood, sweat and tears into your small business. You’ve been carefully laying brick on brick to build the foundations of your empire. Paint your palace gold, and roll out your new business plans with style and skill. This is the year you drive your business into a new era with the help of jewelry industry events we’ll be attending — or Stuller events we’ll be hosting at our Lafayette, LA, headquarters.

All Stuller events are designed to guide you through innovative business solutions, new product demonstrations, in-depth software trainings, and hands-on workshops. Your coworkers, cases, and customers will sing your praises.

Discover 2020 Stuller Events

Explore spaces that encourage you to examine your operations from the outside looking in. Share your epiphanies with your staff to create a united front for change as you lead the way to a more efficient, gleaming workforce. While 2020 is soaring in, visit our headquarters in Lafayette, Louisiana, to learn new concepts, network with peers, and enhance your business.

Meet us on the road at various trade shows around the country, and overseas!

At Stuller’s Headquarters

Bridge

Bridge is a three-day conference focused on innovative business solutions for the independent jeweler. The conference covers topics such as: improving your online presence, closing more sales, reaching new customers, and more. If you come to Bridge, we’ll pay for your stay and meals (and you’ll love experiencing a little Cajun culture). Reserve your spot today!

 

Bench Jeweler Workshop
March 27-28, 2020

If you are a bench jeweler or would like to learn better techniques on how to cast, set stones, polish, and network with other industry experts, then Bench Jeweler Workshop is for you. Jewelers love this hands-on event filled with tools and techniques from industry pros and Stuller experts.

It’s not too late to register for Battle of the Benches® — an action-packed design competition where four jewelers compete for bench jeweler glory.

Learn more about Bench Jeweler Workshop.

2019 Bench Jeweler Workshop Patrick Dobbs Workbench

 

CAD Software Training

To help you grow your CAD skills, we offer a variety of training opportunities, with some classes being offered in a convenient, learn-at-your-own-pace format.

  • CounterSketch® Training
  • Matrix® Training
  • MatrixGold®Training

View software training dates.

 

Stone Setting Training 

Stone setting always provides new techniques that can help you excel.  No matter your skill level, we’ve got a class for you to elevate your stone setting skills.

View the dates to choose the class that best suits you.

Laser Welder Training

Spend two days with our Stuller tools experts as you receive hands-on training with the latest laser-welding technology. You’ll learn laser installation, settings, metals, and more to help ramp up your productivity.

View basic laser training dates.

On the Road

Trade Shows

Stuller will attend several trade shows around the country and overseas this year, from major trade shows to smaller events. Look for us at:

  • JCK Las Vegas 2020
  • RJO 2020
  • AJS 2020
  • AGTA Tucson
  • And more!

Find the complete list of dates and locations here.

We’re always looking for new shows to attend, so keep an eye on your email, too, for new events later in the year.


Whether or not attending Stuller events is in your cards, gaining outside inspiration is imperative to your business’ success. We hope to see you here in Lafayette or on the road.

For the most updated information on our events, visit our events page.




School Your Sales Staff with CounterSketch Training and Webinars

CounterSketch Training Blog Header

Did you know over half of today’s engagement rings are custom designed? Fortunately for your business, customization commands higher prices. And with the just-in-time manufacturing and virtual inventory that comes along with CounterSketch®, you can enjoy lower overhead and therefore higher margins.

So, customization software is clearly a win-win for you AND your customers. But, to maximize its effectiveness, make sure your entire sales team knows how to use CounterSketch to its full potential.

 

Register for CounterSketch training today so your entire staff can feel comfortable using the software.

2019 CounterSketch Training Dates at Stuller:

•  April 17 – April 19*

•  July 24 – July 26*

•  September 25 – September 27*

•  October 23 – October 25*

* A Stuller Bridge Event precedes these CounterSketch training dates.


CounterSketch Training Facebook Image

CounterSketch Training is a Must!

Stuller’s CounterSketch training covers the core tools you will use every day when working with the software. In training, we’ll cover all the basic skills needed to close a sale using Countersketch— from using the style quiz to searching the showcase to selecting a starting model. Then, we learn how to navigate in the viewport using the design stack and then how to properly save your designs. Once you have the design a customer loves, you can then create a basic render and walk through the order process.

Upon completing the CounterSketch training, your sales staff will be better equipped to qualify prospective customers, determining exactly what they are looking for and how to narrow results to a few options. Then, if closing the sale requires more advanced tools like Freehand, your sales staff can save the design and make a followup appointment where the project can be passed to your jewelry designer or expert CounterSketch user.

This sort of strategy removes some of the burden from your sales staff by handing the project to your CounterSketch expert, all while ushering your customer along down the sales pipeline.

Welcome your newest sales staff with this CounterSketch quick start guide to kick off the software training

Try CounterSketch FREE Webinars

Once a month, Stuller hosts a free CounterSketch® webinar for those seeking to grow and refine their software skills. These are sure to boost your business and help serve your customers’ customization cravings. There is also a recording of the most recent webinar on this page for those who were unable to attend live.

View dates, sign up, or learn more at Stuller.com/CSSwebinar


Have you attended CounterSketch training at Stuller Headquarters? How has it enhanced your business? Let us know in the comments below!




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


 




8 Jewelry Selling Tips to Get You Through the Holidays

Jewelry Selling Tips Blog Header

Selling isn’t always a walk in the park. Sure, if you’re a veteran, there’s little to fear when it comes to the art of negotiation. And that’s because practice makes perfect. But newcomers can surely benefit from a few jewelry selling tips for the Holiday season. So whether you’ve been in the business for 30 years or 30 days, it’s always beneficial to be reminded of what works best in the business.

Jewelry Selling Tips Holiday engagements

Here are just a few jewelry selling tips we’ve learned over the years:

1. Be Approachable

Sales is thrilling because we’re granted the opportunity to help customers create special memories with their loved ones. And it all begins with a warm smile! Greet everyone who enters your store kindly, it helps break the ice.

2. Don’t judge a book by its cover

We all know the saying. You should never assume or judge your visitors. Instead, get to know them, their interests, who they are trying to surprise, and guide them in finding that special piece.

3. Get to know your customer

Ask questions! Find out what your customer is looking for. Is it a self-purchase, graduation, birthday, Christmas gift, or an engagement? Once you know, start with your favorite pieces within that theme. The pieces we adore sell the easiest because we’re able to express our excitement about the piece and explain why it should be purchased.

4. Know your product

There’s nothing more disappointing than a salesperson that doesn’t know their product. Know what’s in your case, what vendor it’s coming from, and if they can make it in different qualities, different sizes, or set other stones. Sell with a story.

5. Be confident and honest

Confidence and honesty go a long way. If you are not confident, the customer will be able to tell. When you know your product and understand what it is worth, then you can be confident in what you are selling.

6. Be aware of body language

Body language says it all. Are the customers interested in what you are saying? Are they looking at you or looking away? Are they smiling? Do they have their arms crossed? In what direction are their feet pointing? If it’s at the door, more than likely they want to leave and aren’t interested in what you have to say. Make sure you read these signals and you’re relaying the right responses.

7. Make ‘em laugh 

Making customers laugh will make them feel more comfortable with you. It will boost the chances of you closing the sale, too. *Disclaimer* If your jokes aren’t very funny, skip this step!

8. Finally, close the sale.

You’ve gotten this far, now don’t forget to close the sale—it’s the whole point of selling! Make your customer imagine the moment they gift that special person. Give them ideas on how to surprise their loved one, too. If they say no, ask why. Depending on their answer, you might be able to help them in another way.


Don’t forget to set the scene in your store, too! Here are six tips to trigger the senses this Holiday.

Jewelry selling tips holiday trigger senses

We would love to hear your jewelry selling tips, stories of how you upsold something, or maybe the first time you were on the sales floor. We all start somewhere, and we learn through experiencing the joy of selling. Happy selling to all; we hope to hear from you!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on November 30, 2015 and has since been completely revamped for accuracy.




How to Train Your Staff Like a Boss

Staff Training Boss Day Blog Header GIF

staff training development experience teaching

Ensuring that your sales associates know how to close sales and increase customer confidence and loyalty is just one of your jobs as the boss. It’s challenging to find effective training that benefits your newcomers and seasoned vets alike.

And while no single training regime will align perfectly with your needs, some training with all of your associates is vitally important to the success of your business. Here are some tiered solutions to get started:

 

In the Beginning

Use these resources in your staff training to help those team members who have little to no jewelry experience.

 

staff training basics of jewelry stuller

  • Stuller’s Basics of Jewelry Book outlines common jewelry terminology and need-to-know jewelry anatomy and factoids.

 

  • Industry trade magazines like JCK, INSTORE, and MJSA Journal are detail-rich resources. Flipping through these publications, and others, can help newcomers learn about industry trends, challenges, solutions, and creative ideas.

 

  • Industry associations like Jewelers of America provide a wealth of low-cost training opportunities from their Jewelry Training 101 course available on their website or links to numerous informative blogs and articles on their social media pages.

 

Middle of the Road

staff training jewelers helping jewelersThese resources are geared toward associates looking to enhance their already blossoming skill set.

 

 

  • You can access extremely knowledgeable industry experts on social media that can help add to professional development. Stick with folks like Peggy Jo Donahue, David Geller, Barbara Palumbo, and Mark Smelzer — you could learn a thing or two.

 

  • Attending events guarantee you’ll walk away with added expertise. Stuller’s Bridge and Transform events focus on solving current industry issues while encouraging open dialogue, and shared learning.
staff training and development

Expanding Expertise

Staff training is an ongoing endeavor. And even experienced veterans will benefit from brushing up on their skill sets now and then. They can do all of the things mentioned above while putting their personal spin on each to get the most from the activities.

 

  • Keeping up with industry insights and trends can help any seasoned jewelry professional stay abreast with the up and up. Look to our blog and other industry experts like Martin Rappaport to deliver the information.

 

  • Today, video is the preferred learning vehicle. Nothing beats seeing how others do something step by step. YouTube and our Video Center provide instant access to educational know-how.

 

  • Want to talk tips and techniques with fellow experts? Forums offer a good place to find others with varying levels of experience and a desire for discussion. Ganoskin.com is another popular favorite.

 

Start Your Staff Training!

staff training happy boss's dayLike we mentioned in the beginning, there are many types of staff training opportunities out there. It will take some work to find the best resources to fit your team’s needs. Don’t get discouraged and remember it will take some time to put best practices in place. The important thing is that you have them. Remember to get your team involved in training. Ask them what they feel is important and form strategies and action items through collaboration. It will make everyone better in the long run.

Oh and Happy Boss’s Day to all of the fearless leaders out there!




Join the Best of the Best

I recently caught up with Sharie Fogarty with Jewelers of America, and she filled me in on all the great training opportunities JA has to offer.

Looking for ways to broaden your appeal to customers or employers? The Jewelers of America Bench Professional Certification program may be the answer. Certification gives bench jewelers an instantly recognized standing in the profession and is a means of clearly communicating your skills to a potential employer, a colleague or a customer.

JA Bench Professional Certification is open to bench jewelers or students who have trained as bench jewelers. To get certified you first pass an open-book written exam and then complete the practical exam, a series of tests that demonstrate your skills at four levels. You decide the level that best reflects your education and experience.

First Level: JA Certified Bench Jeweler Technician (CBJT)
Reflects skills and knowledge generally expected of a trained entry-level bench jeweler generalist performing jewelry repair with about one year’s experience.

Second Level: JA Certified Bench Jeweler (CBJ)
Reflects skills and knowledge generally expected of a bench jeweler generalist performing most jewelry repairs with two or more years of experience.

Third Level: JA Certified Senior Bench Jeweler (CSBJ)
Reflects moderate to advanced skills and knowledge. The candidate for this level must show mastery of both first and second level skills and proficiency in some additional areas.

Fourth Level: JA Certified Master Bench Jeweler (CMBJ)
The highest level of JA Bench Professional Certification. For the hands-on practical bench test, candidates at this level must demonstrate mastery at all skill levels.

Once you’ve achieved bench certification you can use the JA Bench Professional Certification logo in all your advertising, display it in your studio or store or post it on a website. A JA Bench Professional Certification decal or certificate displayed in your store assures your customers that they can rely on the skills and knowledge of the professional bench jewelers on staff. You gain more business as customers seek out your repair shop and trust the quality of your merchandise in general.

“Being a JA Certified Jewelry Professional is an important designation,” says JA President & CEO David J. Bonaparte. “There is a fundamental difference between a JA Certified Bench Jeweler and someone who just happens to make or repair jewelry. Successful completion of the JA Certification exam attests to a higher proficiency as a bench jeweler and lets consumers know how qualified a jeweler is to craft or repair their fine jewelry.”

Jewelers of America has scholarships available to candidates who are bench jewelers and wish to participate in the JA Bench Professional Certification program. You can learn more about Jewelers of America Professional Certification here. For more details, contact Sharie Fogarty at sfogarty@jewelers.org or 646-658-5813.