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Friday, February 28, 2020

First Time’s a Charm: Sparkle and Success at the Select Show in Tucson

By Barbara Palumbo

“Do we really need another show?”
That’s a question I often ask myself when I see a press release for some new jewelry or trade event claiming to be unlike anything that already exists. And sometimes I think that no, this industry doesn’t need another show and that the ones that already exist should just work on improving themselves. But then other times – and this is the case here – I genuinely see that some trade shows are created to fill a void which in turn benefits both exhibitors and attendees. In my opinion, the Select Show Tucson is one of the shows that fills a void, which is why I accepted their offer to come out and see it for myself.

The beginning of the year is usually a good time for any retailer to relax and reset before thinking about replenishing their inventories. After coming down from the hectic holiday season, retailers deserve to unwind a little before putting their plans in place for the year ahead. The Tucson gem shows (including the AGTA GemFair) are a great way for retailers to blow off a little steam with colleagues in a casual setting while also doing their gemstone and mineral buying for their stores. What the Select Show Tucson accomplished this year was a way to provide those same retailers an additional opportunity to shop for designer jewelry offered by brands that may not exhibit at the other Tucson shows.

The Select Show took place on a slightly chilly February 2nd and 3rd at the beautiful Westin La Paloma resort and was host to numerous retailers from around the country who came to see luxury jewelry brands like Oscar Heyman, Picchiotti, Gurhan, Erica Courtney, and Alex Sepkus, while also learning about designers currently using responsibly sourced materials such as Jennifer Dawes and Debra Navarro, among others. The Select Show celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2019, but this was the first time the show’s organizers added the city of Tucson to their already successful lineup which currently includes Dallas and Washington D.C.

Joe Carullo – the show’s founder and president – was thrilled with how the inaugural event played out. “Our first Select Show at the La Paloma in Tucson was exactly what I dreamed it would be. Relaxing, enjoyable, and productive for all in attendance.” He stated. “I’m grateful to have seen so many friends come out for it.” Carullo’s partner at Select, Jordan Brockhaus-Spears, added that the Select Shows have always “thrived on a comfortable environment that is intimate for both retailers and exhibitors.” According to Brockhaus-Spears, the Tucson edition was a continuation of an already successful platform, stating, “Select Tucson really seemed to be a crowd favorite.”

Tim Jackson of Passion Fine Jewelry in Solana Beach, CA was one of the buyers in that “crowd”, and he seemed to agree that an enjoyable time was had by all. “The environment inside the show and even afterward at the poolside Super Bowl event allowed for conversations to deepen business relationships, which very often broaden to close friendships.” Stated Jackson. “I loved attending the Select Tucson Show and even reconnecting with old friends I hadn’t seen in twelve years.” He said, adding, “It’s a people business based on relationships and trust built up typically over many years of mutual respect and fair dealing.” Mitchell Feuer of Pe Jay Creations – an exhibitor at the Tucson Select Show – had this to say in an email: “It’s very rare to come home from a show and reflect on how enjoyable the whole

experience was. I’d use these four words to best describe the show: relaxed, intimate, enjoyable, and engaging.”

As an incentive, the Select Show also offered the buyers in attendance a chance to win 5,000 buying dollars to be used on the show floor with one of the exhibiting brands. Each buyer received a single raffle ticket for the winnings upon picking up their badge but could earn additional tickets for every confirmed purchase order they placed with an exhibitor.

Ideally for the organizers of the Select Show, convenience for their customers is one of the main reasons they decided to set up shop in Tucson in the first place. Both Joe and Jordan understand that many of their exhibitors also showcase their wares at either the AGTA GemFair immediately following the show, or at the JCK Tucson show (and in a couple of cases, some of those exhibitors show at both). They also understand that there are buyers that come to Tucson to do the bulk of their buying for the year. By creating an experience where buyers and exhibitors alike feel that Tucson can now be a one-stop-shop for them, they’ve helped alleviate some unnecessary travel costs and as well as unwanted stress. “Look, I’ve been doing this a long time.” Said Carullo. “At the end of the day, my wish is for everyone to be successful, but also for everyone to have a good time. That’s really what this is all about.”

For more information on the Select Show visit

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

In the Jewelry Industry, Brick-and-Mortar Still Sparkles With Buyers

In the Jewelry Industry, Brick-and-Mortar Still Sparkles With Buyers Leslie_McNamara_Aug2017-68
By: Leslie McNamara, Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Workforce Development, Citi Retail Services, [Pictured].

Retail is undergoing an immense transformation — traditional retailers now offer incredibly innovative e-commerce experiences, while brands that were born exclusively online now boast impressive physical retail stores.

It’s clear customers enjoy both channels, depending on what they’re in the market for and their physical proximity to brick-and-mortar locations. But how does shopping for jewelry differ or align with the evolving retail industry at large?

According to a recent nationwide survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers commissioned by Citi Retail Services, over two-thirds (68%) of those who have previously purchased jewelry have purchased most or all of their jewelry in-store, compared to just 12 percent online. Clearly, when it comes to jewelry, brick-and-mortar still shines bright.

What’s Driving In-Store Bling Purchases
While online shopping is often considered more efficient from a timing perspective, there are a number of other considerations for shoppers in the market for jewelry specifically. Nearly half (44%) of shoppers prefer being able to try on jewelry in-person before purchasing, according to the survey. Whether the item is for themselves or someone else, picking out jewelry is a very personal decision, so handling the piece before buying it can often give customers more confidence in their purchase.

Compare this to shopping for jewelry online, where shoppers often feel more hesitant as they have less direct control. Of the consumers surveyed, those who have purchased jewelry online have received pieces that looked different than expected (27%), were not the correct size (19%), and jewelry that didn’t arrive in time, such as for a birthday or holiday (14%).

And when consumers have more confidence shopping in-store, they’re also comfortable spending more. The survey found that in-store, 40 percent of consumers have purchased a piece that cost at least $1,000 with the most expensive piece of jewelry averaging $2,269—that’s more than double the $1,099 average for online purchases.

For retailers who already have or are building an online presence, it would be wise to consider including detailed descriptions, photos and sizing charts to product pages, and providing easy access to expedited shipping, to help customers gain more confidence when making online purchases.

Appealing to In-Store Jewelry Shoppers
Beyond having more control over their purchases, interacting with employees while shopping is another driving force motivating shoppers to visit jewelry retailers. Store services like complimentary cleanings (49%), financing options (28%), styling assistance (16%) and leasing or rental programs, such as borrowing for a short period of time (6%), were all noted by those surveyed as reasons to visit jewelers in-store.

Providing these types of services to customers offers jewelers a chance to increase foot traffic in their stores and potentially drive repeat sales. Also, ensuring your sales staff are well equipped to interact with customers and detail applicable services, such as cleaning and financing, is key in developing and sustaining long-term relationships.

Smart Financing Solutions Key for Retailers
In fact, when it comes to offering financing options to customers, consumer appetite for cross-brand financing solutions is very strong. More than two-thirds (69%) of consumers surveyed shared that they would be more likely to use a financing solution that could be utilized across multiple jewelry retailers, if they were to finance a jewelry purchase. What’s more, consumers indicated that they would be most likely to finance a jewelry purchase for major milestones including anniversaries (43%), weddings (34%), engagements (34%), graduations (15%) and new babies (12%).

However, beyond gifting, more consumers are purchasing jewelry for themselves. Among those who have purchased jewelry, half (50%) – and 57 percent of millennials – have bought most or all of their jewelry for themselves, as opposed to receiving it as a gift. Jewelry retailers will want to keep this in mind as they’re interacting with customers, in order to help make the shopping experience special for everyone—whether their customers are buying a gift or treating themselves.

Across the country, Citi Retail Services works with jewelry retailers to offer the Jewelers Reserve Card to their customers. By making purchasing easier for customers, the Jewelers Reserve program helps jewelry retailers build customer loyalty and repeat sales for their businesses. To find out more about the Jewelers Reserve program, please visit

About The Author:
Leslie McNamara is Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Workforce Development for Citi Retail Services (CRS). In this role, she leads business development, research and insights, strategic communications and hiring initiatives, helping to drive the direction of CRS’ private label and co-brand credit card programs – including the Jewelers Reserve card – which service more than 85 million accounts in the United States.

About Citi:
Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.

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