Whether buying for themselves or a gift for someone else, shoppers love to browse gift stores for jewelry. In that environment, they know they’re much more likely to find a unique piece with an interesting backstory than they are in the jewelry section of a major department store. The following five gift stores identify some of their best-selling jewelry and offer tips on how to clinch a sale.
Unique pieces abound at Quinstance, a gift shop in Burlington, Mass., dedicated to supporting artisans and their crafts. Swarovski crystal and Venetian glass jewelry pieces from Hagen Gallery are popular, according to Quinstance Owner Erin Sandler. “They do a really nice job of matching colors to the season and keeping current with trends. Our customers respond to it because the pieces are so very special, being handmade with very fine materials.” Another line that has found success in the 1,600-square-foot shop is called The Shine Project. The brand works with inner city kids who would be the first in their families to go to college. The Shine Project designs the jewelry, the students make the pieces and the money from each piece they make goes into a scholarship fund for their later use. “The pieces are conversation starters both here in the store and when customers are out wearing them as well¯ said Sandler.
Striking up a conversation encourages guests to make a purchase, Sandler said. “It could be talking about the back story of a piece or just finding out more about their personal taste or the person they’re buying for. We focus on making that connection. We want them to walk out feeling really good about that purchase because the color is flattering or the style is just right for the person they’re buying it for as a gift. We aspire to make a greater connection than just ‘oh, this looks pretty’ at point of purchase. And I think that conversation, that engagement, is the key to making a connection.”
The novelty boutique ReCreateU in Rockville, N.Y., is chock full of hand-made and hand-picked items from local as well as global vendors. Among its jewelry offerings, venerable line Chan Luu remains a best-seller in the 900-square-foot shop. “She’s been around for over 20 years and was the first to create the leather wrap bracelet before everyone else started copying her,” said Rachel Song, owner of ReCreateU. Despite a higher price point, the Chan Luu line’s reputation, quality and durability tends to win people over. “When people are looking at the line, I always point out the quality of the leather and the fact the designer uses real crystals, gemstones and freshwater pearls that are guaranteed to last a lifetime. When customers hear that, they’re drawn to look at more. Chan Luu jewelry speaks for itself.” And although the line is carried by major department stores, certain collections are earmarked solely for boutique settings like ReCreateU. This is good news for Song because it means customers are always stopping in to see what is new. She makes a point of posting her latest offerings on Instagram too.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, Sibley’s West: The Chandler and Arizona Gift Shop does a brisk business in turquoise jewelry. “Because we’re in Arizona, anything turquoise, especially turquoise that is associated with an Arizona mine, is our most popular jewelry,” said Michelle Wolfe, who co-owns the 5000-square-foot establishment with her husband John. “If customers are looking for turquoise and we can identify exactly what mine it came from, that is definitely of interest to them.” The store’s method of encouraging sales is to always invite patrons to touch their jewelry offerings. “Getting the jewelry into their hands so they can touch and feel it and hold onto it can be very powerful,” Wolfe said. Sibley’s West deals mostly in pendants and earrings, preferring to avoid the variations involved in ring sizing. “We stick to things that anybody can wear,” she concluded.
Tselaine, a compact gift boutique in Philadelphia, Pa., is known for being a little bit quirky, according to its Owner Elaine Tse. “I think people are looking for something they can’t find anywhere else,” she said. Lately, an unusual French jewelry line called Nach has been ringing up sales at the 350-square-foot shop. “It features porcelain animals, all sorts of whimsical creatures. It’s been a surprise hit. We’re on our third re-order! The other thing that has been selling really well is anything to do with constellations,” Tse said.
Like its eclectic merchandise, the store’s very name – Tselaine – is unique. It’s a mash-up of its owner’s last and first name – the “t” is silent. Tse, however, is vocal about her top tip for getting guests to make a purchase. “We have excellent customer service. We listen and we get to know our customers. We know their dogs, their moms, their cousins. We’re in our 10th year and really, my staff is just amazing. They have memories like elephants and a lot of times can remember what a person bought previously so they don’t repeat a gift.” Tselaine gift wraps and will frequently walk orders over to nearby hotels. The store just added an option where patrons can go online, order everything and have it gift-wrapped for pick-up the next day. “It really just goes back to providing good old-fashioned customer service,” Tse concluded.
The Beehive Designer Collective in Mount Kisco, N.Y., features a wide array of stylish products by emerging independent artisans and designers, including jewelry. Cyndi David Jewelry is a consistent best-seller for the store, according to Owner Dawn-Marie Manwaring. “It helps that some of her pieces are gender fluid. Men will pick them up as well as women,” she said. Recently, the store expanded its operations to include a new 160-square-foot outpost in the corner of a New Rochelle, N.Y. train station. “The little store is a smattering of what happens in the bigger 1400-square-foot store,” said Manwaring who co-owns what is known as The Little Beehive with Melanie Reichler.
Whatever Beehive location patrons frequent, the number one order of business is make sure customers feel really jazzed about what they’ve purchased. “I always tell patrons to go with their gut instinct because the majority of the time, the first thing that speaks to them is always what they come back around to after browsing. I’ve seen it happen, time and time again. And when I look at our numbers, we don’t have a high return rate. So, I tell patrons to go with the thing that captivated them first,” advised Manwaring.