Ideally, time slows down while visiting a resort or beach town. People have a chance to unwind, catch their breath, perhaps even find an opportunity to dream. Should they decide to go shopping, their pace is leisurely, and they’re open to suggestion. Could there be a better frame of mind in which to purchase jewelry? For this article, two retailers in vacation spots each gave their perspectives.
Nestled in the Hudson Valley, only 90 miles north of Manhattan, Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, N.Y., is an iconic destination. This Victorian castle resort boasts an over 150-year history and has been designated a National Historic Landmark. While shopping in the Mohonk Gift Shop, guests frequently look for a special piece of jewelry to remind them of their visit. “Bringing a piece of Mohonk home with them will always remind them of the memories they created here,” said Gift Shop Manager Candy Martin. By way of example, she identified a local artist who crafts charms in the likeness of the resort’s logo – the Summerhouse – as well as other iconic scenes throughout the property such as its Sky Top tower and the rocking chairs on its porches. Perched lakeside and surrounded by 40,000 acres of forest, the great outdoors is an integral part of Mohonk’s appeal. “The nature surrounding the Mountain House is often of special significance to many of our guests, so we also carry several lines of jewelry that embody the natural world such as Silver Seasons, and lines that incorporate natural stones.”
Locally crafted jewelry is such a key part of Mohonk Gift Shop’s merchandise line-up that the 1,800-square-foot space includes a special local artisan room which features local artists of all kinds. “As well as the local artist who designs our logo charms, our best-selling local jewelry artists work with natural stones, Swarovski crystals in vintage settings, and dichroic glass,” said Martin. Lately, she is discovering a lot of guests are especially intrigued by the healing properties of stones. The Gift Shop carries a couple of mass-produced lines featuring such popular items as sterling silver earrings with natural stones as well as earrings made of colorful niobium metal. “But we’d rather support small businesses than mass-produced merchandise, and most of the jewelry we carry is from small businesses.”
When it comes to selling jewelry, Martin had several customer service tips to impart. Her first directive is to be intuitive as to what your customer wants. “Ask questions like ‘Are you looking for something for everyday wear or for a special event?’’’ Secondly, she suggested always trying to upsell. “If they buy a necklace, ask if they’re interested in the earrings or bracelet to match. If they don’t find exactly what they’re looking for in one line, point them in the direction of another line that may also be of interest to them.” Her final bit of advice is to know when to stop. “There’s a fine line between pointing someone to another line and being pushy!” she concluded.
Southport is a popular seaside town in North Carolina, with miles of beaches just a shell’s throw away. Little wonder then, that Cape Fear Jewelers situated in Southport features a great deal of nautically themed jewelry. “We have a lot of local interest jewelry focused on anything from the lighthouses in North Carolina to the local islands,” said Owner Lee Thompson. His 1,100-square-foot establishment is also the exclusive dealer of a wrist adornment known as the Southport bracelet. The design hooks a letter “S” which appears to resemble nautical rope with a letter “P” which is crafted to be reminiscent of a lighthouse on nearby Oak Island. It’s a tribute in precious metals to the area, and in particular to Southport, a town rich in Maritime history.
While Cape Fear Jewelry creates a good amount of custom jewelry onsite, some of the more popular
pieces are mass-produced. “We may craft the initial design locally, but we then have to have them mass-produced at a large facility elsewhere. It’s more cost-effective,” said Thompson. Still, it’s not uncommon for vacationers to come in with special requests in which case Cape Fear Jewelers will design and craft something right on the premises. It goes back to the idea of vacationing folk having more time on their hands to dream and to act on that vision.
“We can copy things from a picture, for example, if someone presents a photo of something they like,” he explained. It could be an engagement ring or any other piece of jewelry. They might want to incorporate a nautical element, or not – but Southport has that effect on people. By way of dispensing customer service advice, Thompson extolled service after the sale and the guarantee of good quality workmanship. “If they want to exchange something or if they have a problem with something, we’re here to take care of it,” he concluded.