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Books for training counter help in custom work

Hello All:

I hope everyone had a prosperous season. I was wondering if anyone
knows of a book or books that have a step by step guide as to how to
effectively take in custom design jobs that don’t make the Jeweler
want to kill the sales girl? The Lady at work has been telling me
for years now how much she hates doing custom, yet she is the one
that takes it all in. I really want to do it myself but I don’t have
time. If we had a process to follow it would cut down on the
frustration level. Any ideas?

Michael R. Mathews Sr.

Hi Michael,

You might want to check out Bruce Baker’s audio tapes & CDs

Bruce Baker

  Dedicated to increase sales for artists and craftsman. Bruce
  offers workshops and books. Featuring titles are "Booth Design
  & Merchandising for Craft and Trade Shows" and "Dynamic Sales
  & Customer Service Techniques For Artists and Craft Makers" 

He gives wonderful lectures on selling, booth design and motivation.
I’ve met him in person and he’s a incredible individual.

I don’t know if he has anything about taking a custom order, but
from what I understand, he owns his own gallery/store. He might be
open to you contacting him in person. Just a thought.

Tracy’s Treasures

OK, a biased opinion. My repair and design price book has all of the
pricing for custom. The audio CD’s teach how to sell it and price

see it at

David S. Geller
510 Sutters Point
Atlanta, GA 30328
(404) 255-9565
"Dedicated to Improving Jeweler’s Profitability"

    I hope everyone had a prosperous season. I was wondering if
anyone knows of a book or books that have a step by step guide as
to how to effectively take in custom design jobs that don't make
the Jeweler want to kill the sales girl? 

David Geller’s book on pricing includes a lot of take-in tips. You
can find info on it at Something else that may
help a LOT is David’s collection of jeweler’s forms, available at These forms are the best in custom jewelry take-in,
design, order request and estimates available to the jeweler whose
store has employees.


  Makers of receipt envelopes, repair sets and forms, JA repair
  forms, custom designed Forms, watch repair and custom forms. 

Help others make informed buying decisions with ISI. We
welcome your opinions and experiences with their products, ordering,
customer service and and over all satisfaction.

Write an Anonymous Review

The usual disclaimer applies: I am not an employee, stockholder or
relative of David Geller, have never been abducted by aliens, don’t
know how to do the Texas two-step, but these jeweler’s forms are
simply the best no-brainer items your employee(s) can use.

James in SoFl

Thank you David:

I will listen to those CD’s again. We purchased and are using the
edition before the newest one you currently offer. I must say that I
have always been very interested in your program and finally
convinced my boss to get it. We started using it Aug. 1 of last year
(04). We have had no problem that we can see with anyone objecting
to the fee. The biggest problem is getting the counter person to use
it. They still come to me for most pricing but now I can be
consistent and don’t have to stop and say " I’m tiring to remember
what I charged last time I did that?" It also makes me feel abit
more secure in that at least we are charging a profitable fee for
the jobs we charge for to help compensate for the many jobs we do
"With our compliments".

I don’t always have the time or am in the frame of mind, to make
sure the counter person has collected all the data we need to walk
through a custom job. It is sometimes a month before I even see the
job. I think a well thought out “step by step” guide that anyone
could refer to would be a great tool.

So we now use your Price Guide and Shopkeeper software for
merchandise tags and sales and I just wish we would go the extra
yard and start using Quicken with your plugin for accounting and

Thanks David for how easy you make it for those who will just use
the tools. Michael R. Mathews, Sr.

    OK, a biased opinion. My repair and design price book has all
of the pricing for custom. The audio CD's teach how to sell it and
price it. 

Hi David and Michael;

I’ve seen David’s book, I’m sorry, the part about custom wasn’t that
clear to me, but I’m sure he helps his customers on that. But my
impression was the Michael was looking for a book to teach sales
people how to actually design custom jewelry. I doubt you’ll find
that. I know a lot of jewelers who can’t design custom work, and
they at least should know how it’s made. I’m of the opinion that what
you need to do is hire someone to do the simpler repair work, the
grunt work as it were, and sell the custom work yourself. You said
you don’t have time, but I think you’ll have to make time, and, of
course, charge the customer accordingly. Meanwhile, you could send
out some of your work to a sub. It may not seem to make sense, with
shipping and insurance, etc., but if you do the math, you’ll
probably find out that it’s more cost effective for you to
concentrate on the high margin work yourself and get the rest of it
out of your hair. That’s the kind of service I provide for my
clients. I get them out of the repair business and back to making
jewelry for their customers. Of course, I also provide the high
skill work for those that haven’t gotten there yet or don’t have a
jeweler at all. I do the same thing in my shop that I’m suggesting
to you. My help do the less involved repair work, the setup and prep,
I do the custom work and the tricky stuff. Some day, when I’m too
old to actually produce enough to make a living, I might just offer
consulting to people on how to do custom design, at least for
retailers on how to take in repairs. David can tell them how to price
the work, I can tell them how to identify what work needs to be done.

David L. Huffman

I think it is unlikely you will find any specific books which will
apply directly to your situation. Could you not simply provide the
counter staff with a list of criteria to consider when approached
with such a job. You presumably have a fairly clear idea of what
jobs you are not comfortable with doing - this could form the basis
of a ‘not if’ list which the sales staff should soon become familiar
with. You could decide yourself whether or not you wanted to be
called in to decide on borderline cases although, knowing sales
staff, it probably wouldn’t be long before most decisions became
’borderline cases’!!

Best Wishes,
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK

Training people to take custom orders is next to impossible. We have
been doing custom design work for over twenty-five years. How do you
talk to a client about options unless you know the options? How can
you price if you have never sat on the bench?

Images are a key element. I began my business by showing clients
images of work and convincing them that we could do something for
them similar. I took the order, got a “sketch deposit” then
produces sketches in the same spirit as the piece in the image. It
works but you need to have sat at the bench long enough to know what
is possible and what is not.

A good sales-craftsman with self-confidence can, working with a
craftsman for technical backup and pricing, sucessfully close such a
sale working a client through a process. But, some bench experience
is key.

Course if were talking pick one from column A and one from column B
then a salesman can handle it but, if were talking design from
scratch, good luck!

For Information and sample chapters from my new book:

I have to agree with David Huffman. I would also like to add that
many of the jewelers that I know are very talented but have no sales
skills. That is if they can ask the right questions of the client so
they can visualize the design they cannot communicate this back to
the client. Plus most jewelers do not know how to close a sale.
Definitely get a jeweler to just work in the shop so you can get out
with the clients. I am sure that you will find that you end up with
more time to get things done and your profits will go up.

My 2 cents, Jerry

Hi Jerry and Orchidians;

Thanks for supporting my opinion, but as I read it, an idea flew by
on little pink wings. It’s just an idea . . but . . . what if we
could get a small confluence of Orchid jewelers together, at some
agreed central location (too late for Tuscon) and do some sort of
weekend workshop about selling and doing custom design? For fun, for
free, eh? I’ve been doing custom work, both the design and
manufacture and the selling and pricing since I worked at Wasserman
Custom Jewelers in 1989 (long since closed down). I’m doing custom
work all the time, and I still sell a couple custom pieces a week for
my local accounts even though I work in my own shop as a wholesale
trade jeweler. I know there are a lot of others like me here on the
forum. I’m sure we could get a nice panel of experts together and
match them off with newbies and have a great time doing mock-up
custom sales, or heck, maybe advertize the event to the public and
actually sell some real stuff, donate a bunch of money to Orchid.
Any takers? I’ll do it for the fun of it, as long as I don’t have to
spend a ton of money to go somewhere, since I don’t have squat these
days (typical for a CEO of a new business to get about 1/2 what
they’re worth on the open market, or so I tell my wife).

David L. Huffman

David, I have spent most of my time doing custom work from my home
studio for the past eight years. Let me know how I can be of help
getting your idea up and running.

Joel Schwalb