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[How2] New Store Promotions


Hello Folks, First time poster, 3 month lurker here. I have the
opportunity to open a small shop in an antique mall soon and am on a
shoestring (maybe a “thread”) budget. I will be doing repairs and
custom manufacturing as well as one of a kind items. I do not have
much inventory to start with so I will be working fast and furiously
to make items for the showcases. Does anyone out there have any
promotional or advertising ideas for a small business just starting
out with limited funds? I will be joining the Chamber of Commerce and
doing all the schmoozing I can, seeking out trade work, even doing
eyeglass repair to start. Newspaper advertising is too expensive for
my budget right now. So, can anyone give me some ideas or things
that worked for you just starting out? Thanks for all your help.

Robert J. Kardow
Robert James Jeweler


Hi Robert, I started 20 years ago as a (child) jeweler, on a shoe
string budget. I think if you can keep your overhead low and do just
about every job that comes through your doors, you will survive to
build a word of mouth reputation. That has served me best over the
years and now that I am doing better I have gone to the local
newspaper and have been very happy with the results of a constant
every other day ad. The newspaper calls it a business builder and it
costs less than hit or miss advertising. Best of luck, Janine
in Redding,


Word of mouth is always the best! You could also put together a
flyer etc… post it around the community. Thanks Amanda


There is a series of books by Jay Levinson(?) called Guerilla
Marketing or variations on that name that have a lot of ideas on how
to market creatively and cheaply. Try one from the library and see if
it has ideas you can use. Karen


Robert J. Kardow, We started a jewelry business with one beat up
case, little inventory and a leach for a partner in a second rate
flea market five years ago. We started doing repairs in the back of
the booth and all of our frontage was for selling. It took a year
for us to learn that moving the repair bench right up where people
could watch was the secret to establishing a clientel. We only work
two days a week in the market and we have four sales ladies and two
bench jjewelers busy. Each of the benchs turns 4 to 500 a day. We
are putting web page up and will let you know how it works out. We
do not expect to make a fortune very quickly but it appears to be the
coming thing. We are interested in providing links to other Orchid
web pages if anybody is interested in providing an URL. We also do
web sites. Regards Joe


Hi Robert: I am in business for 7 years now, a small custom jewellery
shop in a not so good location in a small town. I did all kinds of
things to get business going, but the very best thing I did was join
the local Rotary Club. It is a service organization, so that means I
have to give them time, something that is short in a new business, but
the rewards have been tremendous. This has been the best return on
investment for me so far. People do business with the people they
know and trust, and at Rotary, you are seeing the same 50 (here)
people every week, getting to know them, working with them, and
everyone I know in Rotary here would say the same thing. The next best
thing I’ve done is direct marketing, mailing out flyers and
postcards, sometimes with “free polishing and cleaning of your
jewellery”, sometimes with “10% off all xxxxx”. Two colour flyers can
be inexpensive when beginning. Good luck, Kim


Dear Robert, The single most effective way to get off the ground with
a new jewelry business is to change batteries in watches. If you put
a small poster in your window advertising that service along with a
price that is a tad below the prevailing rate in your area you are
bound to get people into your shop who might never have done so
otherwise. It will cost you about a hundred dollars to put in a stock
of batteries, acquire the hand tools, etc. You can buy batteries from
Stuller quite reasonably and , because Stuller has the best delivery
in the business, your stock never need be excessive at the outset. I
strongly advise that you use nothing but Eveready batteries. We have
had problems with most of the other brands. Most of your business
will require #364 or 377 batteries. We buy those sizes by the hundred
resulting in substantial savings.The markup in batteries is
astronomical, thus you are able to make a profit while receiving free
advertising. Our battery service pays the rent and then some, but,
when you consider the fact that each month you get a large number of
people into your store whom you can "schmooze"the net result is far
better than thousands of dollars spent on hardcopy advertising ! I
would be willing to bet that the foregoing advice will be the single
most important recommendation you will ever get with respect to
getting your business off the ground!!! Ron at Mills Gem, Los
Osos, CA.


Hi Robert, Found your threadstring query very interesting. I started
a small business 5 months ago on a main street in a small town and
have been grappling with the same issues you mention.

I was very lucky to have hired very good people - I went with both
the they gave me and my gut. Most intelligent people are
also very creative, and I have offered incentives and motivation for
store Team Members to come up with ideas for decorating and enhancing
the store, which they have done a fine job with. We’re aware of not
cluttering up the store too much and allowing people breathing space
to roam it freely.

We haven’t done any display advertising as yet, but have attracted a
lot of local groups (girl scouts, moms’ groups, pre-schools) in our
type of business (a “paint-your-own-pottery” store), who do our
advertising for us when they have had an event at our store. Since
you have expressed a talent for carpentry, I would be remiss if I
didn’t mention that instruction/classes are a large part of the
store, too. The paint-your-own-pottery has been a great “feed” into
the classes, so if there’s something you can teach to the community,
like restoration, furniture refinishing, or the like, I would
certainly do that. Towards the end of a course, we always offer a
promotion as an incentive to take the next level or a related course.

Interestingly enough, when we recently placed a classified ad looking
for store help, we got many phone calls/visits from people who saw
the ad and didn’t necessarily want a job, but didn’t know we existed
and came in to paint pottery. Of course, when they came in, they
also found it we give instruction, and were interested in that as
well. So, even if you can’t afford a display ad right now, think
classified! Although we can’t afford an awning yet, we did invest in
a big banner for the front window. We also had our logo
professionally designed, which I’m very glad we did as it is well
worth the money and creates a perception about us and a visibility we
wouldn’t otherwise have.

We have a very “hands-on” attitude in the store. We encourage people
to touch our bisqueware and explore it (except for other peoples’
already painted pieces!), have loads of brochures and “how-to” tips
on the tables about painting pottery, and promotional materials for
classes around the store. Our Team is very customer service
oriented, which I hope sets us apart from other places, too – we
have a “just say YES” credo, as long as it’s not unethical, immoral,
or gives away the store :wink: We take customers’ suggestions very
seriously, implementing them and giving the store guest credit and
thanks for expressing their views. We encourage people to let us
know how we’re doing all the time. Again, we try to bend over
backwards in terms of out-servicing everyone around us. We even
offer store guests free chocolate and treats (unfortunately, many of
the team members wind up eating these as well, so we have had to
watch our weight a bit – mostly watching it go up!). It’s amazing
that sometimes people come in, adults and kids, just to grab a treat
in the guise of looking around the store or stopping to chat!

Managing people has been the most difficult part of the business for
me. I used to do weekly scheduling since everyone is part-time, but
I would suggest for any one in retail to start with a permanent
schedule and not make the mistake of having to schedule people every
week. It’s just too much work trying to keep track of seven peoples’
lives (eight, if you count me amongst those who still have a life!).
If someone now needs to change their permanent hours, they are
responsible for finding a team member to replace them and letting me
know about the change.

We also developed a clear, concise way of tracking inventory which
you need from the very beginning. A purchase order of some kind that
you can check against incoming inventory is a great thing to have.

You’re very smart to have joined the local chamber of commerce. That
is definitely a step in the right direction and will help you network
with the community.

We’ve also realized that as much as we want to please our clientele,
that you cannot please everyone all the time. We had to, very early
on, define who we were and what is was we could and couldn’t do. For
example, we got many requests to fire other peoples’ clay since we
had kilns - but had no systematized way of doing that OR assurance
that their clay wouldn’t explode in our kilns and ruin others’
pottery - so we had to LEARN to say no to that, and it made quite a
few people unhappy, but that’s life. After experiences like that, we
tried to anticipate what a lot of the questions would be and everyone
is “scripted” in writing (in a procedures book that we keep on the
premises) on how to respond to FAQs or potential situations that
might come up. The public will be extremely creative and challenging
in what they ask of you and keep you on your toes at all times!

My strength is not with people, per se, but I’m a very good
administrator - so I was very aware of hiring a team of people that
would be very customer service oriented and very outgoing and good
with both adults and children. In other words, I hired with my
weaknesses in mind, because I really didn’t need anyone to duplicate
my strengths. They’re a wonderful team and I feel lucky to have
them. One day soon I hope I can pay them more than what I’m paying
them now, although everyone just got raises.

Having been at this for only five months, I’m by no means an expert,
and feel like there’s still so much I have to learn, and so much I’m
probably not even aware of yet. I’ve tried to note some of the things
that have worked for us and I hope they help you. The best of luck in
your new venture! P.S. - I was wondering what part of the country
you’re in?

Good luck -
Madeline, Ceramic Dynamic/Arts Umbrella


Hi you should start by being a contractor for retail jewelry stores,
all you need is 3 accounts. These accounts will be your bread and
butter; in addition try and make 3 speacial order pices every week
for your show case. Take pices in on memo but you must have a good
safe or store insurance. make some items out of silver ,copper ,and


One of the best ways to get free advertising is to use “News
Releases”. You can probably get a sample copy of one from your local
newspaper or from a Bs. Communications book at the library.

The idea is to sent a News Release telling about your new store to
every newspaper in the area. And then, every time you finish a
class, earn a certificate or get some kind of recogition, send
another news release. Mine have always been printed verbatim, so
make them good. If you have a friend in marketing, use her/him. I
have used this strategy well over the years.

Good Luck,
Kitti DeLong, @NFMSeditor