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Jewelry Industry Reality Check

All, National Jeweler Magazine just published its’ annual list of
supersellers…companies which sold one hundred million dollars or
more of jewelery last year. Nearly 12 billion was accounted for by
the top ten companies and, what is really interesting is that
approximately half that amount was accounted for by entities that
are NOT jewelry companies ! The top jewelry selling entity is
Walmart with two billion three hundred million in sales. Other non
jewelry sellers in the top ten aRe: J.C.Penney, Sears, QVC, and K
Mart. Other non jewelry purveyors in the list are Target, Home
Shopping Network, Macy’s, Costco, NBC, Mervyn’s,Ames Department
Stores, Military Base Exchanges, T.J.Max, Kohl’s, Meijer, Saks Fifth
Ave. and Fingerhut. All kinds of conclusions can be drawn from this
list, but I would suggest that if any of you are marketing in the
area of any of these stores that you should study what they are
doing and avoid competing head on. Those of us who are “Mom and
Pops” had better be looking for niches AND we had better do
everything possible to provide services that are typically not
provided by the “biggies” Any way you look at it, the trend is
inescapable. The big mass merchandisers will continue to slice off
increasing segments of the market. It certainly isn’t any wonder
that even some of the biggest jewelry companies are running
scared… Ron at Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA.

The list of top jewelry marketers is of no surprise at all. The
majority of those listed warm the hearts and ears and fingers of
many Americans. I can’t imagine anyone on this list creating the
volume required to service these accounts. I also cannot imagine any
mom and pop store even trying to go heads on with them. QVC is a
more recent entry into this market and also serves many who have
little access to shops or malls or also may be home bound.

With the exception of Saks and Costco, most jewelry sold is in the
lower end market. I doubt customers are being stolen or won away
from the majority of jewelry artists on this Orchid list. I just
linked to Janet Kofoed’s web site from the link on her Orchid
posting. Her designs are lovely, the prices extremely reasonable.
Anyone purchasing jewelry from any of the volume locations could
happily buy from Janet.

What needs to be done is to make better available to the general
public links to the web sites of Orchidians, the works there for the
most part will sell themselves. Someone needs to write a paper back
such as “Idiot’s guide to Jewelry Online.” Of course I am simply
using that type of book to get a point across. We have all seen
books of "Best Shopping, Best Restaurants, etc. Susanne Wade, help
me out here.

We don’t need any more moaning about what we are losing, how can we
lose what we have not yet had. Let’s see some positives, the evening
news can handle all the doom and gloom. Orchid is fresh, creative,
imaginative, positive, as it should be. Teresa

Teresa, I would like to respond to your concerns about selling
jewelry online. In addition to having 30 years experience within the
jewelry industry I now am a consultant and work for a company that is
a search engine positioning firm.

The problem is that most individuals put alot of time and effort into
building a beautiful website and never even stop to think about how
they are going to get people to see the site. Most people work on
the theory “build it and they will come”. Well, as they soon find
out that is not the case. Right now there are approximately 500,000
websites on the internet that sell jewelry in one form or another.
The websites that get most of the page views are the ones that appear
in the top 10 or 20 positions on the search engines. Getting your
website positioned within the top 10 or 20 is not an easy task.
First of all one must know all the rules of all the search engines
since violation of these rules will result in your website being
placed at the bottom of the list and/or you can be removed all
together from the search engine. Secondly, you have to know how many
entries will be necessary on any particular keyword or keyword phrase
in order to get you ranked within the top positions. Thirdly, you
have to know how many keywords are permitted on that individual
search engine as too many will result in your website being placed at
the bottom of the list also. Lastly, the entries on the various
keywords used must come to the search enging from different browers
since the spiders no longer will count the entries if they all come
from the same browser (this was done by the search engines to combat
the software programs that you can buy that are data entry for your
keywords). What all of this means is that the average person can not
do this themselves, nor can the webdesigners do this as it is not
their expertise. As with all advertising, search enging position is
not free and can have considerable costs associated with it. Since
internet marketing is the current and future way to go you have to
look at your advertising budget and ask yourself not if you can
afford to do this, but if you can afford not to do it. It is the
only way to be successful on the internet! Based upon the numbers of
people searching the web for jewelry…jewelry websites should
and can be receiving tens of thousands of page views per month.
Industry research shows that if your wegsite is user friendly,
attractive and you have a good product at a fair price you should be
selling to about 3% of the people that visit your site. As an
example, this means that if you are receiving 10,000 website visits a
month you should be making about 250 to 300 sales a month. There is
so much more that I could go on and on but I have already
made this response long enough. If you need or want more information
please feel free to contact me and I will help you to understand how
you can be more successful with your internet business.

Ray Smith
(772) 336-3466

Dear Ray, I am looking to sell to the jewelry retail stores online.
How can I go about it. Where can I get about electronic
magazines related to jewelry retail bussines (ezines).


  Most people work on the theory "build it and they will come". 
Well, as they soon find out that is not the case. 

Too true… too true! I’ve had my Web site since 1997, and have had
relatively dismal results attracting traffic. Those of you who have
"known" me for a while, know I worked for Microsoft for many years
before “retiring” to be a starving artist. I am fairly computer savvy
, and am my own Webmaster. I have also built several sites for
others. I have been very resistant to paying someone else to do what
I can theoretically do for myself. Nevertheless, results are what

I researched search engine technology, and the accepted "truths"
about how search engines work. I then applied this research, and sat
back waiting for good things to happen. They never did. Occasionally
I’d tweak things, re-register with search engines, etc. Still
nothing. Sadly, the thing that drove most traffic to my site was
doing shows, passing out business cards, postcards, etc., and you can
see that’s a very limited market, compared to the potential of the

I was not about to do what all the dot-coms did and blow a bunch of
cash on ineffective conventional advertising. That has, for the most
part, proven to be highly ineffective and expensive. People are going
to look on the Internet for Internet resources, not look at print or
T.V. advertising. And I wasn’t about to pay one of the "per-click"
companies to drive traffic to my site… since they have a boiler
room operation in Latvia or Bangladesh or somewhere with little old
ladies clicking away on your site generating revenue for the company,
with no intention of buying anything.

I believe that search engine positioning is the key, as it is how
legitimate potential customers will find you. When I’ve “played
dumb”… not very difficult to do… and gone to find my site on the
search engines, I can’t. When I do get the occasional sale from my
site, one of my first questions is, “How did you ever find my
site?!?” The answer is always, “On a search engine.”

The problem with search engine placement, as Ray stated, is that the
technology is always evolving. What I accepted to be true last month
could very well change this month. There is a constant game going on
between the search engines and those trying to “get over” on them.
When a scammer finds a way to take advantage of an aspect of the
search engine’s quirks, they are quick to close the loophole. Bottom
line is that to really stay on top of it is a full time job. And I
already have too little time in the studio as it is.

Okay, now the disclaimer. I so much believe and understand what Ray
is saying, that I have contracted with his company to take over this
task for me. His technical staff has already shown me three different
ways I was “shooting myself in the foot”, only one of which I
suspected. That sure explains why my site was “limping” along… with
all those holes in my feet! :slight_smile: The relationship is fairly new, and
the full impact of the work won’t be seen for a few months, but early
results are quite promising. Stay tuned…

If this all works out like it should, I won’t have to open that
little retail location I’ve been eyeing, which would really be an
anchor around my neck. I’d much rather be doing retail shows and
using my Web site as a 24x7 selling tool. I have much more freedom
and flexibility, and the overhead of a Web site is significantly less
than that of a store!

In an admittedly selfish way, I hope none of you catch on to this.
The less effective you are at search engine placement, the more
easily my site will rise to, and stay on top. If ten or twenty of you
sign up with Ray, I’ll have a tougher time elbowing my way to the
front of the line! :wink:

As I’ve said before, you only have to hit me in the head a couple
times with a two-by-four to get my attention…

All the best,
Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

Ray, To follow your path seems to me that there must be another mark
up to include services similar to what you offer. That may be what
some wish to do, I would prefer to use a less complex and wordy
path. Jostling for web position within search machinations is not
what I want.

I know within Orchid there is another way. This will come to pass,
creativity will be the path.

thank you,

I have a friend who took a course in web design in which the
instructor repeatedly emphasized the need to select exactly the right
terms that reflect the kinds of web search inquiries your future
customers might use. You have only a few bits for this part of your
site, but it is the part that guides search engines when they answer
inquiries, and consequently very important.

My friend said she listed all the terms she thought people browsing
the internet might use, and then asked friends to critique them, made
a new list, etc. It worked. She is now getting lots and lots of
hits, from Google and I don’t remember who all. Perhaps you should
review the search terms, and broaden their scope.

Hope this helps,
Dian Deevey