In the Loupe is a weekly podcast hosted by Punchmark, the leading website provider for the Jewelry Industry. Each week's episode is focused around the explanation and advocacy of important E-Commerce topics and why every jeweler needs to be focused on their online presence now more than ever.
Jewelry Organizations and the Role They Play ft. RJO Jewelry organizations are an important part of the jewelry ecosystem, providing a valuable mediation between vendors and retailers, and hosting annual trade shows where retailer members can experience valuable face time with the vendors they wish to carry in their store. Michael spoke with three board members of one of the biggest jewelry organizations in the world, RJO. RJO is unique in that it's member owned, and with the combined weight of 1200+ retailers and vendors, they feel they are only just getting started!
I Went to RJO San Antonio and All I Got Was This Podcast Episode The first ever In the Loupe "audio-blog," Mike takes you, the listener, to RJO San Antonio with him to experience a jewelry show. Jewelry shows are a unique and interesting place, where business, socializing, good food, and a heck of a lot of jewelry mix to create an environment that can't exist elsewhere. We know not every listener was able to make it to this show, so we hope that this episode will help you feel like you were there right beside us!
Exclusive First Interview with IJO's New President, Stephen Barnes In his first interview as acting President of IJO, Stephen Barnes opens up about his vision for IJO and what being president means to him. Michael was honored to sit down for an in-depth conversation with Stephen and ask all of the burning questions related to his new position, including what he will prioritize in the short term, how he plans to foster deeper relationships between retailers and vendors, his vision for activating the next generation of jewelers, and the course he plans to set for IJO for the next 50 years. You may recognize Stephen’s voice from past In the Loupe episodes including S3E44 “Putting the ‘Success’ in Succession & Retirement Planning ft. Stephen Barnes” or S4E21 “I Interviewed Jewelry Industry Leaders”, and we discuss in-depth how Stephen’s history of running a retail jewelry store, and later as a mentor for the Edge Retail Academy, has prepared him for this new challenge as President of the Independent Jewelers Organization.
Lets Talk With: Small Town Jewelers ft. Meigs Jewelry ft. Minor's North Jewelry The strategy to sell online and in your brick-and-mortar is not a one size fits all practice. The population of your city, the average budget for a shopper in your area, and the distance your customers will travel all matter when creating your business strategy. This episode features two jewelry store owners, Jeff from Miner's North Jewelers & Todd from Meig's Jewelry, and we talk about their business strategies, ranging from adapting to their stores being shut down to in person visits, what social channels they advertise on (and how much) and clever ways they market to their past customers to potentially gain a repeat purchase.
What You Need To Know When Opening Your First Jewelry Store ft. The Hills Jewelry Most jewelry stores have been around for ten, if not a hundred, years. Amy Baird is an outlier, having opened The Hills Jewelry, in Worthington, OH, in 2018 with her husband. With almost no prior jewelry experience, Amy has learned an immense amount about running a business and the world of jewelry. Michael spoke with Amy about the successes, pitfalls, key decisions, and strategy that has led to opening a successful jewelry business in the late 2010s!
Running a Jewelry Store ft. Stambaugh Jewelers If you're listening to this, chances are you already know that there's a lot more to running a jewelry store than just buying jewelry to sell to customers. The B2B2C model holds an incredible amount of nuance and space for exploration and trend-setting. In this episode, we interview Scott Stambaugh from Stambaugh Jewelers in Defiance, OH, about hiring a bench jeweler, upgrading your in-store branding, hiring employees, where e-commerce fits into the equation, and how the space has changed over the years.
Branching Out with Your Business: Opening 2nd or 3rd Locations ft. Robert Irwin Jewelers 2021 was one of the best years ever to be a jeweler. After the relative loss of 2020, most stores had record years last year and are continuing to see that success grow. Is this you? If you're considering expanding to a second or third location in the near future, there are some things you'll want to know about how to keep your business unique and thriving throughout multiple locations. This episode, we're talking with Howie from Robert Irwin Jewelers who has opened FIVE locations to uncover everything that goes into expanding a business without losing that familiarity that your long-time clients know and love.
Next Generation Jewelers & Nerd Jewelry ft. Arezzo Jewelers It's no secret that retail jewelry owners tend to skew towards the older generations, which can feel intimidating for the few owners that are on the younger side. Vincent Spilotro, 2nd generation owner of Arezzo Jewelers is only 38 but has fast tracked his success by attending training sessions, finding mentors at jewelry shows, and continuing to ask questions and staying curious. Michael speaks with him to learn what he wished he had discovered earlier, what his holiday plans are, and how he stays abreast of current trends.
With Love from Antwerp, Why Every Jeweler Needs to Visit Belgium Antwerp, Belgium, is the Diamond Capital of the World. Antwerp's intriguing lore, intoxicating mix of vibrant diamond markets, and the impressive security within the diamond district make it a trip to remember. Michael speaks with Scott Stambaugh, of Stambaugh Jewelers, who has traveled to Antwerp over 30 times with IJO, as well as Erika Godfrey the organizer of the RJO Rock Tour. And that's not all. Mike speaks Ross Cockerham, CEO of Punchmark, who tells the story of Punchmark's original 'Sweeter Than Chocolate' campaign, as well as announces Punchmark's exciting new campaign slated for this year, designed especially to help retailers connect with their VIP clients in unique, meaningful ways.
Holiday Retailer Roundtable ft. Sundance Jewelers & Arezzo Jewelers It's the busy time of the year, but that's not stopping us from talking with jewelers in the middle of making their holiday sales. We compare Black Friday performances, early December Sales, and if they open the days between Christmas and New Years. This is the penultimate episode for Season 4, so sit back and enjoy!
Let's Talk With: INOX Men's Jewelry This week Mike interviews Sebastian Velasquez from INOX Men's Jewelry. INOX is best known as THE men's jewelry line, creating iconic bangles, bracelets, and rings for over fifteen years. Sebastian shared his view on men's fashion and where he thinks the industry is heading, information he is uniquely privy. Additionally, the pair discuss the unique trust and dynamic between vendors and retailers, something that is rarely spoken about but is extremely important for the continued success of the jewelry industry. You wont want to miss this one!
Upping Your Off-Season: Grads, Dads, and Groomsmen ft. INOX Men's Jewelry One of our most popular guests of Season 2 is back! Sebastian Velasquez from INOX Men's Jewelry is here to explain how to capitalize on three major jewelry sales periods that are often overlooked: graduation celebrations, Father's Day, and groomsmen gifts. Learn how to prepare your store and your marketing for this upcoming year and give your offseason a boost.
Making the World a Better Place One Smile at a Time: an Interview with Smiling Rocks Smiling Rocks are a new lab grown diamond & jewelry business with a focus on giving back. Their jewelry has been worn on the red carpet by celebrities and influencers, but the most beautiful part of their jewelry is the 3% of every purchase that goes to charity. CEO & Co-Founder Zulu Ghevriya created this business with environmental impact as a focus, and have made strides to minimize their footprint on the world, going so far as planting hundreds of thousands of trees and removing thousands of pounds of ocean trash. But their philanthropy doesn't end there, they also are donating to Animal Protection, Medical Support for children born with cleft palates, and kids scholarships. This is a feel good episode, so don't miss out!
102 Years of Excellence, Meet Ostbye ft. Craig MacBean A business doesn't stick around for over 100 years if they aren't doing things the right way. Craig MacBean is the 4th generation President of Ostbye, and shares some of the key differentiating factors when it comes to standing out in the crowd of bridal vendors, his views on lab-grown diamonds, and teases some new products that are going to be coming to a jewelry retailer near you!
Exploring Custom Jewelry Design and Technology ft. Matthew Ego from Guild and Facet Our guest this week is Matthew Ego, CEO & Founder of the forward-thinking Guild and Facet, a renowned white label jewelry manufacturing company. He delves into the world of jewelry customization where Guild and Facet is making a mark, not necessarily through brand name, but through their commitment to exceptional customer service, incredible design, and commitment to leaning into burgeoning technologies. Matthew also recounts some of the most unforgettable custom jewelry projects that Guild and Facet has undertaken, including a breathtaking 14.5 carat lab-grown heart-shaped diamond that was worked with recently. We round up the discussion by exploring the growing trend of customization in the manufacturing industry, providing a glimpse of how this trend impacts our everyday lives.
It's Time to Talk About TikTok Marketing The fastest growing social media platform is made to feel authentic, unpolished, and fun. However, all of these adjectives contrast starkly with how many business owners try to portray themselves online. Most business owners want to be seen as professional, trust worthy, and intelligent, and it can be intimidating to let go and embrace the fun of making a TikTok! But don't worry, The Smithee Group team are here to give you some tips on how to start marketing in a different way!
Why Everyone Needs to Be a LinkedIn Expert ft. Megan Crabtree The misfit of the social media sphere, LinkedIn has long served as the primary place for humble brags about promotions. However, Megan Crabtree believes there more to the platform than Help Wanted ads and Bragging. LinkedIn allows users to have an authentic professional voice, something rare when compared to other social platforms, and Megan explains exactly how to amplify what you have to say. B2B or B2C, your voice deserves to be heard.
How You Should be Marketing Through Facebook in 2023 A lot has changed since In the Loupe covered Facebook marketing in S1E10. Facebook became Meta, which we still refuse to refer to it as, and are focused more than ever on shopping for their platform. That should be good news for both retailers and shoppers, but it also mean the rules are more complex and important than ever before.
I Tried Every Vertical Video Platform So You Don't Have To (TikTok, YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels) Are you ready to unlock the world of vertical video content? Join me as we delve into the intricacies of Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, and TikTok, the leading platforms that have revolutionized the era of vertical video content. You'll take away valuable insights as we dissect the strengths, weaknesses, and my personal experiences with each platform. I'll guide you through their unique content limits, diverse audio options, and the specific audience they attract, and you'll understand why one claims a special place in my heart. We won't just stop at platform comparisons; we'll venture into the vast realm of editing tools and best practices that can optimize your content creation process. I'll take you through the hurdles of multi-publishing and the significance of tailoring content to satisfy the unique requirements of each platform. Hope you enjoy!
The Keys to Good Copy ft. Stephanie Momot Good copywriting doesn't stand out: it blends in. The copy on your website should act as a brand ambassador and point of connection with your customers. In this episode, we talk with professional writer Stephanie Momot Rhodes. She shares her perspective on the value of good copy and how it functions on your site to encourage specific user behavior. She also gives her top tips for those tasked with writing web copy, and some insights on the In the Loupe brand voice that she crafted.
5 Things That Are Working Right Now In E-Commerce We spend a lot of time measuring results of a wide variety of different digital marketing techniques, and it shouldn't come as a surprise to hear that not everything is effective. Not only that, but digital marketing changes yearly, if not monthly, based on the small algorithm tweaks enacted on the various platforms available to retailers. Stuart Blessman, Director of Digital Marketing, outlines 5 things that are working (and 5 things that are NOT) in the digital marketing space.
A Masterclass on Email Marketing with Stuart Blessman Ready to amp up your email marketing game? We've got Stuart Blessman, Director of Digital Marketing at Punchmark, sharing the nitty-gritty of email marketing and how it's evolved in recent years. From the right amount of emails to leveraging sequences, Stuart guides us through the digital marketing labyrinth. We take an in-depth tour of email marketing platforms such as Constant Contact, Active Campaign, Campaign Monitor, Mailchimp, and Klaviyo. Stuart reveals how these platforms, with their unique features and integration options, serve as powerful engines to boost your store's revenue.
Let's Talk With: Michael O'Connor, Director of Marketing at The Plumb Club Michael O'Connor has been there, done that, in the jewelry industry. He's worked as a designer, conceptualizing jewelry prior to the popularization of CAD software, he's started his own marketing firm, Style & Substance Inc, and worked at prestigious organizations like Frederick Goldman, Platinum Guild International, Couture, JCK, DeBeers. In addition to staring in his own TV show and covering numerous awards show red carpets, he has appeared repeatedly on a variety of shows such as The Today Show, ET, Access Hollywood and QVC. He has also styled numerous celebrities for red carpet appearances. He now oversees marketing efforts for the prestigious vendor coalition, The Plumb Club, as their Marketing Director.
An Interview with the Women’s Jewelry Association ft. Jennifer Markas Jennifer Markas, the Executive Director of the Women's Jewelry Association joins us this week to talk about the impact WJA is making in the industry and the exciting initiatives the organization has coming up. Jenn shares in detail the difference that the community of WJA has on one another, the future of sustainability in the industry, and how we can all get involved to make a tangible impact.
Diamond Diaries, Becoming a Jewelry Retail Influencer ft. Alex Schlindwein Alex Schlindwein is the Marketing Director and former General Manager of Kiefer Jewelers, but you might know her as @_diamond_diaries, her Instagram influencer alias she creates engaging and eye-catching content under. Mike spoke with Alex about what drove her to create content, what her goals are with the platform, and what easy content ideas she believes are winners.
What Goes Into Starting Your Own Jewelry Line ft. Birthright Foundry Join me as I sit down with the inspiring Constance Palamalu, the creative genius behind the high-end jewelry brand, Birthright Foundry. Drawing from her rich Samoan heritage, Constance has successfully carved out a unique space for herself in the world of fine jewelry. We chat about her innovative design process, the fascinating journey of selling her most high-profile piece to date, and the special experience of working with celebrities. Constance's story of embracing her authenticity and staying true to her roots will leave you inspired.
Clienteling in 2022 ft. Clientbook The future of clienteling looks a lot different than it has in the past, and expectations have changed. The difference between a customer and a client relies on the follow up skills of the business owner. That's why we decided to speak with Ryan from Clientbook about clienteling in 2022 and how you can convert one-time customers into long term clients.
The Starting of Picup Media's Empire ft. Picup Media You know them as brilliant minds behind one of the most transformative pieces of technology in jewelry e-commerce, the GemLightbox, but do you know their story? Their team is full of talented individuals, brilliant minds, and a 30 under 30 member. Michael sat down with Kevin Saw, Director of Finance and Operations at Picup Media, about their impact on the industry, making a splash with the GemLightbox, and what their next product will be.
Meet Edge Retail Academy ft. Sherry Smith Perhaps you are familiar with the phrase, "If it can't be measured, it doesn't matter"? Or maybe you've heard this one: "You can't fix what you can't measure." If either of these adages rings a bell, then you've probably also heard of the Edge Retail Academy and their tremendous work utilizing your POS data. We speak with Sherry Smith, Director of Business Development, about what KPIs should matter to every jeweler, and trends for the industry. This is not an episode you'll want to miss!
Fraud Protection Around the Holidays ft. ClearSale A majority of retailers make upwards of 70% of their online sales in November and December, which means the probability to encounter fraud around the holidays is the highest. It's not all faulty cards, or shady orders too! Some fraudsters have put as much time into attempting to scam you as you have trying to prevent them. Mike speaks with Faye from ClearSale to discuss how you can prevent your business this holiday season.
The 2023 TSG Marketing Guide The yearly guidebook written and released by The Smithee Group at the start of each year is your ultimate strategy guide for making 2023 your best year ever. They cover how to elevate your existing marketing with new styles, marketing channels you should be opening to find new customers, and industry trends they believe will be the next big thing.
Digital Accessibility and Your Website ft. AccessiBe If you have a website, it's important for you to understand what the Americans Disabilities Act (ADA) means for you. Delve into the world ADA compliance for websites, joined by the experts from AccessiBe, Punchmark's new ADA compliance partners. From understanding the legal landscape to practical implementation, our conversation sheds light on the importance of web accessibility and how AccessiBe's innovative Accessibility Widget can empower businesses to create truly inclusive online experiences. Tune in to discover how ADA compliance isn't just a requirement, but a step towards a more accessible and equitable digital world.
In the Loupe is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Deezer, iHeart Radio, Podcast Addict, and right here on Punchmark's website! You'll be able to listen to the same great content on whichever platform you choose, so please use the one you enjoy most!
Our goal for In the Loupe was intended to set up important topics that online retailers and jewelers might not be focused on yet. The world of Digital Marketing and online sales is still very new and emerging, and in our many conversations with our clients, we have found that many jewelers were unaware of how much there is to do and think about.
A big part of In the Loupe is to amplify the voices of industry members who are doing big things with jewelry. From leaders to vendors and next generation jewelers, we want to sahre your stories.
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A coin begins as a piece of metal, worth simply its own weight. It is then punchmarked with a symbol, created to represent a specific value or set of principles. When marked with this symbol, that ordinary piece of metal transforms into a valuable and trusted form of currency. This story is parallel to the design of every great company and brand.
Punchmark has provided web design, branding, and industry-specific data solutions to large and small jewelry businesses since inception in 2007. We're a team of creative professionals with a unique array of technological and creative skills giving us the ability to take any business from conception to production with a great rate of success.
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