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Trever Ross Brown, Gold Jewellery 2000
Trever Ross Brown, Gold Jewellery 2000

Stand out and be social

At 72 years of age, and having worked in this industry for 18 years, one would think I’d have learnt everything there was to know about being a jeweller and operating a small business.

Ha! Fat chance.

Sure my wife and I may have a far better understanding of product selection, how to manage supplier relationships and the importance of customer service than we did when we first started but it’s a mighty tough slog to make it in this market simply by resting on your laurels, as any hard working business owner would appreciate.

The industry is constantly changing and I’m not going to sit around wishing it would return to the ‘good old days’ because – newsflash – it’s not going to happen! And really, who’s to say they were the good old days anyway?

At my store, we thrive on any challenge or commission thrown our way. We have evolved in recent times from what was once a core manufacturing and distribution operation into one with a heavy focus on servicing the trade and public in areas such as remodelling, repairing and appraising – admittedly, this has been our salvation in the challenging economic climate.

My goal here, however, is not to preach about business models but rather to ask how jewellers are promoting their own successful business models in this increasingly competitive, global market. I for one want to be visible and take every possible opportunity to draw attention to myself, my interests and my activities. Although conventional forms of promotional material like signage and stationery will always play a part in our marketing mix, the presence of our business on the internet – particularly social media – is now considered to be an important factor to ensuring that it remains relevant to customers and thus a successful operation.

Currently, one of our main focuses is a Facebook business page that was created in 2011 and has 365 likes as of the time of writing. While it is early days and not yet clear how these likes will translate into customers, I remain optimistic as I have with all of the advertising and media experiments we have conducted over our years in the industry.

I’ll be the first to admit that my age doesn’t put me in the ‘typical’ Facebook poster boy category but, gee, I’ve enjoyed the association with social media over recent years. I will continue to associate myself with it for lots of reasons, not the least of which is that I believe the time is near for when it will supersede the need for emails and websites as we know them.

The key is to remain open minded about Facebook pages, as should be the case with all media. It’s essentially a public relations exercise and should be used with this aspect in mind at all times.

The social network has definitely become part of the ‘big picture’ of our website and online activities. We’ve already started to see links and references translate into activity. Reposting content from credible industry-based publications has proven to generate plenty of engagement and anything eye-catching, provocative or topical, like the Melbourne Cup, really gets people excited. Without spilling too many secrets, posts about birthstones are also pretty popular.

Before you say, “Are you kidding, Trevor? I’m getting old; I work seven days a week; there is no time to be playing around on Facebook,” let me tell you that I can empathise – you think you’re the only one who works 12-hour days? The truth is, though, I wouldn’t be standing here atop the soapbox vouching for this if I didn’t believe in the benefits.

Facebook provides the opportunity to connect with an entire community of people who have similar interests – in our case, jewellery – without having to allocate a ridiculously large advertising budget. I dare you to think of another form of media that presents such a strong business case!

And the most exciting thing is that the surface has barely been scratched in regards to the use of social media in the fashion and jewellery industry. As with everything in life, we are only limited by the capacity of our imagination and passion.

Social media is fertile soil for making contacts, developing market surveys, stimulating creativity and engaging in debate. Why not make 2015 the year you put your jewellery business on the world map for all to see? It could be your most successful public relations exercise yet! 

Name: Trevor Ross Brown
Company: Gold Jewellery 2000
Position: managing director
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Years in the industry: 18

Ellendale Diamonds Australia

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