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  • Podcast: Put Your Heart In Your Business

    21 JUN 2023 · This month, the Train Retail Podcast (formerly JimmyCast) covers a topic with timeless importance: how to have passion in your business. In this episode, host Jimmy DeGroot and co-host Doug Meadows of David Douglas Diamonds in Marietta, GA discuss how crucial passion is to success and why it’s also necessary to instill that passion in one’s employees. Jimmy remarks that everyone he’s known who is happy and successful in business started from a passion for what they were setting out to do. Doug shares how he was able to discover his passion even though he grew up in the business as a third-generation jeweler. At 23, Doug was invited to move from Detroit to Georgia in order to open a retail jewelry business with a friend, and he found his love for jewelry retail in his relationships with his customers. Doug raises a critical question, though: How do you convey and create that passion in your staff? He and Jimmy then talk about practical ways to do that, including a quality that many may not immediately connect with passion — vulnerability.
    32m 41s
  • JimmyCast (Episode19): Trade Shows Mixdown

    20 JUL 2021 · This month, JimmyCast dives into a timely topic: trade shows. In this episode, host Jimmy DeGroot and co-host Doug Meadows of David Douglas Diamonds in Marietta, GA share a fun and lively conversation about why shows are important, what retailers can get out of them and how to make the most of your time there. As Doug says, it’s not about just going to buy. It’s about going to learn and meet people as well. “I pray for those divine appointments and connections,” he says. Jimmy talks about best practices he learned over the years and how much that helped him make the most of his time at the shows. Doug reminisces about his first time going to the Vegas shows and how much he learned from a fellow retailer’s buyer. And both discuss how being at shows can make you feel like part of the larger retail community. Several fun stories are shared, including the time Doug brought friends as a “babysitting service” for his wife so that she could have fun while he was at the show, as well as the time that Jimmy and Doug bunked together at a certain trade show that used to take place in Chicago.
    38m 2s
  • JimmyCast (Episode 18): Jeffrey Samuels On How To Build A Business To Support A Lifestyle

    18 NOV 2020 · This month, Jeffrey Samuels, owner of William Jeffrey’s Jewelers near Richmond, Virginia, joins host Jimmy DeGroot and co-host Doug Meadows of David Douglas Diamonds in Marietta, GA to talk about how a jewelry store owner can build a business that supports their lifestyle. Samuels started in the industry as a loose diamond sales rep covering nine states. He decided to open a retail jewelry store in his hometown of Mechanicsville when his oldest son was born in 1990. At that time, store hours were six days a week from 10 until 8. Today, the store is open Tuesday through Friday until 6 and Saturday until 3. And this year, Samuels will only work four days a week in the store. He discusses how a store owner needs to train their team to take ownership, but more importantly, how the owner has to train himself not to micro-manage and how to ignore that “little gremlin” that says you could have done something better than your employee did it. One impressive feature of Samuels’ operation is that his average inventory turn is 6 — whereas most jewelers have an average turn of about 1. “It’s not about how much you sell,” Samuels says, “but about how much you make in profit.” Samuels goes on to discuss his aversion to traditional advertising and insistence on ROI, and how he’s found reliability in Podium and Google Reviews. He also talks about why he doesn’t sell lab-grown diamonds, gives his thoughts on CRM (customer relationship management) software, and shares his preliminary exit plans.
    24m 51s
  • JimmyCast (Episode 17): Wilson Lin on Starting a New Business During a Historic Health Crisis

    9 JUL 2020 · This month, JimmyCast brings you a story of hope — of a business person who fell so hard for metals and gemstones that he felt he needed to open his own jewelry business, even in the face of a historic health crisis. In the episode, host Jimmy DeGroot and co-host Doug Meadows chat with Wilson Lin, a 33-year-old whose family immigrated from China to Nebraska when he was in his teens. After graduating school, Wilson, a non-smoker and non-drinker, decided he had little interest in the family business of liquor and spirits. Instead, he found his passion in working with metals and gemstones. With no history in the jewelry business, getting his foot in the door was difficult for Wilson. He applied and was rejected 13 times for jewelry store positions, before finally getting a job as a bench jeweler’s apprentice at the 14th location — A.T. Thomas in Lincoln, NE. He later worked as a manager at a Zale’s location. Now, however, Wilson taking the biggest step of all — launching his own business, with an opening target of September 1. He talks with Jimmy and Doug about how and why he decided to launch right now, his intended product and service range, as well as other details on how he financed his business and selected a location. Plus, Wilson also discusses the Facebook group he formed for jewelers in a similar position to his, called “First Generation Jewelers”, which now has close to 900 members. (Sign up for the group here.)  
    27m 32s
  • (Season 1, Ep. 16): Larry Rickert on Working From Home and His Last Big Project

    12 MAY 2020 · This month, JimmyCast welcomes Larry Rickert, owner of Jim Kryshak Jewelers in Wausau, WI. The two know each other well, as Jimmy was the general manager at Rickert's business from 1996-2007, before leaving to begin his jewelry consultancy business. Amongst other useful business advice, Larry offers timely guidance to jewelry business owners on how to adjust to working from home. In fact, Larry is something of an expert on the matter -- having worked off-site with Jim Kryshak Jewelers since 2005. Larry's most important lesson? Stop micro-managing and trust your people. Since 2005, "the store has continued to grow. Because of the people at the store. Not because of me. It actually was in spite of me. Because I wasn't there. I couldn't micro-manage. I broke my micro-managing tendencies and ... everybody did just fine." Hear more wisdom from Larry, Jimmy and co-host Doug Meadows in the latest episode of JimmyCast.
    44m 43s
  • (Season 1, Ep. 15): Jason Druxman on Moving From Corporate Jewelry to Independent Life

    11 FEB 2020 · This month, Jimmy DeGroot welcomes a guest he knows quite well. In fact, they know each other so well that they can complete each other’s … “… sandwiches?” suggests Jason Druxman, co-owner of Avenue Jewelers in Appleton, WI. Druxman has been in the jewelry business for over 30 years — “which is impossible,” he jokes, “because I’m only 36.” Before taking over Avenue Jewelers (where he worked with DeGroot), the fourth-generation jeweler spent much of his early career in corporate settings — working for Sterling Jewelers’ sub-brands. In the podcast (11:50), he discusses pros and cons of working in a corporate jewelry environment versus an independent one.  Druxman describes the corporate business as “very cutthroat, very push-push” but admits he enjoyed it, especially as a young man with an instinct for competitiveness. “It was awesome for me,” says the jeweler, “because I could measure myself against these other thousand stores.” How does independent life compare? As his current business title on his LinkedIn profile and business card (“The Diamond Stud”) indicates, Druxman’s working life is definitely not as stiff and regimented as it use to be. Hear more pros and cons in the latest JimmyCast.
    36m 37s
  • (Season 1, Ep. 14): Aleah Arundale on Selling Diamonds and the Power of Jewelers Helping Jewelers

    27 NOV 2019 · This week, JimmyCast welcomes Aleah Arundale, founder of the popular private Facebook group, Jewelers Helping Jewelers, and a fifth-generation jeweler who works for diamond wholesaler Olympian Diamonds. Chatting with co-hosts Jimmy DeGroot and Doug Meadows, Aleah shares why she created Jewelers Helping Jewelers (4:05), which now has 18,500 members. A few years back, Aleah felt there was something missing in other social media communities. “I wanted a free, open forum where everybody could say whatever they want, whenever they want,” she says.  She decided to launch a brand new community for which the primary rule would be having the fewest rules possible. She says she’s proud that, despite the openness and freedom of the group, participants (mostly) get along, providing an important source of advice, support and trading partners to thousands of jewelry professionals who would otherwise struggle to find community. Says Aleah, “This is a testament to show that, if you just let people go, they will show you how wonderful they can be.” Aleah estimates that the group has facilitated more than $1 billion in transactions since its launch, sharing a few anecdotes of jewelers whose businesses and lives were changed by the community, including one jeweler who claims to have done $4 million in business through JHJ. Later in the podcast, Aleah discusses one of her pet peeves — jewelers who refuse to put prices alongside jewelry in the showcase (11:00). Plus, she offers her extremely simple tip for selling more diamonds (13:05).
    21m 46s
  • (Season 1, Ep. 13): Dave and Spencer Mink On the Importance of Counting Your Traffic

    21 OCT 2019 · In this month's episode of JimmyCast, host Jimmy DeGroot talks customer data with Dave and Spencer Mink of TraxSales. One of the earliest customer tracking companies, launched in 1996, TraxSales uses an infrared camera system to track door traffic (eliminating visits from your staff and other non-customers like the mailman). The statistics generated can then be integrated with retailers' CRM program, offering the ability to create up to 30 different reports, including closing ratio and a statistic owner/CEO Dave Mink calls "revenue per guest". Hear more about how Dave's big "epiphany" led to the creation of the company in 1996, as well as how you can use customer-tracking data in order to make better management decisions and dramatically improve your sales team's performance.
    24m 29s
  • (Season 1, Ep. 12): Kim Gordon on Making the Leap to Jewelry Store Ownership

    15 SEP 2019 · Kim Gordon is living the dream — it's the dream of owning her own store, the aptly named Dream Jewelers in Oshkosh, WI. Gordon has spent most of her career in jewelry sales, having spent more than a decade as an assistant manager at a Kay Jewelers and, after that, another decade as sales manager at Jim Kryshak Jewelers in Wausau, WI. Then, in 2014, she finally made the leap into jewelry-store ownership, using her life savings to purchase a Wisconsin business called Thimke Jewelers, which she later rebranded as Dream Jewelers. Gordon shares the story of her journey, and tells you how she's launched her business in a challenging competitive environment and on an ultra-tight budget. "I had $20,000 in the bank," she says. "And $20,000 seems like a lot of money ... until you open a jewelry store." Hear the rest of Kim's story on the latest edition of JimmyCast.
    48m 53s
  • (Season 1, Ep. 11): The Dumbest Things We've Ever Done

    16 AUG 2019 · If making mistakes is the best way to learn, then the latest episode of JimmyCast promises to be a tremendous learning experience. In the episode, Jimmy DeGroot and co-host Doug Meadows each share five dumb things they've seen jewelers do in their jewelry stores. "This includes us," notes Jimmy. "Actually, my list is mostly mine," says Doug. Tales shared include a pyrotechnic prank gone wrong (3:40), a store owner who brought in a new sales trainer to work with his team, only to completely sabotage the effort before it even began (11:30), plus an expensive lesson from a jewelry con artist (20:00). Says Jimmy, "This is a good episode for learning what not to do in your jewelry store." 
    34m 6s

Want straight talk about the toughest marketing and management issues facing jewelry retailers? Then we've got the podcast for you — JimmyCast, hosted by marketing guru Jimmy DeGroot of the...

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Want straight talk about the toughest marketing and management issues facing jewelry retailers? Then we've got the podcast for you — JimmyCast, hosted by marketing guru Jimmy DeGroot of the Jewelry Marketing Institute, with moral support and important insights from the retail front lines supplied by co-host Doug Meadows, owner of David Douglas Diamonds in Marietta, GA.
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