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Jewelry Business

ErikV10

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Aug 2, 2007
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I've been interested in starting my own jewelry business (store).

My question is, how hard is it to break in to the business? I am looking to sell Swiss watches like Rolex, Panerai, Tag, Omega, Movado, etc.

What should my capital be around? And where can I get the watches?

Additional tips would also be greatly appreciated!

Thanks In Advance.

Erik G.
 

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CarrieW

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Do you want a watches only store? or are you intending on selling actual jewlery to?

I would imagine you would need quite a bit of capital to start with(enough to stock the displays and inventory) selling those expensive watches. I dont imagine the makers of those would loan them to you for display or even for inventory(but anything is possible) you(the buisness) would have to qualify for a business line of credit with the merchants. (thats not the easiest thing to do being new to a biz.)

Look forward to reading the answers to this!
 
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ErikV10

ErikV10

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I'm starting with Swiss watches and then if I see potential after a few months, I will add other jewelries on display.
 

CarrieW

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I would go to stores who sell them or even call them and ask them who their distributors are. then contact the distributors and figure out what you want and how much it will be to get your inventory together. If they offer credit terms ect...


best of luck!
 

phlgirl

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You may want to contact some people within this orgainization, if you are planning on staying in state.

http://www.illinoisjewelers.org/index.html

Not sure whether you are thinking of an internet site or an actual storefront (perhaps both) but I have seen examples of each, which specialize solely on watches.

If you are going the storefront route, I think the key is that you need to be in a 'jewelery area' of town (in Philly, this is called Jeweler's row) and you must have (or be) a serious watch expert, who can educate your potential buyers. My husband is a big watch guy and he loves talking to (and buying from) the people who know & love the product.

I also think it would be critical to have an in-house repair expert (although many high end brands still require that it be sent back to manufacturer). When people come in to get their old watch fixed, they can browse for a replacement. :)

We almost purchased a storefront in PHL jeweler's row. Had the contract signed but ended up allowing a 2nd buyer to buy out the contract. We were planning on opening a coffee shop; however, in the process ended up doing a bit of research into the jewelery industry. Fascinating stuff.

Best of luck.
 

CarrieW

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I didnt even think about a website(b&m part of site)

that throws a whole new spin to it. If you are going to be using a website you may be able to have the manufacturer(or an independant distributor) drop ship directly to your customers.(if thats available) or place the orders to go thru you(ie you process it and handle shipping after its sent to you)

or you could even go directly to a jewler who has the watches and approach him for a joint venture of sorts...take pictures of what he offers and sell it online for him and let him deal with the merchandise...either by you processing the charges and taking him cash and purchasing at a discount of sorts or get the orders and pass them to him for processing and shipping...

I love phl's ideas of having a watch expert and a repair person. I know at the watch stands at the mall they offer cleanings and battery replacments...
 

phlgirl

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This is one of the websites we like best for watches (although I do not particularly like the look of their site).

http://www.bacario.com


Looks like they are now offering a 5% commission to affiliates. http://www.bacario.com/partner.asp Perhaps, you could start generating revenue by finding a way to direct business to their site. Although that might be an issue, longer term, if you end up wanting to be in the business yourself.

Maybe you could identify some more 'watch' specific web address names, find a way to get them in the top of the seach engine lists and simply redirect to their site, thus earning a commission?

Note: I have very little knowledge in this internet business area. There could be a major flaw in this concept, of which I am not thinking. You would want to seek more concrete advice from some of the other internet experts on this site. Just brainstorming here. :)
 

LightHouse

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Hit the brakes here real quick, this business is not like others. You cannot dropship these brands. The watch business is centered around image and heritage. If you are going with the higher end brands it is going to be very very tough to get into the business unless you are bringing new brands to the table.

Brands like rolex, tag, omega, etc etc. require you to have a store selling other accomaning watch brands already. those that are in the same "league". this requires alot of capital and a very slow start.

Most of your customers are going to buy from a place that has been around forever and that they trust. they want to make sure that you are going to be around to service and change their batteries (if need be) when they need it done.

The reality being unless there is noone around you that is selling these watches... and you have a demographic that can afford them i find it hard that someone else isnt already in there that has been doing it longer. This is not to say you could NOT do it. but it will be very very slow. you might try looking for something unique to sell. but i know from my years in the industry the other jewlers will come scope you out and start selling the same things you are.
 
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ErikV10

ErikV10

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Thanks for the great replies.

Yeah, I have been thinking about what you said. People are gonna want to buy from places that have been around for a while. Or worse is that they are already loyal customers to them.

I posted this on a different website and someone told me that if I want to open an account with Rolex, my first order should be more than a million?

I'm just gonna read more about the business and see how it goes. :)

-Erik G.
 

LightHouse

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loyalty has weight but i would not shy from the market because of it. I had researched veering out of the company i was working for to start my own, but without a load of working capital and a customer base it would be tough. If you are really intrested .. this would be one of those situations wher you would want to work in the industry. however, in the mean time.... feel free to ask any specific questions you may have.
 
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ErikV10

ErikV10

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I got another response from a friend saying that its easier to start mall store since their criteria for accepting new dealers is probably not that strict. I believe that will work since everybody who goes to the mall will see the store no matter what.
 

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LightHouse

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I got another response from a friend saying that its easier to start mall store since their criteria for accepting new dealers is probably not that strict. I believe that will work since everybody who goes to the mall will see the store no matter what.

Sure you can open a store but you may not have inventory! It doesnt matter where it is. yes it will be easier to grow in a mall where you get constant foot traffic but rates will be high for good areas. to tell you the truth a good way to get started is selling new fashion watches and doing repairs in a kiosk. move up from there. i know plenty of people that got their start this way. You really cannot jump from nothing into the high end brands unless you have been in the business and have the contacts, customers, knowladge base, and capital todo so. So start on the ground level and work your way up!
 

CarrieW

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Sure you can open a store but you may not have inventory! It doesnt matter where it is. yes it will be easier to grow in a mall where you get constant foot traffic but rates will be high for good areas. to tell you the truth a good way to get started is selling new fashion watches and doing repairs in a kiosk. move up from there. i know plenty of people that got their start this way. You really cannot jump from nothing into the high end brands unless you have been in the business and have the contacts, customers, knowladge base, and capital todo so. So start on the ground level and work your way up!

rep++++++

awesome post and excellent advice:hurray:
 

LightHouse

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Thnks Carrie.

Also Erik i forgot to mention, much like service at a car dealership, watch repair and mainly batteries will carry you through the rough days. there were days i did not sell, but i would still get about 10 watch battery replacements which not only killed the boredom of sitting in the store running the place, but provided a number and money for me to close out at the end of the day. basic repair is easy to learn and just take paitence and care. both of which i have, i think i expanded my paitence doing it for so long however. Tools are fairly in expensive as well. i know one or two watch people that go their start out in just repairs! started in a booth at a jewlery shop that was 5' x 5' and now have a watch store next door to the place they got started at!


PS stretch bands are the absolute worst things in life to repair, however watch adjustment , like batteries is also bread and butter.



I could go on and on about this topic, LOL
 
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ErikV10

ErikV10

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I could go on and on about this topic, LOL
Thanks for the response. Please go on. :)

That's only if you have a free time though. I really want to learn as much as I can!

Also, where can I learn how to repair watches?
 

LightHouse

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Well, come up with some questions on what you want to know, so i know what I'm aiming to answer.

You can goto school to be a watch maker, but for basic repairs you would need to work at a shop and learn it. I learned and taught people on my own over the years, but it was basic stuff only that could be done onsite without a watch maker.
 

china

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Sep 27, 2007
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Hit the brakes here real quick, this business is not like others. You cannot dropship these brands. The watch business is centered around image and heritage. If you are going with the higher end brands it is going to be very very tough to get into the business unless you are bringing new brands to the table.

Brands like rolex, tag, omega, etc etc. require you to have a store selling other accomaning watch brands already. those that are in the same "league". this requires alot of capital and a very slow start.

Most of your customers are going to buy from a place that has been around forever and that they trust. they want to make sure that you are going to be around to service and change their batteries (if need be) when they need it done.

The reality being unless there is noone around you that is selling these watches... and you have a demographic that can afford them i find it hard that someone else isnt already in there that has been doing it longer. This is not to say you could NOT do it. but it will be very very slow. you might try looking for something unique to sell. but i know from my years in the industry the other jewlers will come scope you out and start selling the same things you are.
This response is totally on the money. These companies (Rolex, Omega, etc.) usually will only do business with someone who has already been in the business for a long time. They will come out and look at your B&M shop, your lease, and everything else before they will even decide to do business with you.

There is no dropshipping or wholesalers with these premium brands. They basically call the shots and if they like your "store" they may allow you to carry their brand.

You need to understand that some of these brands have been around 100+ years so they need to keep the brand premium up.

Unfortunately, *everyone* wants to carry the big name brands. They have no problems finding people who want to sell their goods -- they have problems finding the RIGHT people to sell their goods.
 

yveskleinsky

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If you want some additional insight, check out www.score.org and do a search under expertise for jewelry/watches.

Just out of curiousity- does anyone here think that watches (maybe not high end ones) may be becoming obsolete with cell phones and PDAs and all? I know I don't wear one anymore. Granted, high end watches are more like man jewelry...

Good luck to you and keep us posted!
 

randallg99

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If you want some additional insight, check out www.score.org and do a search under expertise for jewelry/watches.

Just out of curiousity- does anyone here think that watches (maybe not high end ones) may be becoming obsolete with cell phones and PDAs and all? I know I don't wear one anymore. Granted, high end watches are more like man jewelry...

Good luck to you and keep us posted!

score is a good organization.... good recommendation.

I can't live without a watch. I wore a metal banded Swatch (even for black tie affairs) for years despite ridicule.

My in-laws gave me a beautiful watch as an engagement present and I haven't taken it off since.... push comes to shove, if it breaks, I will undoubtedly opt for a nice watch.
 

LightHouse

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If you want some additional insight, check out www.score.org and do a search under expertise for jewelry/watches.

Just out of curiousity- does anyone here think that watches (maybe not high end ones) may be becoming obsolete with cell phones and PDAs and all? I know I don't wear one anymore. Granted, high end watches are more like man jewelry...

Good luck to you and keep us posted!

Watches will never be phased out by cell phones. They are jewlery to some and a time teller to others. Thats like saying would you get rid of all the clocks in your house since your cable box tells you the time.... well of coarse not becsue you are not always standing in front of your cable box.

Additionally, watches will always be bought as gifts for others, much like wallets and handbags etc. Its intresting to see that most people i had talked to that didnt wear a watch would be the ones also that said its dumb to pay over $100 dollars for one. My thoughts are mixed up this morning but you get the general idea.
 
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ErikV10

ErikV10

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yveskleinsky, thanks for the website. I'll give it a look.

And yeah, I don't think watches will ever be taken over by PDAs and cellphones. Once you start wearing a watch, you can't live without it. It will feel like there is always something missing.
 

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LightHouse

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Erik, Did we cover all of your questions or did you have more?
 
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ErikV10

ErikV10

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That's it for now, I guess. I haven't read all of the stuff from the websites that you guys gave me so that will take most of my time.

I will post more when I have anymore questions.

Thanks.
 

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