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Last updateWed, 22 Nov 2017 7am

Howard Kelrick


24 Karat Corner - News and Views from the 24 Karat Club Southeastern U.S. What in the world is a “cashier’s” check?

My nephew is a bright kid.  He can type over 100 words a minute just by using his thumbs!  And, he often calls me for advice.  Yesterday, he called me with an odd question.  “Where do I get a cashier’s check?”  Apparently, he was trying to rent an apartment in New York City, and the landlord wanted the first month’s rent, security, etc. in a cashier’s check.  “I asked the cashier at my regular Starbucks for one, and she just looked at me funny!”

24 Karat Corner - News and Views from the 24 Karat Club Southeastern U.S.: Summertime...

... And the living is easy!  My summer intern has the office running smoothly, and Kiki has the refrigerator door plastered with travel brochures.  All across the country it’s quiet on Main Street.  As my friend Mark once said rather awkwardly, “If you can afford to shop in my store, you can afford to go to the beach or mountains for the summer.”  Unless your store is located in a resort town, you probably have some time on your hands.  So, what to do?

24 Karat Corner - News and Views from the 24 Karat Club Southeastern U.S.: Can you nail the close?

Congratulations!  You’re still in the jewelry business. Despite everything that we’ve faced in the last five years, you (or your employer) have figured out how, in the most difficult environment ever, to make it work.

This means you’ve managed to lock down your expenses, control your personnel costs, develop your ideal product mix, all while maintaining margins, and in an ever changing economy.  Sharp retailers are relentless in staying after these goals, and keep a watchful eye on every aspect of the business they can control.

But here’s what is unique and so challenging about our industry.  The major component of the biggest expense we all face, the “cost of goods sold” is the price of gold.  And, we have absolutely no control over its price!  Do all the cost cutting you want, but the price of gold is set by a bunch of traders in London at something called “The Fix”.  That should tell you everything you need to know.

One of the cardinal rules of any business is that you should never sell an item for less than its replacement cost.  This, of course, means that on gold’s most volatile days, retailers are forced to change the price tickets on all their gold merchandise. Otherwise, they run the risk of selling for less  than what it might cost to re-stock the item!  And, as far as I know, no one has come up with a way around this task yet.

The 24 Karat Club, despite our name, doesn’t control the price of gold, nor can we predict it.  We do offer, however, incentives and scholarships so you can learn how to monitor and manage those aspects of your business that you can control. To learn how you may qualify for any of our scholarship opportunities, ask your favorite 24 Karat Club member for details.

Now its time to announce the first annual 24 Karat Club “Nail the Close” contest.  Just predict the closing price of gold for December 31, 2013.  E-mail your entry (one entry per person, please) to me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) with your name and where you work.  Please put “24 Karat Club/Nail the Close”  in the subject line.  Whoever comes closes to predicting the closing gold price will win lunch for two at the spring SJTA Atlanta Jewelry Show with one (or more) board members of The 24 Karat Club.  Entries must be received by June 30, 2013.  In case of ties, everybody wins.

If you win, you agree to have your picture published in an up-coming issue of Southern Jewelry News, and more importantly, tell us how you did it!  Good Luck!


Howard Kelrick is President of Finger Mate and a  board member of The 24 Karat Club, SEUS.  Finger Mate manufactures and installs expandable ring shanks and sells to retail jewelers throughout North America. Contact Howard at 954-458-2700 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

24 Karat Corner - News and Views from the 24 Karat Club Southeastern U.S.

Why I never cut in line

One hundred years ago this month, my grandfather stepped off the boat from Russia.  Like all the other young men in the line, he spoke no English and had no money or skills.  His father, who he left behind and whom he would never see again, swept chimneys for a living.

24 Karat Corner - News and Views from the 24 Karat Club Southeastern U.S.: If it’s not perfect...

I went to a charity luncheon yesterday afternoon.  It’s not my normal weekday routine, but I was asked by a close friend, it was for a good cause, and it was being held at one of those hot, trendy places that you could never get a reservation.  So, I was excited to attend.

Usually, the food at these things is pretty boring.  But, because the place was known for its lively, cutting-edge dishes, my table-mates and I were excited for a fun meal.  Unfortunately, we were terribly disappointed as the food was bland, boring, and resembled the stuff they used to serve on airplanes.

As I got up to stretch my legs, I recognized the manager.  He was a guy I had known for a long time, so I felt comfortable going over to him for a little conversation about the food.

After catching up with him for a few minutes, I couldn’t wait any longer.  “So, what was up with the food today?” I asked without any hint of subtlety.  “I’ve been looking forward to eating here since you opened, and this was not what I had expected!”

“Listen,” he said, “You know how these things are.  They give us a very limited budget... its a charity... we’re not making anything on it... and the people don’t really care about the food at these things...”

“Oh, sure, of course,” I said, gently letting him off the hook.  Why waste a Marketing 101 lesson when the damage was already done?  Over a hundred people who could afford to take an afternoon off, plus buy a ticket to the luncheon, and now every one of them thinks the food at this place stinks!

Sometimes we just have to say, “No, I can’t do it at that price.” To try to “make it work” or to accommodate a good customer, and produce something that you are not proud of, or is not representative of your true quality and workmanship, may often do more damage to your brand and reputation than the job was worth.  It is hard to say no, but just think of the harm done at that poor restaurant!

One of my friends has a big sign over the door leading from his shop into the show-room.  It says in big, bold letters:  “If its not perfect, don’t even bring it out!”  The message is obvious:  let’s not jeopardize our reputation with a product that may disappoint our customers. 

Obviously, we can’t always be perfect, but that should be the goal.  And, as we talk about these things at The 24 Karat Club clubhouse (which also serves as the bar at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel, venue for the Atlanta Jewelry Show), one theme keeps repeating.  What can we do as an organization to improve the business and careers of our retail jeweler friends?  And, how can we get them as close to perfect as possible in the eyes of their customers?  As always, we welcome your thoughts and suggestions.

Tomorrow, as usual, I’ll be having lunch at my desk.  A chicken salad sandwich on multi-grain, which I made myself.  It’ll be perfect.

Howard Kelrick is President of Finger Mate and a  board member of The 24 Karat Club, SEUS.  Finger Mate manufactures and installs expandable ring shanks and sells to retail jewelers throughout North America. Contact Howard at 954-458-2700 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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