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Memos are a big part of the jewellery business. It is a way to bring in goods for a short time to fill a specific request. But some stores operate almost entirely on memo goods. It has become a quick, easy way to get in the jewellery business without a large investment in inventory New stores often turn to memos to get their stores open with the intention of building their own inventory as their business progresses. Unfortunately, this rarely happens. They get caught in a memo trap that is very difficult to escape.

Memo is expensive

Even though there is no money spent up front, memo goods are very expensive. The supplier may need to get bank financing to produce the line and deliver it to the retailer. The interest on that loan is added to the wholesale price on the memo. Since the supplier is lending a substantial amount of value to the retailer, he expects to get an additional return on his investment; further increasing the price of the goods. If the competition is buying goods for cash they will get a substantially lower price. In some cases a store buying large quantities to get volume discounts can retail an item for the same price or less than the memo store must pay for the item. That makes it difficult or even impossible to compete.

Memos siphon cash flow

If you own your inventory the proceeds of any sale belong to you. It can be used to pay overhead, payroll, buy new goods or send your kids to college. In a pinch you can even sell at a slight loss to cover an immediate payable. Cash from sales of memo goods is not yours. You owe money on those goods. You cannot decide to allocate the money elsewhere. But often you need to spend that money to cover an urgent bill or emergency expense. From that point on, you are playing catch up. When a supplier shows up to get paid, you use whatever cash is on hand to pay him, hoping you’ll have more money to pay the next supplier. You end up paying yesterday’s bills with tomorrow’s sales, leaving nothing for yourself

Memos are a big part of the jewellery business.

Memos are a big part of the jewellery business.

Memos are not assets

You do not have legal title to memo goods. They belong to someone else. You cannot borrow money from a bank on inventory you don’t own. In the event that you want to retire or are forced to go out of business, you may walk away with nothing. In fact, you may still be in debt while someone going out of business with owned goods leaves with money in their pocket.

Memos as a tool

Memo certainly plays an important role in our industry. A memo can be a very useful tool. Besides a quick short term memo to fill a particular call, memo can add that special item to your offering that may be too expensive to buy for stock. Sometimes having that exquisite high end piece can help create interest in the rest of a line that you currently stock. It can also help fill in a few gaps in a line during your slow season instead of waiting for the good times to buy more goods.

Over reliance on memo is a trap that you want to avoid. You could end up just being a commissioned salesman for your suppliers rather than building a thriving business with your own assets. Use memo carefully or you could end up in a memo trap.


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India’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) has introduced over-hauling changes in the up-coming India International Jewellery Show (IIJS) to achieve about 25% growth in one of the Asia’s largest B2B trade shows.

IIJS has been experiencing acute space constraint since last many years, as a result of which at least 400 aspiring exhibitors are being left out in waiting list every year. So the National Exhibition Sub Committee of the GJEPC has introduced drastic changes in the show’s lay-out plan to accommodate at least 175 new companies with 200 more booths this year to achieve a growth of 25%. This year the show which is scheduled at its regular venue of the Bombay Convention Centre, Mumbai between 6th & 10th August, 2015, has expanded to 1100+ exhibitors and 2000+ booths.

Mr. Nirav Bhansali, Convener of the Sub Committee said, “One of the important features of the IIJS 2015 is a substantial 25% growth in exhibitors and 11% increase in booths. Keeping in mind the premier stature of the show, we are working towards getting leading national and international buyers. Moreover, the show hours have been extended by one hour in the evening this year which in return is expected to increase the flow of visitors by 10%.”

The IIJS has introduced for the first time this year a separate section committed to Synthetics & Simulants which includes man-made or lab grown diamonds (CVD, HPHT and others) and synthetic color gem materials. Also, included are loose man-made gem-materials like Cubic Zirconia (CZ), Moissanite and other such Simulants. GJEPC has stressed that these items cannot be displayed in other sections of the show.

At the same time, a separate section has also been created for Laboratories & Education, while the International Loose Stones and Allied sections have been relocated and the space freed has been merged with the nearby sections.

The Sub Committee has maintained the original floor plan by making temporary modifications in the halls. Open spaces within the premises are being converted in temporary halls. These changes have been made to keep the exhibition floor product centric, ease of navigation and improve services & facilities. This year, the exhibitors have been given liberty to give away partial space and in exchange, keep their current location.

The organizers have tried to improve inter-connectivity between walls and easy navigation. A new walkway has also been created at the rear side of the walls. Apart from this, a new entrance has been erected to ensure that the entry inside the halls is accessible from the Open Bay area.

A large multi-cuisine cafeteria has also been fabricated next to the halls to cater to the requirements of exhibitors and visitors. The Elite Club including large & medium retailers would undergo drastic changes and would now comprise of top buyers from tier I, II & III centers on pan India basis. Besides, an attractive hospitality package including 2 nights Stay will be offered to select 500 International buyers from different global markets.


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Even the judge says this is “A gem of a case!”

In February 2013, Thomas DePrince boarded a Starboard Cruise Services Inc. ship. While on his cruise, he went into an onboard jewellery store owned and operated by Starboard and asked about the possibility of obtaining a large loose diamond between 15 and 20 carats. The store manager, Mihai Rusan, sent an email to Starboard’s corporate office in Miami to inquire if such a stone was available. Starboard forwarded the request to one of their suppliers, Sophia Fiori, and received a reply that two stones were available. Their response described the two stones:

“1. EMERALD CUT 20.64 carats D VVS2 GIA VG Price $235,000”

“2. EMERALD CUT 20.73 carats E VVS2 GIA EX EX FNT Price $245,000”


Cruiseship jeweller makes $4.6 million error

Starboard is a luxury travel and leisure retailer.


The Miami Office emailed this information to Rusan exactly as Fiori had typed it. Rusan informed DePrince of the two available stones and quoted the prices as shown in the email. DePrince said he would think about it that evening. Discussing the deal with his travel mates, his sister Carolyn DePrince and his life partner Vernon Crawford. Both happen to be Gemmologists. They said the deal was too good to be true and he should probably pass. Instead, he returned to the store and said he wanted to purchase the 20.64 ct stone. Rusan prepared a sales agreement showing the total purchase price of $235,000 plus a $25 shipping charge. The agreement was signed; DePrince paid an initial down payment of $125,000 and returned the next day with the balance of $110,025.

But there was a slight problem. Fiori’s quote to Starboard was a PER CARAT PRICE. The actual total price should have been$4,850,400. Five days later, Starboard contacted DePrince to explain that due to the email mix up the agreement was “seriously in error.” With an offer of reduced fares for future cruises, Starboard refunded the credit card charges and backed out of the deal.

DePrince refused and demanded that the purchase go forward under the terms of the sales agreement as written. DePrince sued and Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Darrin Gayles granted summary judgment in favour of Starboard based on a unilateral error significant enough to allow one party to withdraw from an otherwise enforceable contract.

DePrince appealed the decision (transcript here) DePrince's attorney, Mario Ruiz stated, "If you extend that to its logical conclusion, any vendor can set a price, enter into a contract and then five days later decide, 'That's not a good price. We're going to change it."

The appellate court reversed the lower court decision and remanded the case a trail.

Eric Isicoff, an attorney for Starboard said, "Starboard is understandably disappointed by the court's decision. Nevertheless, it will do exactly what the court has ruled, take this case to trial and present its defenses in that forum. Starboard remains confident that it will prevail at trial."


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More and more Indian jewellery lovers are now changing their priority and opting for platinum jewellery over gold. The Second Annual Retail Trade Barometer (Study Report) published by the Platinum Guild International (PGI) proves this shift in trends.

The Study Report prepared by independent platinum market experts and industry analysts, discloses the consumer retail sales data of platinum jewellery in 2014 and vital projections for 2015; reviewed and reported by StratWon Business Consulting.

The Report gives an exclusive view of platinum retail sales. Platinum jewellery is the second largest consumer of platinum in the world (35%) after the auto-catalyst market (36%). It has covered over 400 jewellery retail companies with close to 40,000 retail outlets in the four main global markets of China, India, Japan and the USA.  The research was conducted between January and February 2015.

The key-findings of the Retail Trade Barometer, made public recently by the PGI reveal that platinum has achieved global growth of +28% in weight terms in 2014. The Report says that despite a slow start in 2014 and general elections in India, growth in platinum sales have been achieved across different types of outlets. PGI’s strategic retail partners have achieved a growth of +33% during 2014 while the other outlets grew by +19%. The Report further states that strong growth in 2013 and higher gross margins in 2014 have contributed to the India market seeing a compounded annual growth of 80% during last two years.


80% compounded platinum growth in India 80% compounded platinum growth in India
80% compounded platinum growth in India Photo source: PGI Evara Jewellery



Analysing the Report, Ms. Vaishali Banerjee, Country Manager India, PGI says,

“Given the overall market conditions, first half of the year remained subdued but platinum growth for 2014 has been very positive and consistent. This growth has been achieved from continuous improvement of consumer sentiment, higher conversion at the retail stores and improving the disposition for platinum amongst our key target audience. With the launch of Platinum Evara on the back of strong consumer research at the end of the year we are looking at further accelerating growth. The initial response to this new category has been very positive.”

There has been a striking shift in the buying trend for precious metal jewellery. Consumers are now leaning more towards everyday wear and gifting which has led to an acceptance of platinum in this segment. The primary focus of retailer’s has remained bridal jewellery because of the higher price per piece. The sales contribution and higher gross margins have prompted select retailers to rethink and change their approach in promoting their in-store platinum counters.

Specifying India’s outlook, the Report says that platinum demand in India would further grow by 23% in 2015. PGI has successfully launched Platinum Evara during December 2014 in India which targets the Indian Bridal jewellery market. According to PGI, the initial response for Evara has been positive and it should contribute to strong growth figures for 2015, over and above the 23%. PGI Retail partners are optimistic about 2015 with all types of jewellery, especially platinum and diamond jewellery.

Ms. Banerjee further says,

“The outlook for 2015 is strong given that platinum resonates with young India. Platinum Love Bands are getting embedded in the Indian culture and now with the successful launch and roll out of Evara, platinum offers an opportunity for retailers to bring in new consumers to grow their business while delivering a superior consumer experience.”


Huw Daniel, CEO of PGI says,

“Sustained growth in the platinum jewellery market is significant, as the jewellery category represents 35% of all global demand for platinum.  2015 is expected to achieve higher growth.  India is very exciting and PGI is bullish about the platinum prospects in the country, particularly in the light of the launch of the new bridal segment, Platinum Evara.”


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While leaving work for the day an employee of a jewellery store in Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniawas abducted, beaten and hit with a stun gun while the assailants unsuccessfully demanded the alarm codes and combination to the safe at the store where she works. Full story here.

Safety is your number one priorty

Once again, this is a reminder that we are in a very dangerous business. People assume that anyone working in a jewellery store, from the owner to the person that sweeps the floor, has access to valuable goods. It is easy to be complacent but we must always be conscious of safety. This is a good time to review your plans and procedures for keeping you, your employees and your family safe.

Safety in numbers

The most dangerous time is opening and closing. You need to be extra vigilant. Ideally, all the staff should arrive near the same time and wait in their cars until there are at least two or three people before going into the store together. At closing everyone should leave as a group. At both times at least one person, preferably more, should have a cell phone out and have the local emergency number (911 in the US) punched in and ready so that a quick press of the send button will summon the police.

Escort staff and salesmen

Anytime a staff member or jewellery salesman enters or leaves your store, they should be watched or escorted. Have them give a quick call before they come in so someone can stand outside and watch. Again, have a pre-dialed cell phone at the ready. When they leave they need to be watched or escorted until they are safely in their car. I knew of one store owner that had an extremely well-trained guard dog that would follow people to their car.

Keep your home life private

Family is our greatest pride and joy but also our greatest weakness. We will do anything for them. As much as we want to brag about our kids and their accomplishments, keep all references to their identity away from your store. Pictures of your family displayed in the showroom give criminals a positive identification of your loved ones. Photos of your kids receiving awards at school posted on social media or even in the local newspaper tell the bad guys where to look for them. Never, ever, publish your home address anywhere.

Don’t be too social

It is easy to get caught up with constantly updating your daily activities on social media. But if everyone knows where you are or will be all the times; you are at risk. Rather than posting about where you are going or the restaurant you are at now, try posting about where you have just been instead. It’s just as much fun but considerably safer.

You are never completely off duty

The jewellery business is rewarding but it comes with a price. We simply can never let our guard down. It only takes a moment of inattention, anywhere or anytime, for something to happen. We need to be cautious and suspicious of everyone and everything that is out of the ordinary. Our lives, the lives of our loved ones, and the lives of our associates depend on it.


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