Toledo, OH—Should jewelers take a stand on political issues? In a thoughtful essay in her Tuesday Tips & Tricks newsletter, Ellen Fruchtman, president of Fruchtman Marketing, advises against it. If someone asks, she says, she would never lie about her true opinion, but a business owner should think twice before publicly taking a stand or putting campaign signs on store property.
“Unless you are prepared for backlash, you should just do what you do: sell jewelry,” she told The Centurion.
The recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage could have been a hot-button issue for jewelers, but Fruchtman says unlike some other small businesses that made national news by refusing to serve gay couples, she hasn’t heard of any jewelers taking a similar position. Moreover, she pointed out that most jewelers who might personally oppose gay marriage also likely oppose adultery on the same religious grounds—yet they probably have sold lots of jewelry destined for mistresses.
But one jeweler in Kettering, OH decided to riff on the political season and run a campaign to his own great advantage. Larry Jaffe, owner of Jaffe Jewelers, made up political-style lawn signs reading “Larry Jaffe For Jeweler.” The cute marketing ploy was the biggest success he’s had with an ad campaign in store history, he says, and it caught the attention of the local press.
Jeweler Larry Jaffe used campaign signs to promote himself as a jeweler. Unfortunately, the marketing campaign is by necessity short-lived: while Kettering's laws don't prevent him from putting whatever he wants on a campaign sign, he is required to take them down immediately after Election Day. Photo here and top of page: Marshall Gorby for the Dayton Daily News.
“We’ve gotten the most result for the smallest amount of money we’ve spent in years,” he told the Dayton Daily News in a video interview. He printed up 300 signs and parked them all over the city. He said the response has been phenomenal—people are calling, emailing, commenting on social media, and coming up to him at community events, all promising that they will vote for Jaffe for Jeweler.