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EDITORIAL: THE JEWELRY BOX PARADOX, OR, SOME ODD PROMOTION IDEAS |  May 18, 2011 (0 comments)

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Merrick, NY—Once Mother Nature finally admits that winter is over for another year it’s time to engage in the famous annual rite of going through the bedroom closet and culling things we no longer wear. But one dilemma I’ve yet to resolve is what to do with one big bin that’s full of empty jewelry and watch boxes.

They’re beautiful little boxes, whose artisanship in and of themselves bespeaks the quality and rarity of their original contents. They’re too lovely, and clearly too expensive, to throw away. But being a fashion lover in a house built before closets were routinely scaled to the size of an airplane hangar means I have to get somewhat creative about storage, or eventually Jim will be keeping his clothes next door. It also means keeping every piece of jewelry and watch in its original packaging takes up too much space.

What to do? Feeling far too guilty to throw these lovely boxes out, yet seeing no real alternative purpose for them, for years I’ve dodged the question by shoving them to the back of the top shelf.

I wonder if any consumers do the same. I’m certainly not advocating we eschew beautiful packaging—perish the thought! The presentation of the purchase is as important to the luxury jeweler’s image and the customer’s experience as the purchase itself. A store’s boxes, bags, pouches, tissue, and other wrappings are a source of pride to both merchant and shopper. But if you’re a jewelry lover with limited storage space, what do you do with all the boxes? And if you’re a jeweler, is there a way you can turn this odd dilemma into an opportunity?

This is not our closet.

I sense some promotion ideas here:

  1. Partner with a charity that helps disadvantaged women build a business-appropriate wardrobe. Host an event in your store wherein you invite your customers to bring their old boxes, and even old jewelry, to donate to the organization for its clients. You can also buy some inexpensive jewelry (such as a small freshwater pearl necklace, bracelet, or earrings) to put into each box before donating it. What woman, especially one who’s just finding her way, wouldn’t want some jewelry to go with her new work clothes?
  2. Turn this promotion into an ongoing program. Offer your customers an incentive for bringing in boxes whenever they shop—say, a small amount off the purchase of a new piece if they bring in any jewelry or watch box, or twice the amount if they bring in one of your store’s own boxes.
  3. Collect empty boxes and invite local artists, art students, or disabled students to decorate them and re-make them into something unique and collectible. Sell them in your store and on your Web site and donate the proceeds to your local art alliance, disabled program, or to fund art classes in local schools, or to benefit Jewelers for Children or the Diamond Empowerment Fund.
  4. Collect empty boxes and donate them to an after-school program or summer camp program for kids to use for arts-and-crafts projects.
  5. Take the above idea a step further and hold a contest for the best redesigned box, where the winning child gets a big compartmentalized jewelry box or a piece of jewelry for his or her mother.
  6. While you’re at it, have a shopping-bag drive. Fancy upscale paper shopping bags are like boxes—too pretty to throw away, but they seem to multiply like rabbits. Donate the collected bags to charitable thrift or resale shops to use for their clients’ purchases.

It’s been proven that cause-marketing and beneficial shopping is a powerful incentive for many consumers to spend when they might otherwise not. I’m sure you’ll be able to think of lots more creative ideas to help your customers help those less fortunate, and, in so doing, also help your own business.

As for me, I’ve finally hit on the perfect solution for getting that bin out of the closet: it’s now up in the attic. Anybody running a box drive?

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