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Retail Lessons Learned: Be Yourself And Trust Your Gut |  March 27, 2019 (0 comments)


Iowa City, IA—This week, we return to the heartland and Hands Jewelers to continue our conversation with Charlie Nusser. Last week’s edition of The Centurion Newsletter detailed his biggest success of last year, “The Perfect $450 Promotion, but he shared much more with us—not least of which was that as the old adage goes, you learn more from failure than you do from success. 

Looking back on the past year is a smart way to repeat what worked, and (hopefully) avoid what didn’t. If there was one takeaway fifth-generation Charlie Nusser did learn from things that didn’t work in 2018, it was to listen better—to both his own gut and to his dad, Bill Nusser.

“I needed to take chances on bigger and more interesting pieces to add to our inventory that in my gut or my heart just felt right. I think sometimes I overthink things and over-analyze things, and that can often cause me to take less risks, which generally is fine. But when adding a line or building a collection, you need some of those more wild pieces that will help sell the others.”

Related: Inside The Mind of A Millennial Jeweler, Part One and Part Two

The other thing Charlie did was take the inspiration he gained at a trade show and focused on making it a reality. It’s easy to come back from a convention or show fired up with new ideas, but not letting them get lost in the daily grind of work is another story. For Charlie, it was about getting more expert at social media.

“Social media has been huge for us this year. I decided to just suck it up and immerse myself in the business side of social media. At last year's [2018] Centurion Show in Scottsdale, one of the speakers mentioned the free courses Google offers on digital marketing. After Centurion, I went home and enrolled in the Google Garage learning program. It was a lot of work but a great experience.”

The course impacted how Charlie managed the store’s digital marketing. And for social media? “If I had any advice on social media, I would say jump in,” said Charlie. “Be yourself, not who you think people want you to be. If you have a store you are clearly doing something right, so just be yourself (maybe a little bit more fun version of yourself) and jump in.”

Here’s the summary from the 2018 Centurion presentation that inspired Charlie.

And the video Q&A from that session on

Another highlight of 2018 was adding a new hire. Good help is hard to find, but the staff at Hands’ is phenomenal, so a quick hire wasn’t the answer.

Left to right: Charlie and Bill Nusser behind Hands' famous 100-year-old counters. "They're so old they're cool again!" says Charlie.

“The most amazing part of Hands is our staff,” says Charlie. “We are fortunate enough to have multiple people on our staff with over thirty years at Hands.” Adding to the store’s staff wasn’t easy – or quick.

“We recently hired someone we had been speaking with for over three years about potentially working here,” says Charlie. “Hiring has to be the right time for both you and the new hire. Being transparent as an employer and an applicant I think is key as well. Once again, just be yourself!”

2018 was a very successful year for Hands, and Charlie Nusser is looking forward to a 2019 that’s even stronger and smarter with lessons learned.  

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