Timonium, MD—Luxury resale is hot. In its annual report last year, online reseller ThredUp confirmed the growth of resale as one of the biggest shifts in retail, on track to hit $41 billion annually in just a few short years.
Between the lower cost of secondhand luxury goods (although that gap is narrowing), the rise of sustainability-conscious consumption, and the desire for something truly unique, younger consumers are flocking to secondhand goods. Luckily for better jewelers, that’s right in their wheelhouse—although competition is heating up as online luxury resale sites add more fine jewelry and watches.
It’s been said that tried and true often works best, and that there’s still no substitute for the personal touch. As an outstanding example of this principle, The Centurion spoke with Tim Brown, merchandise manager and watch, diamond, and estate jewelry buyer at Maryland-based Smyth Jewelers about several of their 2018 events.
“Estate shows are big for us,” says Brown. “We bring in estate jewelry and previously owned watches and use our own existing inventory to offer something that most customers do not see on a regular basis. It’s a win-win – the customer has access to jewelry that their friends don’t have and we sell something our competitors do not have. Partnering with a wholesaler of estate watches has helped increase traffic and allows us to cater to a larger audience which greatly increased sales for our estate shows.”
Estate and remount events pack Smyth Jewelers, above. Below, an antique truck sets the mood to look at estate jewelry and pre-owned watches.
But it’s not just the estate events that are big at Smyth. Remount events, an under-the-radar but reliable promotion, produce excellent results for Smyth as well.
“Our remount shows are not new, but we have been capitalizing on them,” says Brown. “We brought them back a few years ago and use them as a time to invite customers to trade in and trade up. Along with the remount suggestions, we also bring in plenty of diamonds and loose gems. We find them to be very successful.”
Smyth’s overall plan creates urgency and excitement, resulting in sales. The events are very appointment driven, according to Brown. “Nothing works like appointments. We have been able to increase our closing ratio. We set goals based on booked appointments, not by foot traffic or those who hear about it or saw an ad.”
So, along with connecting with current customers, how does Brown reach other customers to book appointments? “We use a few methods that many consider outdated. I keep hearing that Facebook is dying but it’s very successful for us. We share on social media and continue to grow business through our thousands of followers. Radio is not dead either. It’s still strong for us in our market.”
They also feature the events and jewelry on their website, send out postcards, build a call list and start months ahead of time for setting appointments for both estate and remount shows.
Along with appointments, referrals are key. “Word of mouth is essential,” said Brown. “Plus, Millennials are driven by referrals. They appreciate being referred to where their friends and family shop and encourage them to visit. It’s comfortable for them. They also read reviews and will check out places they have heard good things about.”
Pre-owned watches and estate rings are strong sellers at Smyth.
According to Brown, their careful planning and attention to appointments and referrals works. “Our success in estate jewelry sales is unmatched. We do over $8.5 million in estate jewelry annually, including estate diamonds. In a world where many jewelers are afraid to buy and carry estate diamond, they are missing out. We buy diamonds from customers who bought them from a store who won’t buy them back. We look for price points and we buy for beauty. Customers come to us and buy something that they love that they can’t find anywhere else. We grade them right and know what we can sell them for.”
For Smyth Jewelers, estate and remount events are a mainstay of how they do business and keep their customers coming back. Concludes Brown, “These events keep us different and fresh – and they continue to bring in the crowds.”