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Keeping with the times: The importance of implementing sustainable jewellery retail practices

Economic sustainability

Economic sustainability has become critical in a world divided by two drivers: the evolution of sustainable and innovative initiatives, and the craving for cheap off-shore products. It’s important to provide a range of options for each type of client.

For instance, when pricing an engagement ring, we like to show clients price options  made by either machine/mass produced, or handcrafted heirloom-quality custom design jewellery created in Canada. The mass produced jewellery option competes successfully with Internet competitors. The handcrafted and recommended option is based on a personal and professional luxury experience, where we feel we can build a relationship to create long-term clients. When a positive and lasting relationship is nurtured with a client, a business will have minimized the risk of insolvency, increasing economic sustainability.

Diamond Gallery won the 2017 Retail Council of Canada’s (RCC) Independent Retailer Ambassador of the Year Award for its sustainable approach to the retail environment.

In order to be successful in the future, a business requires a unique selling proposition to set itself apart from competition. Whether it be local storefronts, big box stores, or online merchants, each vendor offers a specific set of features and benefits—or lack thereof—to their clients. It is important to remember, jewellery is a discretionary purchase, and today’s consumer has an array of options to consider when acquiring a new ring, bracelet, necklace, or earrings.

How a business stands out in the eye of the consumer will determine its ability to survive by delivering an experience to clients; whether it caters to their every need or simply a commodity online purchase with no personal interaction. Each and every consumer has an expectation of what the transaction should include or entail.

Our clientele, for instance, connects with the family-oriented old-fashioned customer service experience we offer; we have been told it’s a breath of fresh air in a time where personalized interaction in a retail setting is lacking. We choose to make sustainability a feature of this experience and explain how a customer is contributing to our vision with their purchase. Transparency is vital to gaining the customer’s trust, especially in an industry based on voluntary ethics.

Social, environmental, and economic sustainability can be valuable differentiators between one business and another. Analyzing each of these areas annually will help nurture a successful long-term business. The current cost to undertake more green options is minimal compared to long-term payback, making sustainability a viable option. Overall, the legacy we choose to leave as business owners and members of our communities is in our hands. How we choose to make an impact is up to us.

Allan Malbranck is a Gemological Institute of America (GIA) graduate gemmologist and jewellery designer at the Diamond Gallery in Winnipeg, which he co-owns with his wife and daughter. Their award-winning business provides custom jewellery design and builds personal relationships with their clientele. As a business innovator with nearly 50 years’ experience in the jewellery industry, Malbranck established Western Canada’s first Canadian Jewellers Association (CJA) accredited gemmology laboratory, and opened North America’s first environmentally sustainable luxury retail building with his wife Anita in 2009. The Diamond Gallery was recently named Independent Retail Ambassador of the Year by the Retail Council of Canada (RCC).

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