Stock in trade
Yet, before anyone can enjoy their purchase, the retailer has to be able to rely on its supplier delivering the goods. Today’s consumer demands instant gratification—if they can’t get what they want from one retailer, they’ll simply move on to another. Retailers and their suppliers are partners in each other’s success, a lesson Mary Jewellery is well aware of and works to meet with every sale. That means offering tens of thousands of SKUs and ensuring its clients don’t have to look elsewhere to get what they need.
With so much inventory to track and more than 200 manufacturers helping to fill orders, Mary Jewellery uses customized software designed to accommodate the intricacies of its operation. Orders are entered and filed electronically with the supplier, and the system generates a confirmation notice that is e-mailed to the retailer.
“We strive to have everything in stock and ready to go for our clients,” Apel says. “A client might call a company for a particular piece and they say they can get it for them in three weeks. That’s not acceptable these days. We might charge a little more, but we’ll have it in stock. If you don’t have a particular product, you can’t sell it. It’s as simple as that.”
While some wholesalers may feel concentrating on a specific product, say gold jewellery, is the way to go, Mary Jewellery embraces a ‘one-stop-shop’ philosophy, an approach to business its busy clients appreciate, especially since time always seems to be in short supply. After all, why make several stops to purchase supplies and inventory when you can get everything you need in one place? “We want to be the go-to place where they can get everything done,” Apel explains. “They can save time and go back to the store and work.”
Times have changed in the jewellery industry. Where a handshake once sealed a deal, binding two parties to an agreement, tougher economic conditions have helped take the shine off this way of doing business.
Apel says honesty and respect are two values Mary Jewellery strives to maintain in every interaction. “If you’re not honest, you’re not going to last very long in this industry,” he explains. “If you’re going to be a bad apple, you have to be the best of the bad apples, which means you have to be the worst and that’s just not in our nature. There’s no such thing as a handshake anymore; everything has to be documented.”
Paul agrees, adding it’s a two-way street. “My customers must be honest with me, and I have to be honest with my suppliers. I didn’t go to business school, but I know that if you want to be successful, you have to be honest and work hard.”
In an ever-churning sea of brands and millions of marketing dollars backing them up, it would seem Mary Jewellery’s hard work has paid off.