Husband-and-wife jewelry retailers Steve and Linda Hammalian have, over the last 16 years, created something truly special in the metro Baltimore area.
Their Gambrills, Md., store, Little Treasury Jewelers, is a rare high-end watch seller in the region with an inventory of buzzy brands (Omega, Breitling, Oris, Grand Seiko, etc.) that’s become a must-see destination for local watch enthusiasts.
Like many stores during the COVID-19 pandemic, the shop had to cancel live events for a time, including the 2020 iteration of its beloved Time Out Watch Fair. Wisely, the couple and their team redirected the energy they’d usually siphon into events into connecting with consumers online.
It’s an area Little Treasury knows a thing or two about: the store’s YouTube channel has over 4,000 subscribers, which is a major feat for an indie jewelry retailer (posting consistently has been key to growing this following; a new video posts roughly once a week).
And the video hosts are subject-matter experts. “We have our watch expert Chris making these incredible watch videos for YouTube, and he has a great following there,” noted store owner Steve Hammalian during the store’s 2021 Time Out Watch Fair, which happened earlier this month. He further enthused, “We have the best team in the Baltimore area and every member of our staff plays a part.”
Here’s how the store’s stellar team is prepping for the busy holiday season:
“In preparation for the season, Linda and I attended Couture in Las Vegas this past August where we did our buying,” said Steve. “Additionally, Linda is attending last-minute jewelry shows in New York this month to pick up key items for us to stock. Many of our vendors and suppliers have amped up their store visits in the past few weeks as well. We’re anticipating that there may be issues restocking [due to supply chain disruptions] later in the season, so we’re trying to lay in enough key pieces.”
With watches, the Hammalians go as big as they can, year-round. Steve noted, “We’ve stocked up heavily with watches, some pieces five-deep. Our watch sales are quite uniform throughout the year, so honestly there is little special preparation for the holidays in this category. Store bags, on the other hand, are much harder to get replenished, due to transportation delays, but it looks like everything should arrive just in time.”
While major jewelry retailers and big label-authorized dealers are decorating pre-Halloween for the holiday season, Little Treasury doesn’t feel the need to rush the fanfare. “We start decorating the store around the middle of November,” Steve said. “We go with a classic look for our store: wreaths outside, beautifully festive window displays with holiday items, a Christmas tree, and of course, holiday music.”
“For fourth quarter, we ramp up all of our marketing,” he added. “This year, we partnered with Breitling watches for a holiday billboard, plus we’ll have custom-produced television ads for bridal and fashion jewelry and watches.” This year the company has “chosen to be a little edgy and not too sentimental in our ads. The idea is to poke fun at the usual saccharine-sweet jewelry ads.”
And in Q4, it’s all about events—again! “We just finished our two-day watch fair in early October, but we will soon be moving into mono-branded jewelry shows…probably four or five of them leading up to Christmas.” The store also rolls out targeted online ads, and “we advertise in a local high-end magazine gift guide, and send a holiday mailer with gift coupons which goes out to around 4,000-5,000 existing customers. We also host one or two private watch brand-specific dinners, and we have our yearly holiday party in the store the first or second week in December where we treat our clients to a night of drinks, food, and live music. That’s the perfect way to end the year.”