We know—it seems like forever since the COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t the guiding factor in planning for in-store or employee holiday events. But a handful of jewelry retailers we spoke to say that although COVID-19 is still obviously with us, it wasn’t an overly concerning factor in planning their events this holiday season.
Staff Dinners Are Back
John Anthony Jr., owner of John Anthony Jewelers in Bala Cynwyd, Penn., summed up many retailers’ sentiments when he told The Zing Report, “I’m fed up with COVID, how’s that? I’m tired of it. I’m exhausted. You get to a certain point and say, ‘Forget it, let’s just do it.’”
Just doing it, for Anthony, means celebrating the holidays with his employees at a dinner at his favorite restaurant where he’ll hand out Christmas bonuses to his staffers. Dinner with staffers may not sound like a revolutionary act but coming off years of crowd restrictions and mask mandates, it feels like freedom, he said.
Other retailers we spoke to are also opting for dinners to show toast their employees. Karen Allen, owner of Allen’s Jewelers in Charlotte, N.C., plans to take her staff out to dinner after Christmas. “The last two or three years, we’ve hit record numbers,” she said. “We’ll be working every day so when it’s over, we’ll take everybody out.”
Street Parties Are a Great Middle Ground
And some retailers are going all out. In balmy Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Carroll’s Jewelers is participating in the 60th annual Christmas on Las Olas celebration, named for the street on which the jeweler is located. Consumers will drink eggnog and enjoy music and choirs from several communities as they stroll down the three-block street closure. There’s even a slide made of real snow scheduled! It’s the first year the event’s been back to “normal,” according to company vice president Luke Moorman. And when the busy season dies down after New Year’s, the store will host a party for employees.
Education Is a Draw
EAT Gallery in Maysville, K.Y., was always known for its catered parties and trunk shows which, during the worst of COVID-19, were suspended. Last year, the store began implementing loose stone shows where roughly 10 people sat around a table and learned about gemstones. They were so popular, the store’s replicating the event this year with even more attendees.
Also on the calendar is a custom jewelry event and a holiday party for 50 to 60 people—coinciding with a Hallmark movie-esque Christmas parade featuring carriage rides on a lit-up street. “I feel we’re back to business,” said Katherine Cotterill, the store’s manager. “We have restocked all of our designers, I’ve bought a lot more inventory, and I’m expecting December to be good.”
Hello, Trunk Shows!
As for the almighty trunk show, there’s no better time than the holidays, say some retailers. Fox’s Seattle in Seattle hosted an Alex Sepkus trunk show last week featuring luxe pieces from the brand including a diamond and pink-purple sapphire mix “Candy” ring ($4,005) and 18k gold half-dome diamond stud earrings ($2,765). It’s one of three to four trunk shows the retailer has planned for the holidays. “We’re back to pre-pandemic levels,” said sales associate Jerri Armstrong. “It’s great having in-person events, and attendance is up.”
Jewelry designers, including Washington, D.C., native A.M. Thorn, L.A.-based Jennie Kwon and Ruta Reifen, who works from Brooklyn, N.Y., and Tel Aviv, are all poised to host trunk shows at D.C. jewelry store Shelter. Magnolia O’Donnell, store director, noted that attendance at the store’s sip-and-shop events resemble that of pre-pandemic holidays. “We’re very grateful,” she added. “We’re definitely on pace with last year.”
Photo by picjumbo.com
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