One of our clients, Séamus Fahy, set up his jewellery business, Voltaire Diamonds, during the recession and has brought it from strength to strength at a time when other jewellery stores have closed down. Here he shares his advice for running a successful business.
Tailor Your Requirements to Your Business’ Needs
The jewellery business is high end sales rather than high volume sales so it is more economical for me to work by appointment. It cuts my overheads as I am not keeping a jewellery store open full time.
This allows me to trade at competitive prices. People are looking for value during the recession which has complemented my business strategy rather than inhibit it. People used to think that they could head to New York or Antwerp and pick up rings at discount prices but the reality these days is that diamond pricing is fixed internationally and so I can match these ‘deals’ and customers can leave satisfied that they have gotten the best price and saved on the airfare too.
You do not need to market your business as a provider of one specific product. Adding more options will almost certainly increase your customer base. For example, we sell finished rings but also offer our clients the option to add bespoke touches if they like. At little effort to us, we ensure that we are not alienating customers that either want a unique ring or customers who would prefer not to be involved in the design process.
Use Online Marketing Effectively
A website is off little use if you do not know how to utilize it. It is necessary to get a little tech savvy. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is integral to any online marketing plan. If you don’t use it you probably won’t be on the first page on Google searches. It cuts out a lot of potential new business as people rarely go beyond the first page on Google. Since I implemented SEO I have seen quite an increase in business.
Another online tool, Google Analytics, gave me data about those who visit my website. It revealed that I was getting a lot of online traffic from London. Some of this in part is due to Irish immigrants living over there. Knowing about this interest made it a much sounder bet to open a second office in London.
Seek & Promote Referrals
I have been particularly grateful for the many great write-ups I’ve gotten on Boards.ie and Weddings Online. No amount of advertising can compare to a good review, especially online where there is a much greater audience. A strong Facebook presence has also forged brand recognition. Most of my competitors haven’t recognized the value of this; many may be stuck in the ideology of old media and believing that customers will seek them out and instead focus on the hard sell in store. In contrast, I have over 18,000 Facebook fans and I realise the power of online browsing.
Be an Expert in Your Field
When I started my business, the greatest challenge was to get suppliers to take me seriously. I studied gemology with the GIA in London to become an expert in my field. Diamond trading is a relatively close knit community, where your reputation with suppliers will precede all your business dealings.
For more information on Voltaire Diamonds click here