By Ashley Davis
In Louisville, Kentucky, personal relationships are the key to Davis Jewelers’ success.
Louisville, Ky.--In 50 Jewelers/50 States, National Jeweler interviews one retailer in each of the 50 U.S. states to find out how they are meeting the challenges of the changing retail environment.

Fourth-generation jeweler Ashley Davis Sigman runs Davis Jewelers in Louisville, Kentucky with her father, Hank Davis.

Davis Sigman is focused on modern marketing, utilizing technology and social media to keep her business relevant, but says that old-school values, like building relationships, are still at the core of how she does business.

National Jeweler spoke with Davis Sigman about her Louisville clientele and her favorite motto: “Business goes where business is invited.”

20170621 Kentucky insert1Davis Jewelers was founded in 1930 by Henry Davis. Today, the store is run by his grandson, Henry “Hank” Davis, and great-granddaughter, Ashley Davis Sigman. Davis Jewelers is 8,000 square feet and employees 20 people, though Davis Sigman mentioned, “There’s a strong possibility that I’ll be bringing on as many as four new people by the end of the year.”

National Jeweler: What’s the biggest challenge your store is facing?

Ashley Davis Sigman: Competition from other jewelry stores in the area is a constant challenge that we face. Part of that would just be growing pains with the competition that’s occurred in our marketplace. We had to become a little stronger, a little less naïve. We’ve put more effort and money into marketing to make sure that we continue to be one of the top three jewelry stores (in the area) that people stop in to visit.

So the negative of competition has turned into a positive because our sales continue to grow each and every year, even with having that kind of thorn in our side.

NJ: What’s the top-selling brand and category at your store?

ADS: Rolex and David Yurman are our most popular brands.

Our best-selling category is bridal. Rolex, David Yurman and bridal are really the three legs of our business.

NJ: Who is your regional customer?

ADS: I would say our clients--although they are conservative-- enjoy designer fashion, as long as it won’t go out of style. They like trends to a point and want to acquire and collect new pieces but are never going to go too far off on whatever is the hottest trend; they still want to enjoy the pieces they’ve selected for years to come.

(They like) a little bit more generational jewelry--I like to call them heirlooms of the heart. We have to be very cognizant of being in the Midwest, of following trends to a certain degree because although they customers may look at a trendy piece and like it, they’re afraid to commit to a bolder designer trend that may last six months or may last a holiday season.

We have both men and women as clients and because of us being a Rolex, David Yurman and bridal store, we have clients from 21 years of age to 75 years of age.
20170621 Kentucky insert2 copyFourth generation jeweler Ashley Davis Sigman

NJ: What trends are you seeing in engagement rings?

ADS: We’re seeing an uptick in sales of oval diamonds. I’ve always loved an oval, so I’m excited to see that. I think it’s a nice, slight departure from a round, though we still sell round diamonds 10 to one over any other fancy shape.

Halos are not going anywhere--that’s not a trend anymore, that’s become a staple over the past 10 years.

We’re definitely seeing a little bit of a scaling back to more classic designs. People are loving the very skinny, delicate diamond semi-mounts.

Also, customers are really layering stackable bands as their wedding bands, as opposed to keeping it traditional with a matching wedding band to go with the engagement ring. They are playing around with stackables, with different carat weight version bands, or different metals or different setting styles to really create more of a fashion feel mixed with their very classic engagement ring.

White metals are the most popular, with touches of rose and yellow but customers are doing that more in a stackable wedding band concept then in a true engagement ring. We’re seeing a little smattering here or there but nothing major.

NJ: Which social media accounts are important to your business?

ADS: We definitely rely heavily on our social media platforms--Instagram and Facebook--to stay relevant and reach our younger audience. In fact, we just conducted a Facebook Live session yesterday morning for our partnership with the Kentucky Opera.

Our community in Louisville is very supportive of local and family-owned businesses so when we utilize social media we can speak to that theme and create a personal connection to our audience.

NJ: Do you have e-commerce?

ADS: We don’t at this time. Our website was re-launched last fall and we plan on introducing e-commerce slowly with certain brands, collections and vendors. Our website now also speaks to our point-of-sale system so this is our way of slowly bringing in e-commerce at the level and pace at which we’re comfortable.

We display a good deal of the product we carry on our website, but it all goes back to what the vendors can supply to us. We’re definitely more bridal heavy on our website, as it relates to both engagement rings and wedding bands. Some of our timepiece vendors are very good about offering that support with pictures, as well as some of our designer brands.

Many of the brands that we carry don’t want product selection on our website and just want a landing page so we try to put up as much as we can as long as it’s manageable for our marketing director and marketing coordinator.

20170621 Kentucky insert3An interior shot of Davis Jewelers

NJ: What’s the best piece of advice you’d offer to other independent jewelry stores?

ADS: Run! I’m just kidding (laughs).

I would say reminding them that the retail jewelry landscape has really changed, but always maintain and grow your clientele skills. I talk to my team a lot about the idea of: “Business goes where business is invited.” I think this is how we’re going to continue to stay relevant as it relates to other competition, e-commerce and things of that nature.

We’re such a relationship-oriented store in the way we conduct business. I think our competition is very transactional--it’s all about that sale, that day, that moment.

It’s so important as an independent jeweler in my opinion to focus on relationships, to build up that client base and know who they are, know about their family, their lifestyle, their taste. That’s the only way we can really get to grow with them, and for them to feel as though we are their personal jeweler. So that’s my goal, for clients to feel that they can come to me or any of my sales associates and they will be taken care of, no matter how big or small the task.

We’re trying to always create what I like to call “Davis ambassadors.” So if people are out there in the community and they talk about jewelry or timepieces or appraisals they always say, “Oh my gosh, you have to go see XYZ at Davis Jewelers; they always take good care of me.”

When it’s too easy to click a button a on a computer and buy jewelry or make-up or clothing, you lose that sense of relationship and so “business goes where business is invited” means reaching out to your clients in a more meaningful way.

Pick up the phone and call them and invite them into the store. For example, call them and say, “I just wanted to let you know that a brand new collection of David Yurman just came in and I know you’re a longtime collector and I really want to invite you into the store and show you something that’s new.”

People want to have that sense of “wow, they really do know me,” and even if they’re not in buying mode at that point in time, we’re trying to do things that keep us at the top of their awareness.

I think when you have that bonded connection with a team member and a client, it will become stronger and should hopefully grow your business. It’s about relationships, which is maybe an old-school philosophy.

NJ: What’s a fun fact about you we can share with our readers?

ADS: I have the gift of rhyme.

Ever year during the holidays, I write a toast--also a little bit of a roast--about eight lines about each team member, and it always rhymes. Sometimes it has to do with their personality or something funny that happened recently. I do that every year, which is kind of fun.

And I’m actually an officiant so I recently married my sister. And I could easily see myself doing that more. It goes back to our Davis Jewelers tagline: Love--it’s what we do.

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