By Ashley Davis
Tulsa, Okla.--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.

BC Clark Jewelers was founded in 1892, but a look at its website shows they’re completely up with the times.

Today, Coleman Clark, the store’s fourth generation, is the president of the company’s three Oklahoma City stores. Clark is using modern marketing methods to attract customers into stores so his team can apply old-fashioned customer service skills.

Clark told National Jeweler how he’s doing it.

National Jeweler: What’s the biggest challenge your stores are facing today?

Coleman Clark: I think the biggest challenge is introducing new customers to our stores and creating traffic.

NJ: What’s your strategy for dealing with that?

CC: Just creating an experience that starts with our website and our social media. We want to compel people to not only enjoy seeing what they see online from us, but compel them to come in our store-- give them reasons to come in whether it’s events or whether it’s to see products or just featuring our salespeople.

We just think it’s important to engage our customer base in many different ways, but the end result is the hope of them coming into the store so we can service them in any way.

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

CC: Diamonds and watches.

NJ: What’s your top-selling brand?

CC: We do a big Forevermark business. Rolex and David Yurman are strong as well.

NJ: What’s the most popular style of engagement ring with your clientele now?

CC: It’s such a mixture now, it’s kind of been refreshing recently. Girls coming in are looking for something different. While we still sell a lot of white gold halo rings we have a lot of couples coming in wanting something different.

When I say different, it’s not necessarily that unique and different, but it’s maybe going back to more of the classics like a solitaire or something with tapered baguettes on each side, something simple, but maybe different from what their girlfriends have, if they all have the diamond halos. Of course, we’ve had more interest in yellow gold recently as well.

Oval diamonds have been very popular. Round is the number one shape, but right now oval seems to be the second most popular.

NJ: Describe your regional customer.

CC: I would describe our customers as affluent, however we do have a wide range because we have a wide range of products. We’re pretty full service with our products as far as engagement rings and really high-end 25th or 50th anniversary gifts. We also still carry a pretty wide variety of giftware that we call our lifestyle department, so we do bridal registry with that.

While it’s a tougher business to attract customers to, we’ve really had a resurgence the last two or three years as we’ve kept up with offering the right product the young people want, introducing new things in our store. We’ve really been able to attract some of those younger couples to register for things for their home.

I think in the store the gender breakdown is pretty equal. Obviously our Facebook and Instagram is much higher for women, but I think our in-store traffic is pretty even, probably a little bit more female, but we see a lot of men, a lot of gift buyers. I’m in the downtown store so that’s what I see. I think our two other stores are probably a little heavier female to male.

20170920 Oklahoma insertJim Clark (left) is the third generation of his family to own and operate BC Clark Jewelers. His sons Coleman (center) and Mitchell (right) are the company’s president and executive vice president, respectively, and the fourth generation of the family business.

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

CC: I would still say Facebook is the most important, however Instagram is a close runner-up as we continue to grow that base.

NJ: Do you have e-commerce?

CC: Yes, but it’s pretty limited as far as what people can buy on there. We will be slowly expanding that over the next few years.

NJ: What’s the best piece of advice you’d offer to a fellow independent jeweler?

CC: My advice is to think outside the box, be unique and don’t always focus on competing on price.

We do something we call Pray for Rain, which I know others do that now, and we have done it since we started it. We’ve been doing our program for 19 years: If it rains an inch on a couple’s wedding day, they get their money back up to $5,000. We’ve had over 200 winning couples. That’s been a lot of fun for, of course, the winners but also for everyone.

More recently, last year we introduced Family Friday, which is our version of Black Friday, considered the biggest shopping day of the year. We closed our doors on that day to let our employees be with their families an extra day before the holidays. We plan to do it again this year.

The other thing I would say is to not sacrifice your marketing budget.

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

CC: I’ve gotten to jump out of an airplane twice. Once in Oklahoma and once in New York.

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