Laura Stanley of Laura Stanley Personal Jeweler heard the “be online now, during this lockdown” message repeatedly as she sat through two days of speakers at the recent American Gem Society Conclave. The sessions were held online this year and the message kept resonating with her. The experts said “Your customers need to see you. Don’t worry about being perfect – just do it.”
“Everyone at Conclave who had anything to do with sales or marketing were encouraging us all to get online,” said Stanley. “The part about not being perfect worked for me since I use social media a lot to connect with customers, but don’t generally appear online personally. It’s scary to do a live event online.”
After the two days of online meetings, Stanley was giving the idea serious consideration when her Mastoloni representative reached out to her. “Chuck Zopfi called and said he was available if I wanted to do something online.” That was the push she needed; she got started.
In two short weeks, she had a plan. She did a practice run through with part of her advisory team to see what needed changing and to talk about how it would work. They did this in Zoom, as that was the format that would likely work best because of the one-click access.
Stanley renamed her trunk show to an “Online Pearl Party.” Since no printed invitations went out, two weeks out was plenty of time to begin promotion. Stanley emailed, called and social media’d her way through her lists and to create as much buzz as possible. Her Instagram automatically posts to Facebook to reach a broader audience. She also promised her audience that a percentage of sales would go to Arkansas Food Bank.
Stanley relies on Instagram to reach much of her customer base. She says that JennyO Calleri of Huntington Jewelers, Las Vegas is her North Star for her Instagram content and serves as an inspiration.
The format was simple. Two Zoom segments, one at 10am and one at 2pm, each for 20-30 minutes. Then, after each Zoom segment, she moved to Instagram Live.
The first segment went well. One lady bought the earrings that Stanley was wearing. Another bought a strand of pearls right after the event. Another bought the medallion and pearl necklace Stanley used in her Instagram video invite. The calls kept coming in for various pieces of pearl jewelry.
Stanley, through her practice event, knew that she needed to name or assign a specific descriptor to the various styles so that her audience would know what to ask for if they wanted to buy. One of those pieces she called the “Princess” necklace. It won the popularity prize for the day. “Three people called/texted/Instagram message’d me. They all said, “Hey, tell me about that Princess necklace.” It sold as well and Stanley is working to sell another.
She also made sure to model the jewelry. That was key to showing her customers how large the piece was as well as well as offering styling tips. Pearls are a staple of Stanley’s wardrobe, so it’s second nature to her to offer pearl tips to her customers.
And while most of her sales were to established customers, she did have two friends-of-friends call to ask about pieces. Stanley thinks one of them may be a potential customer.
So, was it a success? “Yes, I consider it a wild success!” said Stanley. “I very happily donated a good amount to the Arkansas Food Bank. Really, anyone with inventory could make this work.”
About the Logistics
Stanley’s equipment was simple. One iPhone, one iPad Pro and two larger selfie lights (see image). The lights were used after the run through showed the setting was too dark to really enjoy the jewelry. It’s made to put a phone in the center for a giant selfie, but Stanley used the two just as lights.
The Zoom practice was invaluable, but Zoom was not without its challenges on the day of the event. “A few people had trouble logging on or had issues viewing through Zoom. They let me know, so afterward, I called those who were affected and we Face-timed and shopped that way. They were able to look and buy.” Stanley also told her Zoom audience that she was heading directly to Instagram Live and to meet her there and several did. However, after this experience with Zoom, she’ll switch to another format for her next online adventure.
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