10 Key Ingredient of Retail Success

After 30 years in the jewelry industry working as a bench jeweler, sales professional, manager and owner, Michael Gerwig had a very clear image of how he wanted to establish and build his new store in Fayetteville, AR. He envisioned Michael-Seigler Jewelry & Design as a unique jewelry design and custom manufacturing salon built exclusively on the foundation of CAD/CAM technology.

The Owner and Visionary

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Gerwig entered the world of CAD technology in 1995 when he bought and learned to use Digital Goldsmith, Gemvision’s 2-dimensional jewelry design software. He found that he had a knack for design and presentation in this new venue and, realizing great success with his customers, he began to see the future of his operation solidify. So, when he was invited by Gemvision to be in the first group to learn about and use Matrix, Gemvision’s 3-dimensional jewelry design software, he dove into the opportunity with characteristic Gerwig enthusiasm.

10 Key Ingredients of the Michael-Seigler
Jewelry & Design Retail CAD/CAM Success

The Showroom

 Upon entering Michael-Seigler Jewelry & Design, customers are immersed in Gerwig’s design world. Beautifully crafted showcases feature original jewelry pieces, designed and created by Gerwig and his staff at their in-store shop. Displayed on the walls of the professionally-designed contemporary showroom are several 2-foot-square images of Gerwig’s original jewelry designs, which serve well to highlight his innovative style as well as communicate the store’s niche. The images are 3D renderings of designs that he created by using Matrix, Gemvision’s 3D design software. The Matrix-generated design images were printed on canvas by a local print shop – and look like oil paintings.

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The showroom features a specially designed Computer Aided Jewelry Design center where customers are comfortably seated to discuss the creation of their new jewelry with Gerwig. The center includes a 50-inch flat panel monitor for viewing the various design ideas and finished renderings. When not in use for consultation the screen displays a series of Matrix images of Gerwig’s jewelry designs in a slide show format.

The Service Counter and In-Store Shop

gerwig-03 High Visibility is the key to the success of Gerwig’s custom design, jewelry and service business. He planned his in-store shop to be located directly behind the central stand-up service counter, generating interest from repair customers. In this photo, sales professional Rachel Keith and industry veteran Lynn Coy deliver a repair to one of their customers.

The Design Interview

The sales staff at Michael-Seigler is instrumental in working with clients and inspiring custom orders. There are several finished original designs in the showcases that provide examples.

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Here, Lynn Coy shows a customer one of the finished pieces that is also featured in the jewelry image to his left. Coy says “Having original finished pieces that are also featured in our wall images or slide shows allows me the opportunity to explain what we do. It is easier for customers to envision how we can work with them on pieces they are considering having designed or remade. The fact that our design and manufacturing is done on the premises is very important to our customers”.

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If it’s a custom design customers are seeking, they are seated at Gerwig’s design center. Here they can sit comfortably, share ideas and discuss parameters. As customers communicate their design ideas, Gerwig shows similar elements from previously designed pieces on his computer using Gemvision Matrix software. He has a library of design elements and finished work, all categorized and easily accessible. Images are displayed on the 50-inch flat panel monitor above.

The Final Design Consultation

Here customer Amy Bain is reviewing the final details of her soon-to-be-upgraded wedding and engagement set with Gerwig. Bain was inspired to have her jewelry redesigned after hearing one of the store advertisements on the radio. Terry Seigler, the vice president and shop manager writes and narrates many of the store’s radio commercials. The advertisement compared recycling of unworn jewelry with recycling in general. According to Bain, “The radio advertisement started me thinking about my interest in upgrading my wedding set and combining it with an anniversary ring that I seldom wore”.

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Gerwig had recorded enough information from Bain’s initial interview to produce a design using Gemvision’s Matrix. After completing it, he sent several views of the design to Bain via e-mail. According to Bain, “It was more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. I have had custom designs made in the past and was previously shown my piece in a wax format only. Seeing several finished views of this design with all of my diamonds in place made my choice simple”.

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After reviewing the design with her husband, Bain returned to the store to make arrangements for the project to begin.

The Finished Piece

gerwig-07 Amy Bain said, “When I saw the images from the e-mail and again during the final design interview, I asked Michael if he was sure that his design proposal fit into my budget. The images were overly impressive”.

The wax model was made using the in-store Gemvision Revo 540 Model B mill. The bead and bright cutting for the small diamonds in the band were precisely cut into the wax. The two bands were cast in white gold. The top loop and bezel were milled separately and cast in yellow gold. Terry Seigler cast all the parts, assembled the ring, set the diamonds and finished the ring.

The Summary

gerwig-08 Gerwig has used Bain’s wedding ring upgrade design for one of the wall mounting examples that describe his stores design and manufacturing process. According to Bain, “When I return to the store, it is with pride that I see my ring as an example on the wall. Michael and his staff were a joy to work with and the ring is exceptional. I can’t wait to undertake another design project”.

Why Gemvision’s Matrix

gerwig-09 Each of the following pieces were designed by Michael Gerwig using Gemvisioin Matrix CAD software and provide several good examples of why the software facilitates design and manufacturing processes alike.

  • The intricate custom setting of small diamonds (identical on both sides) on the yellow gold shank was made possible to accomplish by an intermediate bench jeweler and provided a striking visual for the customer during the final design interview.
  • Interlocking tabs were built into the design for accurate and even assembly of the two color pieces after casting.
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  • Precisely angled bright cuts along the edges of the yellow gold shank were built into the design and made finishing and setting more efficient.
  • Custom bezels were made for customer stones and facilitated a precise symmetrical layout.
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  • The filigree wires, round and diamond shaped bezels were designed as one unit and precisely fit into the shank portion of the ring after casting.
  • All parts were milled (with the exception of the cushion bezel) and were identical from side to side.
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  • The base support for the pearl was a precise fit and was symmetrically placed within the design.
  • The beads for the small diamonds were identical from side to side and facilitated efficiencies for setting.
  • The bail was precisely made and fit the connector on the pendant.

The VP & Bench Jewelers

Terry Seigler’s name is on the door and is the vice president of the business. His key role is shop manager and chief bench jeweler, providing the expertise to make customer dreams and Gerwig’s designs a reality. He also writes and narrates store advertisements for radio. Gerwig, an accomplished and capable bench jeweler no longer works at the bench, focusing on design, sales and day to day management of the store. The store is actively seeking another bench jeweler to work with Seigler to keep up with the stores quickly growing demand.

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Jewelry making, stone cutting and casting were among Seigler’s and his father’s hobbies as a teenager. While attending college to become a forest ranger, he determined jewelry making would be his true passion and wanted it to be his avocation. He left college and attended the Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology to learn the trade. He worked as a bench jeweler for a retail store then ran a trade shop providing repair and custom order services to the trade prior to hooking up with Gerwig.

The Shop and Equipment

gerwig-14 Gerwig bought the very first Revo 540 Model A mill from Gemvision. He recently sold it and purchased Gemvision’s new 540 Model B mill. 100% of the stores 500 plus product, custom and corporate jewelry designs are made using Gemvision’s Matrix. About 90% of the models are done on the Revo 540 Model B mill.

This piece was designed using Gemvisioin’s Matrix and then the wax carved using the Revo 540 B mill. The ring, a gift to a mother from her husband has their two children’s initials, “x’s and o’s” to represent hugs and kisses and is made in white and yellow gold.

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According to Seigler, “This and other designs are easier and faster to complete when they have been generated by Matrix and carved by the mill. They more or less become a simple casting, finishing and setting job”.

Moving Ahead

gerwig-17 Gerwig has had such a positive response to his business that he’s gearing up for what is to come. He’s shown here with his new Solidscape T66 rapid prototype machine. While he has been milling 90 per cent of the models for the stores production on his Revo 540 Model B, he will now be able to “grow” the balance of what he wasn’t able to mill.
gerwig-18 According to Gerwig “Designing using Matrix has been one of my career highlights. Being able to deliver renderings like this one to our customers has provided a tremendous asset to our business and given us an edge over our competitors. Because of having this powerful design communication tool, we haven’t had to rework a single piece of jewelry since using it”.

Says Gerwig, “Having CAD/ CAM design and manufacturing technology has allowed us to manufacture most anything at a reasonable and competitive cost for our customers. We work in all price ranges for custom orders from $300.00 on up and have been profitable. We have been designing and making corporate jewelry for a variety of business clients, something we would have found difficult to do entirely in-house without the technology”.

By Mark B. Mann - Copyright © Mark Mann 2005
Illustration: Lainie Mann
Photographs: Mark B. Mann
This installment was sponsored by Gemvision Corporation. For information related to Gemvision products and services call 800-357-6272
All rights reserved internationally. Copyright © Mark Mann. Users have permission to download the information and share it as long as no money is made. No commercial use of this information is allowed without permission in writing from Mark Mann.
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