Corporate VS. Local Jewelers – Exposing The TruthPosted by Steve Hawkins on September, 25th, 2016
Most folks are in favor of businesses that create local jobs, pay taxes, and give back to the community, right? Well…..maybe not. For us in the jewelry industry this idea, by and large doesn’t seem to be the case. But there are tricks being played on our neighbors. When it comes to jewelry, the folks aren’t aware of whom they are really buying from, and how the system really works. So please forgive me if exposing the facts seems to you like I’m being unfair to a multi-billion jewelry/banking corporation.
Case in point – the SIGNET Jewelers. Very few people know that Jared’s, Kay Jewelers, Zales, JB Robinson, Osterman’s, and Shaw’s (our region alone) are actually one company owned by SIGNET. These different stores SIGNET refers to as their “brands.” Signet is a holding company that is organized in Bermuda, and is an off-shore giant that doesn’t pay the same taxes that your local jewelers pay, all the while charging you much more for the same products. Isle of Man, Bermuda, Panama, etc. – are not members of the E.U. or NATO, both of which provide both military and diplomatic protection, not to mention robust legal protections that smaller tax havens cannot provide. It’s even more interesting that most of the profits are generated by the credit they sell (financing). These stores are referred to in the industry as “credit jewelers” and they employ far more lawyers and bankers than jewelers. Good luck finding a certified professional jeweler or gemologist in one of these joints! And you will never find an owner who cares about the community in which they are located. That’s not the model.
I know it sounds like I don’t like Signet Jewelers, and I’m being mean, but I do like a lot of things about them. For instance, they definitely fix pricing on the very high side. And the quality is usually low. (I/J color and I1 clarity diamonds) This I like because it’s very easy to provide better value to our customer. And, the product and pricing is the exactly the same coast to coast, so compared to independents there is consistency.
So the next time you hear “every kiss begins with Kay”, and “he went to Jared’s, and “Zales is your diamond store,” give the locally owned hometown folks a look-see too. You will be happy you did.