Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Oodles of Love in Carolina


“My little old dog:
A heart-beat
At my feet.”
- Edith Wharton


My guardian angel does not have wings. She has curly hair, a skip in her step, and an ever-wagging tail. Coco, my ten-year-old miniature “rescue” poodle, has been the one doing all of the rescuing since I adopted her from Carolina Poodle Rescue six years ago. She needed a loving home, yes, but I needed to heal my wayward heart. She arrived at a lonely, tentative time in my life and brought me the spirit that I needed to move forward.

I am ever-thankful for Coco and for Carolina Poodle Rescue, a private rescue group near Spartanburg, South Carolina. In the past nine years, they have carefully matched over 2000 fuzzy companions with their “furever homes.” Thanks to Dreamweaver Farms, CPR’s 50-acre haven in upstate South Carolina, they are able to provide rehabilitation and sanctuary, whether temporary or permanent, for poodles and other needy dogs. CPR focuses on poodles and poodle mixes, but as director Donna Ezzell explains: “We take in non-poodles from time to time because a non-poodle’s story touches the heart of someone here.” Their efforts are funded solely through adoption fees and donations, but I am amazed at how conscientiously and generously CPR cares for every creature who crosses its threshold. It was my admiration for all that CPR does that inspired me to join their team of volunteers.

My volunteer work with CPR even merges nicely with my work at Fink’s Jewelers. A retail schedule actually allows for unique availability when it comes to transporting dogs to the safety of the farm or from the farm to their adoptive families. At first I was sad that I wasn’t able to help out on the weekends, which is when most volunteers are available. However, I usually have a day off during the week, so I can fill in on weekdays when other volunteers are at work. I also make an effort to integrate my experience at Fink’s Jewelers with my CPR involvement. I’ve worked in the office and on the sales floor at Fink’s Jewelers. I apply my knack for paperwork and my passion for developing client relationships to help CPR treasurer Beth Jancse maintain one of their adopter databases.

Carolina Poodle Rescue and Fink’s Jewelers are among the many blessings for which I express gratitude this Thanksgiving - and every day. My rescue poodle is the embodiment of so many blessings – my guardian angel, my heart-beat, Coco.

To learn more about Carolina Poodle Rescue, please visit their website and check out their page on Facebook.

Now through December 16, 2009, support Carolina Poodle Rescue, just by voting at care2.com. The winning shelter will receive $10,000!

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Ellen Freeman has been with Fink's Jewelers for 4 years. When she's not busy rescuing poodles, she enjoys synchronized figure skating and spending quality time with friends and family.

Fink's Jewelers proudly honors our rich tradition and history for helping our communities become a better place to live, work and play. Each year we provide financial and in-kind support to numerous organizations and encourage our employees to become active leaders in the community.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

How I Turned an Heirloom Diamond into a New Ring


by Cindy Siegler, Fink's Jeweler's customer, Atlanta Georgia

I have done business with Fink's Jewelers for over 20 years, so I knew if I was ever going to redo my grandmother’s ring (which was very precious to me) it must be done by someone I could trust. The original piece and current center stone belonged to my grandmother. The center stone was her engagement ring from 1920; it was a “mine cut” diamond which had chipped over the years.

I wanted a ring for my right hand which represented me as an individual, not necessary all my other roles as wife, mother, daughter, caretaker, etc. I had some general ideas and designs in mind; however [Fink's diamond buyer] Clif Burcham helped me clarify the specifics in terms of my style preferences, diamond cut, comfort, etc. and helped me visualize what I actually wanted the ring to look like. He helped me put the vision into reality. The ring really speaks to my personality and individuality.

I was surprised and overjoyed by the frequent updates and communication on the progress of my ring transformation. I never had to ask what was going on because Fink's was always proactive in letting me know. Furthermore, they provided dates for each part of the process and contacted me just to let me know of the status so there were never any surprises. I have been so pleased with my ring. My expectations were exceeded in all areas with Fink's.

I have suggested remounting to several friends since it has given me to opportunity to turn an heirloom into a unique piece which is one of a kind. I hear many girlfriends talk about what they want in a “right hand ring”. I agree that the right hand ring is now a fashion staple for every woman who wants to express themselves as individuals. With the help of Fink's Jewelers, I have a unique right hand ring that celebrates the women in my past and expresses my own uniqueness.

With sincere thanks,
Cindy Siegler

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I'm Not Really a Jewelry Person

About every other time I tell someone that I work for Fink's, they will sheepishly tell me, "I'm not really a jewelry person." Last week I heard a story from a friend about someone who had recently gotten engaged. When the time came to get her ring, the bride-to-be went to a local department store and picked out the ring of her dreams. I understand where she's coming from, no need to spend thousands of dollars on an extravagant ring because her tastes are simple.

Most likely her purchase didn't come with much education about the stone or the metal, proper cleaning and care, and what to expect as part of normal wear. When her fiancé bought the ring she'd picked out, it's even less likely that he heard any of the details about warranties or guaranties as excited as he was about his purchase.

Fast forward to the day she notices that her ring keeps catching on her clothes. The clerk at the department store doesn't seem very sympathetic to her story, he suggests she take it to a jeweler. Frustrated, she wears the ring home and decides to be extra careful when she wears it, nervous that taking it to a jeweler might result in some inflated or unnecessary charges for repairs. She's already missing one very important factor: Trust.

Even more frustrating is what could happen next. A few months after the bent prong started catching on her clothes, it finally breaks. One weekend at the beach, she notices that her diamond is missing and she's heartbroken! As soon as they get back home, she goes back to the department store and tells the salesperson about what happened, only to learn that the manufacturer has gone out of business and they can't order another ring like the one she'd picked for her engagement ring. Of course, the department store doesn't have a policy to replace the diamond — she's lost the money they spent and the ring of her dreams. Now she's even more disappointed in what her purchase was lacking: Service. *

You don't have to be a "jewelry" person to appreciate what Fink's Jewelers offers. Our sales associates are trained to understand diamonds and metals in order to inform and empower our customers. No matter how small or large the stone and setting, our customers are treated to the same process of discovering the diamond in their ring. Even the smallest diamond has dazzling distinctions of clarity, color, cut and carat weight for the owner to understand.

Our Diamond Guarantee adds exceptional value to every purchase. By bringing their ring back to our locations for a regular complimentary inspection, our customers get the benefit of being aware of any issues which may arise before they become problematic. And if they ever lose their diamond from the setting, we'll replace it for them. (Read about Fink's Diamond Guarantee here.)

At Fink's we always want to work within your budget. We offer diamond engagement jewelry to suit even the most modest tastes and we can always design something just for you if you don't see something in the case. And every diamond we sell meets our Superior Quality Diamond standards. You don't need to sacrifice service and trust to feel like you've made the wisest choice for your budget and tastes. Not everyone can be a "jewelry" person, but we believe that we can help you be a "value" person and a "trust" person when it comes to diamond jewelry.



* While this may seem like an unfair portrayal of a department store purchase, it can actually be a very likely portrayal of a jewelry purchase made anywhere. Jewelry must be cared for and maintained properly to avoid damage and loss. A jewelry purchase that doesn't come with education about care, cleaning, and regular inspection can easily turn out like this one, no matter how much the item cost.

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Prior to joining Fink's Jewelers as eCommerce Manager a year ago, Denise Stanley owned an advertising agency in Roanoke, VA. She can be found Twittering and Facebooking about Finks.com daily. She enjoys being mommy to her two fantastic daughters.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bling of the Month: Baby Baubles

A growing expectation among expectant women these days is receiving a token to commemorate their journey into motherhood. A “push present” or “baby bauble” is a gift from a new dad to the new mom, celebrating the birth of their child. According to Wikipedia, the tradition of giving gifts to a new mother has roots in England and India. As a gesture of appreciation and respect for carrying their child for nine months and “pushing” through labor, dads give a special gift that will last a lifetime. Here are a few of our picks for pretty baubles that the mothers-to-be will love.

Tiny Treasures Initials

Italian designer Roberto Coin has created Tiny Treasures in diamond and white gold that give a woman a reason to wear diamonds every day. Each tiny pendant features pave diamonds set in 18k gold. Start off with her initial, then add one as each child is born. Initial pendants start at $380 each, large cursive initials start at $4000.

Eternity Bands
A slim Fink's Diamond Eternity band can be worn as a right-hand ring or paired with other rings. Available in platinum, palladium, and 18k yellow or white gold, our bands feature diamonds that meet the standards we use to classify our Fink's Superior Quality Diamonds. For an extra-special touch, ask about including your baby's birthstone to create a family ring she'll cherish. Diamond bands shown start at $1050, prices vary with finger size and metal choice.

Charm bracelets
A charm bracelet is frequently referred to as her “Lifetime” bracelet, growing over the years to one day be passed on to her daughter, continuing the tradition of charm collecting from generation to generation. Choose a few charms to mark this special occasion, then add to it every year. Available in gold and sterling silver. As shown, $360.

Pearls
A strand of pearls is a classic jewelry must-have and a strand of Mikimoto Akoya pearls are as near-perfect as can be. Available in various lengths with 18k white or yellow gold clasps, starting at $1610. Now through June 30, you'll receive a free pair of matching pearl stud earrings when you purchase a strand of Mikimoto Akoya pearls.

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Prior to joining Fink's Jewelers as eCommerce Manager a year ago, Denise Stanley owned an advertising agency in Roanoke, VA. She can be found Twittering and Facebooking about Finks.com daily. She enjoys being mommy to her two fantastic daughters.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Jewelry Shopping in the Digital Age

There is a lot of talk in the jewelry industry about the merits of shopping online versus shopping in stores. Most retailers are on one side of the argument or the other based on how their store operates. Fink's is different from so many of our competitors because of our approach to both.

The relationship between our stores and our website is part of what helps Fink's provide a unique shopping experience for our customers. Because we've been in business for almost 80 years, we have the benefit of a long-standing reputation in our communities. Our customers are familiar with our quality and trust our service.

So many retailers discourage their customers from shopping with online retailers because the competition is fierce; there's always someone willing to sell consumers something at a rock-bottom price. The quality of the merchandise is questionable and there's no support when customers need service, repairs, or sizing.

What makes the Fink's Jewelers online customer experience so different is that our merchandise is backed by long-standing vendor relationships and the knowledge and experience of our buyers and staff.

When Fink's customers choose to shop online, they get peace of mind from shopping with a reputable company. The eCommerce department offers personalized services on all orders, including gift wrapping and personal shopping. Returns and special orders are handled promptly and customers enjoy quick responses to emails and phone calls.

These days, it's not uncommon for customers to browse our website before visiting our stores no matter how many times they've shopped with us before. Knowing this, we update products and prices on our website daily. Our online inventory has grown from about 300 items a year ago to now almost 2000 pieces of jewelry. Shoppers know they can't find everything they want in each store, so our website lets them see an expanded selection of merchandise whenever they want. It makes it so easy for customers to come to our stores ready to buy. Our sales staff in our stores work with our eCommerce department to create the best experience for every Fink's customers.

When Fink's customers prefer to shop in our stores, they enjoy the convenience of browsing large merchandise selections from some of their favorite designers. From our website, they can request to see an item in a store nearby, then try it on buy it when it's convenient. No matter how you prefer to shop, we're certain that you'll be pleasantly surprised with everything Fink's has to offer.

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Prior to joining Fink's Jewelers as eCommerce Manager a year ago, Denise Stanley owned an advertising agency in Roanoke, VA. She can be found Twittering and Facebooking about Finks.com daily. She enjoys being mommy to her two fantastic daughters.

Friday, March 13, 2009

When is a Watch not a Watch?

by Denise Stanley, Fink’s Jewelers, eCommerce Manager, Roanoke, VA

So, when is a Watch not a Watch? When it's not authentic.

Seems logical, right? But in the world of internet shopping where millions of virtual items are at our fingertips for immediate purchase, finding authentic merchandise isn't always easy.

When you're in the market for a brand name timepiece, you're likely to go online to find the nearest retailer. You browse through their selection and locate the one you have in mind. Then you notice the price, and click-click, you're comparing prices across a few websites to find the same item at the lowest price. In less than 30 minutes you've found exactly what you want at the cheapest price you can locate and are ready to enter your credit card and buy it.

Beyond the obvious fear of credit card fraud and shady websites, you might hesitate for a minute because you've never heard of this retailer before. But they have a nice-looking website and obviously have a huge selection, so they must be a good source. Besides, they have a great return policy and money-back guarantee.

The pitfall to online shoppers, especially in the world of brand names, is the Unauthorized Dealer. Sometimes called "Grey Market" retailers, the merchandise they sell is of uncertain origin. You might be buying used, reconditioned, altered, or even knock-off merchandise and worse, you probably won't find out in time to use that generous return policy.

Wanting to save 15-30% on an expensive item, many of us can be easily lulled into trusting a web retailer. In this situation it backfires when you need to have the watch repaired and bring it to an authorized dealer to send it to the manufacturer. The $500 you saved means nothing when you learn you've paid $1800 for a fake watch and the manufacturer won't repair it.

We all love a great deal, but grey market retailers devalue the brands you love. As a rule of thumb, ONLY shop on the websites of authorized retailers. (You can find authorized retailers on the brand's website.) An authorized retailer will NOT make repairs in-house when the item is under manufacturer's warranty (this will void the warranty). They will NOT sell outside of their territory (this is a violation of the vendor restrictions). They will NOT offer you a discount on new merchandise and will only honor price considerations with the manufacturer's approval.

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Prior to joining Fink's Jewelers as eCommerce Manager a year ago, Denise Stanley owned an advertising agency in Roanoke, VA. She can be found Twittering and Facebooking about Finks.com daily. She enjoys being mommy to her two fantastic daughters.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

What Makes our Swiss Timpieces so 'Fine'

by Carlos Colmenero, Fink's Jewelers, Store Manager at The Streets at Southpoint, Durham, NC

Time to ‘Blog’ my marketing director says ... Hmmm, what to write about? How about a passion of mine, fine timepieces. To me a nice wristwatch is like a great cigar after a steak at Ruth’s Chris ... it just gets my juices flowing! Seriously.

I can remember coming to this company about 6 1/2 years ago. I had only sold watches like Seiko, Citizen and Movado just to name a few. Nice watches, don’t get me wrong. The difference is how they are made, mass production vs. mass inspection. I've learned that a watch connoisseur would rarely settle for a watch that is not self-winding if given the choice.

It’s not just the name of the brand, but how the watch is made that is so sexy! The great thing about my job is I get to visit these beauties EVERY DAY!! We carry watches like Patek Phillippe, Rolex, Bretling, and many more. Watches that take 8 months to make from start to finish. I guess the craziest thing about selling nice timepieces is that 95% of people in America don’t own a watch over $500. All the watches we have in our store are over $500, so I always say I live in a warped universe.
The reality is, the watches tend to be more expensive just because there is a lot more hands-on craftsmanship. For instance, Breitling sends every one of their watches to a test facility in Switzerland called the C.O.S.C where they are unbiasedly re-tested to ensure perfect accuracy. They have to be accurate to -4 to +6 seconds a day for self-winding, automatic timepieces. They also created the first and only quartz watch that is C.O.S.C certified, (the C.O.S.C. had never given the certificate to anyone for a quartz watch because they are usually pretty accurate at +,- 30seconds a year. That’s pretty good timekeeping but for a battery operated watch, very common). They have the ‘superquartz technology that is accurate to within +,- 3 seconds a year… the most accurate timepiece in the world!

Myself, I like the old fashioned way of keeping time. Besides, Marc Fink won’t mind if I’m 6 seconds late, (ya right!) Just think, A watch that has no battery… just running off the movement of your wrist! I heard someone once say, "It’s like a tiny miracle going on in there!" and it’s true. It is old-world craftsmanship that propels the watch….the meticulous love of a watchmaker painstakingly putting together an instrument that contains in some cases over 500 individual parts! Wow.

The part I love the most is just the feeling you get when you wear them. You know you have a great timepiece when you want to wear short sleeves when it is 35 degrees outside! You’re either crazy ... or in love with time! I have many clients and friends who have great watches. Some have a watch for different outfits. Others have just one that they love.

The truth is whether you spend $500 or $50,000, watch making and watch buying are precious arts. The right watch says a lot about you, but does not define you. As a guy especially, it is one of the few things you can get away with these days. They might be able to question the earring in your ear ... but never the timepiece on the wrist!

Carlos has been in the jeweler industry for 12 years, over half of that with Fink's. He and his beautiful wife Lori have been married for 10 years and have a superstar son, Kobe and a baby daughter, Avery.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Love Stories... Mark and Meg

Not many potential fiance√©s start throwing their hands in the air and exclaiming, “we have no clue what we’re doing here!” But those are the words store manager Claire Brown heard from Mark and Meg as they nervously giggled in front of the diamond cases at Fink’s Triangle Town Center September 2007.

It all started with the standard “just looking” response, but Claire knew there was more behind the couple’s knowing looks at each other and their difficulty standing still.

Meg says “we were so clueless going in to look, but being together eight years we were ready, and really wanted it to be special and fun at the same time!” But the couple had no idea what to do next. “I'm not 100% positive Meg even knew that her engagement ring was supposed to go on her left hand,” says Claire. Meg had no clue what style she wanted, or how to make such an overwhelming decision when there were so many beautiful rings from which to choose. It seemed the only logical thing was to try on everything in the case. Meanwhile, Claire noticed Mark becoming more intrigued so she knew what to do next.

In the diamond room she showed the couple all the technical aspects of choosing a diamond and got to know them and their style in the process. “She made the experience so much fun, was very knowledgeable, never made us feel pressured, and really made it all about us,” says Meg. In the end they decided on the Ritani Endless Love solitaire. Claire says, “They are just genuinely happy people and were a blast to be around. She is humble and sweet and I’ve never seen her without a smile on her face! Mark was so proud to give her this ring.”

Meg comes by every time she’s in the mall to have her ring cleaned and just say hello. Meg says, “Most of all Claire made us feel 110% confident in Fink’s and what they stand for. A great company with top-notch diamonds, and most importantly, top-notch service!!!” They planned the destination wedding of their dreams in Negril, Jamaica and even brought pictures by Fink’s to share with Claire. The couple says she was and still is the best help, and a great new friend.

Of the happy couple Claire says, “They are perfect for each other, I couldn’t be more thrilled for them!”

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Fink's Jewelers Receives Recognition for Excellence in Training

Fink's has always believed in excellence in sales associate training programs. In addition to attending product training lead by vendors such as David Yurman, John Hardy, Cartier, and Tag Heuer, our associates go through several programs we've developed to achieve better customer service.

All sales associates attend a one-week training program held in our corporate headquarters soon after hire. They experience the fundamentals of jewelry and what sets our product apart from other retailers. They also learn important procedures directly from our Merchandising, Information Systems, Marketing, and eCommerce Departments.

We also train associates additionally throughout the year in clientelling practices and motivated sales achievement. Our programs are developed on an ongoing basis by Charlene Hudson, Director of Sales Training.

Read the article: Luxury Jewelers Resource Group Recognized For Excellence By Training Magazine

Monday, February 2, 2009

Love Stories… Tammy and Jeff

Many times purchasing jewelry is the fulfillment of a dream. Ellen Freeman,
a Fink’s sales associate in Charlotte, helped make a very special time fun and romantic for Tammy and Jeff Norris.

“My wife Tammy had a picture saved from years ago that happened to be of an Elara diamond ring. This was her ‘dream’ diamond that she had saved a picture of, if she ever met the ‘man of her dreams.’ Hoping that I would be that man, I knew Fink’s carried the beautiful diamond and went there to purchase what I would hope to be the ultimate engagement ring and make me the ‘man of her dreams.”’

Ellen talked to Jeff on the phone and explained that she brought in several additional pieces from our 14 stores to offer them the ultimate selection. Then, the couple made their way to Fink’s Jewelers where Tammy selected a few of her favorite styles and then left the rest up to Jeff. Ellen says: “we found a brilliant three-stone Elara ring that was perfect for her. Jeff couldn't wait and surprised her with it a few days later.”

After their romantic engagement dinner, the couple had their “dream” wedding in Clearwater, Florida. The couple also chose Fink’s as their jeweler for their wedding bands. Jeff says: “When choosing the wedding band, Ellen gave us great advice and a variety of rings to choose from. She was instrumental in helping us select just the right ring that my wife would wear on her finger for the rest of our married life.”

Friday, January 30, 2009

Fink's publishes first online-only catalog

This Valentine's Day we wanted to provide our customers with the shopping and gift ideas they've come to rely on from Fink's Jewelers, but with a twist! Our first-ever virtual catalog is available through our website as a PDF full of the latest gift ideas from designers like Tag Heuer, David Yurman, Roberto Coin, Cartier, John Hardy, and more. As an added convenience, items in the catalog link directly to shopping pages at finks.com.



We believe our customers will enjoy browsing and sharing our online catalog and will appreciate instant online shopping that allows them to compare items, create a wish list, buy online, or request the item through the store of their choice.

Best of all, our catalog is completely Green, requiring no paper to print and no fuel to distribute. Wouldn't John Hardy be proud?!

Click here to see our catalog

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fink's Featured in InStyle Magazine


Fink’s Jewelers makes an appearance in one of the hottest fashion magazines!

Throughout the February issue of InStyle Magazine, you’ll see today’s hottest celebrities, the season’s latest fashion trends and… Fink’s Jewelers!!

We threw a Balinese bash at our Short Pump location in Richmond, Virginia and it was the talk of the town! Guy Berida, head designer for John Hardy, made a special appearance to unveil his latest designs and meet some of his avid collectors. In celebration of the John Hardy Balinese culture, guests enjoyed cocktails and organic hors d’oeuvres inspired by the Indonesian island of Bali. In addition to great food, friends and fabulous jewelry, one lucky guest won an all expense paid trip to Bali!

Cheers to InStyle and John Hardy for bringing Fink’s Jewelers into the fashion spotlight! Grab the February issue of InStyle Magazine and check it out for yourself…