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├ęs 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.”