You Lost a Big Brand. Now What?
by Angie Ash, EVP
When retailers gain partnerships with big brands, the proverbial roller coaster ride that ensues is surely more thrilling than scary. Your clientele changes from the merely upscale customer to the one with an abundance of money to spare. You know, the ones that don’t bat an eye when it comes to purchasing something that costs what some people make in an entire year. And as a retailer, you ride those big hills with a huge smile on your face. That brand is like a magnet. It opens up your storefront to other like big brands that see you as a winner. Suddenly, you’re making lots and lots of money and your store’s bag is the one everyone wants to be seen carrying. It’s not just fun, it’s a dream come true, one that you surely never want to wake from.
So when you get the notice that the big brand that put you on the map to fine jewelry retailer glory no longer wants to be your plus one, the roller coaster ride is suddenly not fun at all. The ride down to the bottom of the hill makes your stomach drop to your ankles, your life is turned upside down faster than a corkscrew twist, and you can’t wait for the feeling to end so you can just get off and ask yourself, “What just happened?” You’re left dizzy, disoriented, and more than a little nauseous.
You may even get a bit panicked, going to a dark place where you just want to shutter the doors and windows and crawl into a hole. What will those amazingly wealthy customers, some who became your good friends, think when they hear the news? You’re embarrassed and anxious, wondering what you’re going to do. Before you go there, consider the Greek philosopher, Plato, and his famous quote, “Necessity is the mother of invention”. There’s so much wisdom and truth in that quote. The rug that was pulled from under your feet can be the catalyst to new growth and potential.
So roll up your sleeves, lift your gaze, and remind yourself that your store and its reputation were built on years of hard work, values, determination, perseverance, and faith. Plenty of retail stores have been in your shoes, and have not just survived, but thrived. Talk to some you know. Take some time to look at the other categories of your business that make big money. Those creme de la creme customers love big-ticket items, so go after them for big and important diamond purchases and clienteling tactics. Take them out to dinner and forge deeper relationships. What about growing your custom design business? Consider everything you still have going for you and grow those opportunities instead of dwelling on what you’ve lost, tough as that may be.
No, you will not replace the money you made with that big brand in a year. The truth is, you may not ever completely make it up. You have a lot of hard work and decisions in front of you, but when has that stopped you in the past? Consider the opportunities, then get back in that coaster line. It won’t be easy, but Plato also said courage is knowing what not to fear.