64 STATE OF THE MAJORS 2017 1. 1. WHILE HALOS ARE STILL POPULAR, MORE CUSTOMERS TODAY ARE GOING FOR A SIMPLE SOLITAIRE. Shape-wise, round brilliants still over- whelmingly rule the bridal market, but a number of retailers noted the rising popularity of ovals and, to some extent, the marquise. 2. A SURPRISING NUMBER OF JEWELERS SAID THEY HAVE E-COMMERCE. In an industry known for being behind the times when it comes to tech- nology, we were frankly a little surprised at the number of “50 States” participants who said they have an e-commerce-en- abled website. Almost all of the jewelers we spoke with said that if they didn’t have it already, they plan to add selling capabilities to their sites in the near future. Store owners no longer need convincing that an om- ni-channel approach to retail is essential to doing business today— they know it and they’re acting accordingly. 3. THE MOST-UTILIZED SOCIAL MEDIA SITES WERE … Not surprisingly, the majority of jewelers interviewed said they rely on Facebook and Instagram the most out of all social media channels to drum up business. They also talked about the importance of reviews on sites like Google, Yelp and The Knot. They stressed that today’s consumer is better-informed than ever, and the way jewelers take care of customers in-store has the potential to create an online ripple effect, for better or for worse. 4. IT’S IMPORTANT TO BE POSITIVE. This was one of the most frequently shared bits of wisdom when we asked jewelers what advice they had for other independents. Paul Muffuletto, who runs Jackson Jewelers in Flowood, Mississippi with his father Ron, added this: “You can’t worry about what other people are doing, you can’t worry about what other businesses in town are doing. The whole idea is to make yourself successful and, if you have slow days, you try to change things to make sure you have busy days.” 5. JEWELERS HAVE SOME REALLY INTERESTING HOBBIES. Despite acting as portals to the posh world of rare diamonds, colored gem- stones from far-off lands and glittering gold, jewelers are an awfully down-to- earth bunch. Perhaps because they are often relegated to the indoors, the store owners we chatted with are lovers of nature and adrenaline. In their spare time, their hobbies range from the thrill-seeking variety, like flying helicopters and riding horses, to the athletic, such as tennis and skiing, plus an awful lot of hunting, fishing and off-roading. Lesson learned: Bringing your best self to work during the week requires letting off steam on the weekends. --Compiled byAshley Davis & Michelle Graff 50 JEWELERS/50 STATES: WHAT WE’VE LEARNED wrap-up National Jeweler launched its 50 Jewelers/50 States series online in April with—what else—Alabama, the first state alphabetically. Since then, we’ve been working our way through the alphabet, interviewing one jeweler in each state about their online presence, challenges, customers and top-sellers to create a snapshot of independent jewelry retail in America now. Here’s the picture we’ve put together so far.