Megan’s story on choosing the jewelry industry
“I wouldn’t necessarily say that I chose the jewelry industry, but rather that the jewelry industry chose me because I have been involved in the trade, in one capacity or another, from a very young age”, says Megan.
When she was growing up, her father was a sales rep for one of the oldest companies remaining in the industry, Frederick Goldman. At the age of 21, her father was able to use his learned knowledge and success to open his own retail store, and so began her affinity for all things jewelry.
From wrapping gifts after school, to counting cash drawers, (and even mistakenly hitting panic buttons!) she became a sponge, learning anything and everything about the business. It’s safe to say her passion morphed into a lifestyle because there hasn’t been a day since when her thoughts and actions haven’t revolved around jewelry, and she soon became determined to work her way up and make a name for herself in the jewelry industry. It was only natural that when she was of working age that she started off as a sales associate making minimum wage.
She went on to train over 1500 retail independent stores all over the US and Canada, manage 115 employees, and oversee buying for one of the largest retail doors in the US, head operations for a big box company whose individual stores produce over $20 million dollars each, and eventually took on the role as Vice President of Sales for a manufacturer that designs and produces goods for the top independent retail stores in the country.
Optimizing Revenue for the Jewelry Retail Industry
Crabtree Consulting is a boutique consulting firm helping jewelry manufacturers and retailers streamline operations, improve quality, and boost sales. With a commitment to simplifying complex processes and implementing cutting-edge, data-driven strategies, it expedites the process of business optimization, paving the way for remarkable growth opportunities.
This is made possible by the exceptional leadership of its founder and CEO, Megan Crabtree. Her extensive experience and deep knowledge of the retail and jewelry industry make Crabtree Consulting a unique and unparalleled consulting firm in its field. While other consulting firms may offer ideas, they often lack practical hands-on experience in the domain. Megan’s direct experience in various roles within the industry, in this regard, brings a valuable perspective that is unmatched.
“Our commitment to personalized attention is not just a philosophy, but a core value that drives everything we do. Our team is dedicated to building strong relationships with each client, listening attentively to their needs, and tailoring our services to meet their specific requirements. We also take a selective approach by working with only a few clients at a time. This allows us to give our full attention and resources to each client, ensuring they receive the highest level of support,” says Crabtree.
One of the challenges Crabtree Consulting frequently encounters among its retail clients is the need for effective data management to facilitate informed decision-making. The accuracy and comprehensiveness of the data entered have a significant impact on the quality of decisions made. Consequently, the firm prioritizes establishing a robust data management foundation when working with clients.
It starts by performing a thorough analysis of existing data and identifies how it is currently added to the system. From there, it develops standard operating procedures (SOPs) for data input to ensure consistency and accuracy. It also identifies and determines the attributes associated with client inventory, which serve as a means for grouping similar products within the inventory, such as an engagement ring in white gold with a halo setting and round diamonds. Accurately assigning and utilizing attributes within inventory data enables clients to generate high-level data reports. These reports help clients determine which products are selling well, and guide them to optimize their business decisions to increase sales.
Crabtree Consulting also recognizes the importance of effective communication and collaboration among departments in the retail industry. Often, departments may operate in silos, leading to misunderstandings and a lack of awareness about ongoing projects. Crabtree Consulting addresses the issue by helping clients organize weekly meetings that involve all departments to streamline communications. These meetings are an opportunity to raise awareness about important projects that may impact the company, fostering a sense of unity and collaboration across teams.
Some retailers also face challenges related to managing relationships with multiple vendors and analyzing product performance by specific partners. While data analysis is often necessary to fully understand these issues, there are simpler steps that can be taken as well. For instance, running a basic report can show how well a particular vendor partnership works and how it can be improved. Many retailers seek out Crabtree Consulting with more fundamental concerns, such as over-inventory and low turnover rates. One of its clients, for example, approached with these challenges, and in under a year, it reduced their merchandise by an impressive $1.5 million.
Crabtree Consulting is dedicated to creating many similar success stories, and to that end, it places a premium on bringing in talented individuals with hands-on experience and domain expertise. This approach would enable it to consistently deliver on its promises, providing clients with top-tier consulting services across the board.
The craziest thing done for a sale (OR Lesson learned from the craziest sale)
One of the crazy stories in her journey when she was in the jewelry retail sector also happens to be one of the greatest lessons she ever learned. It all started when a gentleman walked into her store and purchased a stunning pair of 8ctw princess cut diamond studs for his wife. However, just a few days later, he returned them, explaining that his wife already owned a pair of 8ctw round diamond studs and wanted matching Breitling watches for the both of them instead.
Their store wasn’t authorized to sell Breitling watches at that time, but the CEO assured her that he could easily get them through a colleague. Excitedly, she shared the good news with the customer, and naturally, he wanted to try on the watches before making a final decision. Confident in the CEO’s promise, she sent him off, requesting him to return in a few days with his wife to try out the watches they were about to obtain.
But then, reality hit. As it turned out, the watches needed to be purchased upfront before they could even get them for the couple to try on. Suddenly, they found themselves in a tricky situation. If the couple ended up not wanting the watches, they would be stuck with them, as selling Breitling watches was not within their authorized capability.
The CEO made it clear that he was not going to take the risk and purchase the watches. As a new employee, having only been on the job for two weeks, she couldn’t afford to lose this sale. Grit and determination surged within her, fueling her motivation to find a solution.
She remembered that one of their local competitors carried Breitling watches, including the specific style the customer desired. She took matters into her own hands. Calling her personal credit card company, she requested an increase in her limit by an astounding $25,000. She was ready to go to great lengths for this sale.
Without hesitation, she headed over to their competitor and, using her own card, purchased the two coveted watches. It was an unusual sight, her walking out with their competitor’s bag in hand, but she couldn’t let that deter her. The customer and his wife returned as planned, and as expected, they fell in love with the watches. So, they went ahead and ordered them through the CEO’s colleague, while she promptly returned the watches she had bought from their competition.
The satisfaction she felt as she handed back that bag was indescribable. Not only did they make the sale, but she had proven herself, showing her resilience and determination as a young retail sales associate. The lesson she took away from this experience extended far beyond assuming and delved into the power of having true grit. She learned that with unwavering determination and the willingness to go above and beyond, any obstacle can be overcome, leading to success and personal growth.