Tuesday, 20 March 2012


As I deplaned for about the 150th time in the past year, I looked at the flight crew preparing to come aboard.  They had golden embroidery on the hats and epaulettes, crisp white shirts, matching luggage and freshly polished shoes.  These elements made me feel safe.  I’m not sure how clothing can instill a sense of security, but I do know that if my pilot was wearing a pair of jeans and a dirty “who farted” T-shirt, I’d definitely feel quite the opposite.

Now, air travel is an expensive form of travel.  Picture a cruise ship captain, a train conductor on the Rocky Mountain Express, a Greyhound bus driver, a limo driver and a cabbie.  The most expensive forms of travel have the most formal wardrobes.  The least expensive have the least formal dress.

How should you dress?  I say you should dress for the highest level of jewellery that you aspire to sell.  Here’s why.  Part of the client’s decision-making process is imagining himself or herself wearing that piece in different settings.  In fact, you’ll often hear the question, “where would I ever wear that?”  If they look around your store at the décor and the attire of the staff and feel overdressed with that piece of jewellery on, you’ve given them one-strike against buying that special design.

True story:  I had a lady come into the small luxury jewellery boutique I managed in Commerce Place one day.  She told me that she had been looking forward to coming in to see some jewellery, but until that day she felt that she had been underdressed.  She actually dressed-up to come into our store!  Guess what?  She was a lawyer who dressed quite well on a daily basis.  You could conclude that we created an uninviting atmosphere, but by time this particular lady finally entered, she was half-sold.  Being half-sold, do you think she would be the kind of customer that grinds you for every penny?  No way.

Jewellery is a luxury product.  The masses who may be very important to your business are constantly trying to buy luxurious looking things for their meager budgets.  Do you think they’ll be offended by your lofty wardrobe when they themselves are trying to look like a million dollars?  No.  The actual high-end client who you’re trying to sell that $12,000 emerald and diamond ring or $30,000 diamond necklace to wants to feel socially comfortable wearing such a piece.

Am I suggesting you have a store uniform?  I love the idea, but it may not be for you.  Cactus Club Café waitresses all wear different dresses, but they are somewhat uniform in that they’re all “little black dresses”.  You choose your dress-code, but you should indeed HAVE and communicate to your staff a dress-code.

If you want to dress like the masses, sell mass jewellery and don’t complain when a local consumer buys a high-end product somewhere else.  The way you dress is part of the client experience.  A positive client experience that is replicate over and over again to client after client becomes an element of your brand.  A luxurious brand will sell luxurious designs. 

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