At Stuller, we talk a lot about how to make jewelers heroes to their customers — how to help them leave their customers so impressed that all they can say is, “Wow.”
Ted Blais is that kind of jeweler. As we’ve gotten to know Ted over the years, we’ve been impressed by his commitment to staying ahead of the game and to using all of the tools at his disposal to make his business more lean, efficient, and successful. Ted initially made his way into the industry after becoming fascinated with the bench jeweler at his local mall. Even when he was on dates, he recalls taking detours to check on what the jeweler was up to. It seized his imagination.
That bench jeweler in the mall offered Ted an apprentice position, and he hasn’t looked back. Soon, he was one of the top bench jewelers in the company. Today, Ted owns and runs Ted’s Creative Jewelers in Southampton, Massachusetts. Ted’s work runs the gamut, from changing watch batteries (which he recently started doing for free for military personnel) to tackling extremely creative projects. The word “creative” gets bandied around quite a bit, of course, so I ask him to explain: “The word ‘creative’ in my name is there because if I don't have it, I can create it,” says Ted. “And with the investment of CounterSketch®, this holds even more true than it has ever been.” One example of Ted’s creativity appears on his Facebook page: a ring whose centerpiece is an intricate, fabricated in gold and platinum. As Ted puts it, this item is “for the gentleman who has everything.” He’s also in the middle of using CounterSketch Studio to design a solid gold truck with bezeled wheels for a businessman with a fleet of similar vehicles. “My business has grown vastly with technology,” he points out. “And CounterSketch is a major part of my success.”
He also identifies repair work as an essential and steady component of his business: “My repair business is the bread and butter. It's a constant supply, and I always have repairs to do.”
Ted also excels in marrying these two parts of his business, using technology to improve his repair process. For instance, he explains how contemporary jewelry photography
solutions, (like the Mode 360°), can be invaluable in repair negotiations with customers: “I have actually incorporated a camera with my take-in of all repairs. I have a light box and a simple camera, and I send the image via Bluetooth to my laserprinter. Then, I print the picture on the front of the envelope.
This proves without a doubt what item was taken in and what item belongs in the envelope. Also, at times it can show where the item needs to be repaired. I also have integrated the same type of camera into my own design appraisal forms. A couple simple clicks, and I have the item’s picture on the appraisal.”
This sort of process can be very useful when dealing with a disgruntled repair customer: “You only need that one
customer to say that they didn't get back the item they brought in,” he observes.
The larger goal of this fancy technology, of course, is to build toward a positive end impression. As Ted puts
it, “Putting smiles on people's faces is what inspires me. I love my customers and they seem to like me…meeting people and having fun with them as I make memories with them, not just for them. What I mean is this: For almost every piece of jewelry I sell or make, I'm part of the memory. People always remember where they bought something. If it's important, they'll remember you and return.”