Like most everyone here in Austin, Texas, we’re big fans of Calvin’s Fine Jewelry. With a gorgeous selection of wedding bands, gemstones and designer jewels, who wouldn’t be?
The story of their success is even more exciting. With increased sales and steady growth, Calvin’s is on the path to many more years of business accomplishments.
We were lucky enough to sit down and chat with store-owner Calvin Smith to discuss how his business skyrocketed to one of the top local jewelers in town. Check out the conversation below to learn how you can create an online sensation of your own.
How did you get started in the jewelry business?
My father was a jeweler, and growing up, I apprenticed with him and learned basic bench jeweler skills. I had an affinity for the work, and moved to Austin to hone my skills. As I gained experience and learned new repair and setting techniques, I developed a passion for beautiful, impeccably crafted jewelry.
In 1997, I opened Calvin’s Fine Jewelry, starting with full service repairs and a small selection of carefully chosen bridal jewelry. Over the years, Calvin’s has grown in every way imaginable. We now carry over fifteen independent designers lines, as well as our own Calvin’s and Calvin’s Couture Collections. We have a successful ecommerce website including our Calvin’s Bling Blog, and an established social media presence on Facebook and Twitter.
The staff has quadrupled and we’re one big family! My wife and I run day to day operations, my sister Kathy manages the store, two of my sons work with the website and photography, and my mother keeps us all in line! I also have a wonderful support staff, including our shipping manager, gemologist, advertising and website manager and my experienced sales team. Everyone at Calvin’s has a passion for giving our customers high quality jewelry with the best customer service.
Why did you choose Volusion?
Previously, I used an “off-the-shelf” software package that was not customized for my business’s needs. The software had numerous problems, particularly with communication and long time lapses in price and product corrections.
I jumped on board with Volusion in Nov of 2008; I am currently using their website and YouTube integration, along with live chat. My favorite feature is definitely the new video capabilities; this is important in helping Calvin’s to attract new customers and build confidence in our jewels and our services. We’re able to show them who we are, and to share our jewelry in a very personal way.
Volusion has also helped to increase foot traffic significantly. Our website is cleaner, easier to navigate, and professionally designed.
How is your online store doing today?
Having Volusion as our ecommerce provider has meant increased sales, a larger presence in the online marketplace and increased efficiency in serving customers. After browsing the website, customers often know what they want when they walk in the door. We’ve experienced slow and steady growth with the help of Volusion and a number of other applications.
Who’s the biggest influence in your life?
Steve Jobs is by far the biggest business influence for me. He was incredibly innovative in both design and marketing, a true visionary that was always a step ahead. I admire his drive to not only be uniquely creative, but also to attempt the highest level of perfection he could attain in his products. He altered the way people think about personal computing, making it not only accessible, but hip and fun as well.
What advice would you give to other business owners?
My advice for other business owners is to always focus on customer service first. If you take the time to nurture the relationships you already have, you will find that new business grows exponentially from the positive feedback customers offer via reviews , social media, and last but not least, word-of-mouth.
My biggest lesson in opening an online store is that “I wish I’d done it sooner!” Jumping in the ecommerce market with great partners like Volusion has increased my revenue, allowed me to reach out to old and new customers, and provided an exciting avenue to help me grow my business and stay current.
Many thanks to Calvin and congratulations on continued growth and success!