It’s not easy to start a business in the jewelry industry. First of all, it is capital intensive due to the high-ticket items involved. Furthermore, certain products, especially high end watches, carry relatively low margins in the gray or secondary market, so it’s a bit of a double whammy for new entrepreneurs looking to excel in the space.
These challenges didn’t deter watch investor and connoisseur Carlos Marcelin, who launched the now popular CRM Jewelers back in late 2012. Located in the heart of the jewelry industry in Downtown Miami, CRM (as clients typically refer to it) now enjoys hundreds of thousands of fans across social media and YouTube, as well as loyal clients from most countries all over the world.
The Early Days of CRM Jewelers
When he was nine years old, Carlos and his older sisters began helping their dad at his artisan jewelry shop in Havana, Cuba in 1984. That experience began awakening a passion for jewelry and luxury in Carlos over the years, and is the sole reason CRM Jewelers was born, initially as a luxury watch boutique, 28 years later.
Carlos was no stranger to luxury watches when he launched the business. In fact, he owned his first Rolex at the age of 18, four years after emigrating from Cuba in 1989 (a watch that he later gifted his father in 2005). But it wasn’t until the unexpected passing of his father in 2008 that he made up his mind to finally get into the luxury watch business and open his store; it was a commemoration of the chapter that was started with his father 24 years earlier.
When Carlos finally formed CRM Jewelers on November 1st, 2012, he started the business with less than 10 watches, no social following and a burning desire to make it big in an ultra-competitive industry; an industry where a Hispanic minority group stuck out like a sore thumb, a black sheep of sorts.
Non-Stop Content, One of the Keys to Success!
Right after Carlos made the decision to open the business, someone introduced him to Instagram. Shortly afterwards, he began taking pictures of watches and posting them on IG. There was really no rhyme or reason to the process at the time. Some pictures featured the standalone watch. Some included a mix of watches and some were more lifestyle based, like flexing with the watch in front of an exotic car (he had to give the valet assistants quite a few tips for that last perk)!
From the comments and engagement the content was getting, Carlos realized that he was onto something. He continued to post avidly and within a few months, the company’s Instagram page had grown to 5,000 followers. That’s when he shared that number with his brother-and-law and only business partner, Dan Alvarez. Dan was blown away.
Having come from an Engineering/Finance and entrepreneurial background, Dan was no stranger to business success, but had never seen such a high amount of followers in one place. He also had never heard of Instagram.
Seeing the huge potential of leveraging off social clout to grow the business, Dan came on board in 2013 and started working on launching a business website and also standardizing the brand’s presence across other social channels including YouTube. Throughout the years, both Dan and Carlos have seen the company’s image and video content metamorphose into something great; something that has taken much trial and error to develop, but that has been essential in the success of the entire operation.
The Future of CRM Jewelers
While content has been a contributing factor in the past success of CRM Jewelers, and will likely continue to be so in the years to come, we asked both Carlos and Dan if there was something else. What other missing ingredient (if any) might be the key to future growth?
To this, Carlos responded, “Level of service. Clients to us are not numbers and will never be. This is the same reason why many of our clients also become good friends. We need to always keep our clients’ best interests at heart if we want our business to succeed and maintain the great reputation it has achieved throughout the years.”
Dan also added, “We also need to always focus on our brand as our greatest strength. We sell watch brands and models that everyone sells. We sell gold chains and jewelry that are made out of the same precious materials that everyone has access to. What sets us apart from the competition, what makes us unique is our brand. When you acknowledge that as an entrepreneur and continuously work on getting clients to share that vision with you, your brand will become your best selling point. We want clients to work with us because they love the CRM brand, much more than the products that we sell.”
The lessons that can be learned from CRM Jewelers are ones that every new and existing business owner should master. Even if the odds are stacked against you, it is your perseverance and sheer will to succeed that will determine your level of success. Furthermore, if you focus on making your brand your passion, it’ll become the greatest value you can offer your customers and will pave the way for unlimited business success down the road.
Visit https://www.crmjewelers.com/ for more details.
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