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Episode Summary

Nick Gurney and Meghan Proctor of Hubbell Proctor Design talk about the joy of running a custom design jewelry store. They discuss how creating exciting experiences for your customers will allow you to stand out from your competitors.

Meghan also discusses how finding systems that simplify your business processes will allow business owners to enjoy more about all the different facets of their work.

Key Insights

  • Create experiences for your customers.
  • Invite your customer into your store and online environment.
  • Learn to love every aspect of your business.
  • Do your research and find technology and training that will help you run your business.
  • Simplify your systems.

Episode Highlights

  • They can watch us melt their family gold and watch the process and just watch it being done. It just gives a whole other level of an experience for that person.
  • The way I’ve designed my store is very open and transparent.
  • We’re able to be a part of people’s lives, literally from the beginning to the end.
  • When you are running a business like this one and being as busy as we are sometimes, you know, it’s just much easier to get a one stop shop.
  • It’s very easy. You can go form, you know, you can go into the platform, get your marketing together and send out emails, text messages, things that I wouldn’t be able to do before.

Guest Bio

Meghan Proctor is the owner of Hubble Proctor Design. It is a local custom jewelry store in Newnan, Georgia. Meghan is a second generation owner of the store that has served the community for 31 years.

Transcript

[00:00:00] Nick: All right. Today we’re joined by Meghan Proctor, the owner of Hubble Proctor Design, and we’re super excited to have her on the Master Stones Podcast. Meghan welcome. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business. 

[00:00:32] Meghan: Hey guys, I’m so excited to be talking with you. So yeah, we’re just a custom, a local custom jewelry store in Newnan. It was started by my parents in 1992, so I am a second generation. Both my parents have since passed, so this new location for us is my little baby. 

[00:00:53] Nick: That’s great. And you know what? You speak a lot to what many of the people are listening to. They’ll probably sound a very similar story just like yours, right? A store that is on its second generation and I think that’s fantastic. There’s a lot to be learned. I think a lot of the times when I speak to retailers in your shoes, they’ve been used to doing something the same for decades and decades, and then they get in there and it’s time to try something a little new or try something a little different, right. 

So your store is in Newnan now? Is that in… remind me which state that’s in? 

[00:01:24] Meghan: That’s in Georgia. 

[00:01:25] Nick: Georgia. Okay. 

[00:01:26] Meghan: We’re just south of Atlanta, about 30 minutes away from it, from Atlanta. 

[00:01:30] Nick: Great. Okay. So tell me a little bit more about, like what your store specialize in. 

[00:01:36] Meghan: We specialize in full custom from start to finish. So we do CAD here. I have a 3D printer that I use that I love. That’s my little baby. We do that. We do wax carving. All forms of repairs as well. So everything you bring in and have done, it’s all done in-house. Nothing is sent out and we’re one of the only stores around here locally that does that. And we’re able to offer that. 

So we try to keep the customer involved in the process as much as possible for each step of the process of their custom piece. Very hands on. We even can allow customers to come in and watch their piece be cast, and they can watch me set their stones if they so choose to.

[00:02:19] Nick: That’s awesome. I love that I was recently reading something, a conversation between jewelers where they explicitly pointed out that they don’t want to allow, you know, customers to do that, right. And there’s a certain level of, I don’t know if you call it stress or you know, just being able to jump between jobs if you need to quickly or whatever, that you lose with that, you know, when you do that. But what do you feel that does for your customers when you offer that kind of service? 

[00:02:43] Meghan: It’s a game changer, to be quite honest with you. I have customers, you know, we’re all about experiences. I was raised by my parents on experiences in life and when you’re able to offer that just extra little bit of experience. For example, we had one of our customers, her daughter was turning 16, so for her Sweet 16, we planned this out. I had already made the wax. She wanted a signet ring. I already had made the wax, got it ticked together. They brought her in as a surprise, and she watched me cast her sign ring and engrave her initials on the ring, and she left with that. They got pictures, so that went into her scrapbook for her Sweet 16 birthday scrapbook and the same group of customers in the next year ended up bringing their son for his 13th and had a cross made and we did the same process with them. So when, especially when we used Family Gold or Family Stones, the customers can come in and see and have that next level of assurance that what we are doing is exactly what we say that we’re doing, so they can watch us melt their family gold and watch the process and just watch it being done. It just gives a whole other level of an experience for that person. 

With couples, it’s nice to, because they can kind of see their wedding bands being made, which they put in their wedding blogs and stuff like that. It’s definitely a good thing. It’s scary at first but we love it.. 

[00:04:20] Nick: That’s incredible. And I love it because as a consumer, right, to put ourselves in the foot of our customers for a second so often we’re trying to decide between, you know, buying things or paying for experiences, right?

Am I gonna go on the cruise? Am I gonna go to Disneyland or am I going to go buy, you know, a new piece of jewelry, right? Like, these are decisions that our customers are trying to decide. And I love that with this way of doing things is that you aren’t forcing your customers to make that. They get to buy both, right? They get the item and they get the experience. I think that’s super, super cool and unique. 

[00:04:53] Meghan: Yes. 

[00:04:53] Nick: That’s awesome. Any times it hasn’t worked out super well? I’m kind of curious, where it’s kind of maybe been a process that’s backfired or anything like that. 

[00:05:03] Meghan: Knock on wood, so far no. There have been no downsides to it. I know some people will probably question safety in allowing someone in your shop. Sure. The way I’ve designed my store is very open and transparent anyway, because there are things that go on in the industry that, let’s just say, can be nefarious sometimes. So I have no problems giving my customers that extra level of comfort and as long as we’re doing our due diligence in the shop, we’ve had no problems. So, so far, knock on wood, no backfires. 

[00:05:41] Nick: That’s fantastic. I love hearing that. And I love that you’re embracing that unique way of doing. 

[00:05:46] Meghan: Oh yes. 

[00:05:47] Nick: Super cool. 

[00:05:48] Meghan: Well, it’s just updating, you know, things change and the times change. So we’ve found younger generations are enjoying the experiences more in just a different way of doing things. It’s not a bad thing. 

[00:06:04] Nick: Totally. Yep. I love that. I love that. So for you, I’m kind of curious. This is a question I like asking. If you had to pick, is it the jewelry that you love or is it the business that you love? Do you love, you know, working with the jewelry or do you love running the business more? 

[00:06:19] Meghan: D all of the above. I love so much of it. We were literally looking at some gemstones earlier. There’s so much about this industry to love. My dad started teaching me when I was six years old. I’ve been raised in the industry. I couldn’t imagine myself in a different one. I love, yeah, I love the business part of it as well. Yes, it can be stressful, but it’s rewarding in a different sense as well. We’re able to be a part of people’s lives, literally from the beginning to the end. I can tell you recently I’ve had three of my customer friends who have told me they were pregnant, and I’m the first one that they told before they told their family that they’re having a baby, so we can start planning the gift for the mother or, you know, and the same time we do, you know, deal with people’s deaths and memorial pieces and things like that. 

And because we are so hands on with our customers, we create a family environment. So there are people right now, customers that I have that are third generations and even fourth. So it’s just very rewarding in that aspect as well. So that’s why I say I just love all of it. And the jewelry is nice too. It’s pretty, yes. And it’s nice to play with fun, shiny things and sparkly diamonds and cool stones. There’s just so much about this industry. Just so unique and just cool. And I love it. Yeah. I love it. 

[00:07:53] Nick: Yeah, I love that. And you know, for me, my favorite thing about the industry is, and relationships, right? And there’s of course relationships on the business side, but there’s so many more on, you know, the retail side and the customers that come in, those that walk in and you get excited when you see ’em and, you know, I think that’s so great. So I love that. 

[00:08:11] Meghan: Yes, Let me just emphasize a little bit on what you just said about having those relationships with business as well. You guys, I’ve gotten to know you guys so well and I just adore your company. Everyone I’ve talked to has been absolutely wonderful. Nothing negative at all, but you build those relationships like I kind of stalked you at the Atlanta Show but I have vendors right now that my dad used in one of them. I had an emergency, drove all the way here from practically the other side of the state, just to bring me a stone that I needed for an emergency. Without that, I don’t know what I would’ve done. So you do make those relationships and I’ve got great ones and I’ve made great connections. My parents did and they’re just great people. We’re all kind of fun. We’re all kind of janky in our own way, but it’s just wonderful the experiences with business as well, because those relationships that I just love. 

[00:09:18] Nick: Yeah. Yeah. I love that. And I appreciate, of course, the kind of things you said about our company. We, you know, we try and, and be a good steward of the industry. But yeah, I love the point that you’re making about how we’re all here just trying to make the industry better and make sure that, you know, consumers have a great experience. I think that for a lot of people when they purchase jewelry, right, it’s some of the bigger decisions they make in their life and so what I think that forces us to do as an industry is to have more concern for quality experiences. And that, transcends the entire, you know, industry, right? It’s not just you working with consumers, it’s also with your vendors working with you and partners in the industry, trying to make sure there’s a good experience and stuff too. So I, that’s one of my favorite things. 

So tell me a little bit more about your role in running a jewelry store, right. And running a busy jewelry store, right. What are some of the traits that people need to possess in a role like yours? 

[00:10:13] Meghan: I would say the ability to go with the flow. It is a lot because we have been established in our town for 31 years and we do have those generational clients and customers, and moving locations to our downtown has just blown up a little bit. So you do have to kind of, there are sacrifices that I make. Sometimes, you know, I work through the night, you know, you just never know. It’s what you gotta do. But going with the flow and kind of just embracing it and. Hey, you know, just give them what they love and yes. you’re gonna be tired and it’s gonna be some sacrifices, but it’s worth it in the end for me. 

[00:11:04] Nick: Yeah, totally. And I think there’s a lot of parallels there with anybody running any business, right? You gotta, you know, sometimes put it before yourself. 

[00:11:12] Meghan: Yes. 

[00:11:12] Nick: To either succeed or to create the experience that you want for your customers. So yeah. That’s really good feedback.

Now, you mentioned a little bit about our product. I’m kind of curious how our products had an impact on your store, the Jewel360 point of sale. You know, what’s one of your favorite things about the software or what’s something you use in it frequently that that stands? 

[00:12:34] Meghan: That’s a hard one to just name one thing. So before, I’ll give you just a teeny bit of background, before we got with you guys, we did handwritten. We hand-wrote all of our tickets. I researched, you know, in our industry there’s one major company and I researched other ones. What I liked about you guys was you get so much more with one group than anything else, and it’s so user friendly.

 I can’t think of anything that we’ve struggled with or had issues with. The training is wonderful. It’s extremely user friendly. I’m in the process. I just hired some front help and we were showing her how to take in the tickets and how to take in a repair. She learned it in a couple of hours.

Yeah, you know, it’s just very user friendly. It’s very hands-on. The customer service is great. The training is great. You get so much with one company, and that’s what I like the most too, because when you are running a business like this one and being as busy as we are sometimes, you know, it’s just much easier to get a one stop shop. Sure. If that makes sense. Having to deal, I can’t imagine I’d probably rip my hair out if I had to deal with like five other companies. 

[00:14:03] Nick: Yeah. Piece things together and…

[00:14:05] Meghan: Yes, no, I’ve had the best experiences with Jewel360. Couldn’t sing their praises enough. And I wouldn’t, cannot even fathom the thought of trying to go anywhere else because it’s just so wonderful. We just love it so much. 

[00:14:21] Nick: I appreciate that. You know, and it’s definitely you pointed out a couple focuses of our business, right? Things that we like to do and things we like to focus on. One is, you know, we try and, you know, maintain modern technology. And that includes design, right? You know, when people open up Facebook, nobody has to go read the user manual and how to use Facebook when people, you know, go use Gmail, right? They know how to use it because it’s built on modern design. Yes. And we have the same mindset with our software, right? When you open up our product, it should be intuitive. You should be able to know how to do things without needing to be trained or read a manual. Now, of course, we do those things, you know, we, of course, provide training and support articles because it’s important to you know, understand the ins and the outs when it’s running your business. But we of course wanna make it easy. 

And the other piece that you pointed out that stands out is that we want to give retailers back more time. The idea is that if you can implement software to do some of your more repetitive tasks, then you don’t necessarily need to hire as much help. Or you can use, you know, the staff that you do hire to do things that are more impactful, like, you know, doing direct outreach or things like that.

[00:15:24] Meghan: Yes.

[00:15:25] Nick: So those are just some of the focuses on our business and I appreciate you calling them out there. 

[00:15:28] Meghan: Well, and let me just point to add as well the cost efficiency because, and the reason I mentioned that too is the marketing that you guys offer that other companies don’t, you have to pay for that. And before, when we were, you know, if we wanted to do a trunk show or an antique jewelry show, of course you know, we would do the mail blasters and you gotta do all that and that costs quite a bit of money. But with you guys, it’s very easy. You can go form, you know, you can go into the platform, get your marketing together and send out emails, text messages, things that I wouldn’t be able to do before. And that has also saved money to put into the business, to put back into the business versus snail mail, so, I love that aspect about that too. 

[00:16:26] Nick: That’s great. It’s great. Yeah, our marketing tools are definitely one of the most popular features in our system. Especially the automated ones, right. To automatically send out birthday reminders and coupons and things like that. 

To touch on that a little bit more, you mentioned, you know, to take some money and put it back into the business when you can save on an all-in-one solution like that. If you could pick one area of your business to grow, what would you pick and why would you pick it? Like when you’re looking at opportunities within your store and your business what kind of things are you looking at? 

[00:16:52] Meghan: I would say, people, being able to hire some help would, right now, that is where my focus is because we are so busy and in such high demand here that I’m trying to find some, you know, some experienced help, so being able to save financially to put that and invest in another person is where I’m at with it at this moment. Not so much in stock because we don’t have a lot of vendors here. We make the majority of our pieces. So we don’t stock vendors. So to have an extra body to have their creativity and bring that on board. I would rather be able to invest in another person. And so that’s where I’m at with that. So for me and my business, that’s where I can put my money instead of the other things. 

[00:17:49] Nick: Yeah, I love that. So for a lot of businesses, you know, it’s just them working on their own. And they. Experience, you know, hiring somebody for the first time, but they don’t necessarily know, okay, where are their efforts best served? Right? I’ve been doing these things the same way for decades and it’s kind of hard to like go, well, you know, what can I delegate? What can’t I delegate? You know, and stuff like that. And so it’s definitely, it can be a challenge for a lot of retailers when they first do that. 

[00:18:17] Meghan: Yes, it can. And I am one of those. My parents were that way. My father was that way. And I will tell you, we got with you guys before he passed, and he was so enthralled by what we could get from Jewel 360 and what it could do versus what we normally were doing. It’s just exciting because it was just us. It was my parents and myself because there’s a level of trust you have to have too, especially when you’re dealing with other people’s heirlooms and pieces like that and high-end items. You’ve got to have someone that you can trust. So that’s always a bit of a stressful point with any retailer, I believe. So when you are looking at that person in a new way of doing things it’s scary.

It can be scary, but once you kind of just jump in and do it, it’s wonderful. And that’s, yeah, that’s why with Jewel 360, it made the transition for me getting into that much easier as well. 

[00:19:29] Nick: Sure. It helps having everything in one place, right? 

[00:19:31] Meghan: It does. 

[00:19:31] Nick: So you could, does just show it and walk through you know, that specific stuff and say, all right, you don’t have to go remember to open up these three different tools that we use, or go dig in this file folder, or, you know, it’s all just in one place.

[00:19:43] Meghan: So, yes. 

[00:19:44] Nick: Yeah. And speaking in terms of, you know, doing things in a safe way, in a conscious way. It’s important that you can also make sure that, like, the system enables you to set up permissions and things like that too, right? So that you can make sure to limit the ability to do certain things as your training or as employees are new and things like that. 

[00:20:05] Meghan: Yes, and I would like to sing the praises on that as well because for this new hire that I just had hired for our front help, yes, we are able to limit what she can do until her trial period is over and have access to, which I greatly appreciate and I love that factor of that because there are just some things the business owner should be privy to and staff should not. Sure. So it’s wonderful to have those options. 

[00:20:33] Nick: Yep. Absolutely. Absolutely. Cool. Well, you know, I have really appreciated the chance that we’ve had to chat with each other and to learn a little bit more about your business. I’ve known you, Meghan, I’ve spoken to you a couple times you know, over the last little while. And so I’ve known you for a little bit, but I haven’t known about your business and it’s been super exciting to learn a little bit more about it. I wish when we were in Atlanta together, I wish I had made a point to come down to see the store in person but maybe next time. 

[00:20:56] Meghan: It’ll be next time for sure.

[00:20:58] Nick: Yeah. 

[00:20:58] Meghan: Well, thank you. I’ve really enjoyed this. It’s been really fun and exciting, so thank you. 

[00:21:03] Nick: Of course. If anyone wants to find more information about your store, where can they find you? 

[00:21:08] Meghan: Well, our Facebook, Hubble Proctor Design on Facebook. We are actually having you guys currently build our website for us, so that’ll be going soon. Okay. But our Facebook, we have Instagram as well, Hubble Proctor Design on both platforms. 

[00:21:25] Nick: Great. Great. And we’ll make sure to link things in the show notes and stuff like that too. But thank you great chatting with you Meghan having a great rest of your day. 

[00:21:32] Meghan: You too, Mr. Nick. Thank you so much.