Can’t I just bake some cupcakes?

I remember when my kids were in elementary school and my wife, after much volunteering, was invited to join the PTA Board. A lot of mom’s take this as a huge compliment at first, as did my wife. It means she was well thought of, others enjoyed having her around, and she could look forward to all that bonding. Maybe one day, she might have some influence. Whereas those things may all be true, the other ingredient was that someone felt she had the most-needed gift for a PTA board member – the fund raising gene.
This blog isn’t only referring to PTA however; it’s for anyone involved in a community fundraising situation, from community theatre to soccer moms. It seems like many mom-types love certain aspects of serving on these committees. From making the cupcakes to stringing the decorations, it’s a good feeling watching the kids enjoy it all while chit-chatting with the other parents. The hours and hard work seem rewarding and fun. But, all that comes to a squeeching holt when the board president announces that its fundraising time, and even more terrifying, everyone needs to try and find 3 business sponsors.
The volunteers go on their not-so-merry way to make phone calls, some stop ins, and maybe write some letters. They also might comprise an email to blast out. The message says we have great kids, and we have some great projects, so please sponsor us. It’s not much different than every other donation request most businesses receive. This does work a small percentage of the time when the small business sees that a large part of their revenue comes from this group’s membership. It also works if the business is aggressively looking to support the community, but that’s not a common scenario.
Let me now move the shoe over to the other foot. Here I am – a small business owner. Rain, sleet, or hail (okay, we don’t get much sleet in Florida) don’t delay the daily requests for donations from their rounds to my business. Usually it’s by mail or email, and the personal visits are down. I’m just stating facts and not necessarily advocating for the personal visit. We are now getting to my motivation for writing this blog. I would like to really help these volunteers in their mission to get the small business support they are shooting for.
What does the PTA, or other community group, have to offer that is free and valuable to a small business? What does a small business need in today’s market place that is hard, if not impossible to purchase, and he needs outside help to obtain. Answer: Google Ranking.
Today’s market is not different than yesterday’s in that referral is still the number one form of effective marketing. But, the thing that is different is the internet, and more specifically, Google. We don’t have to go down the Google discussion, right? We all Google everything. The challenge for the local business is showing up higher on the Google search ranking. They can either become internet suave or pay a hefty fee for it. Or they can get some help, lots of help, to do it organically.
Google reviews are highly weighted by Google. Yelp, Foursquare, Superpages, and others will also be scored, but of course, Google will guarantee attention to the ones on their platform. Get five good reviews on a business and it will move their ranking 2 or 3 spaces up the ladder (that’s a layman’s explanation – which works for me). The more good reviews and the further they will move up.
This proposal of mine goes out directly to the PTA groups in my area, but others should listen up. Imagine the power when your board and a large part of your PTA organization start writing reviews for the businesses that are currently supporting you. Imagine the response when that business sees, online, that members of the Just-around-the-corner Elementary PTA are popping up with reviews left and right. What will he think when he sees that his business is now ranked on Google higher than the chain store at the mall because of local online support from your association? Now, just think, is that business going to hesitate to sponsor you next year? Are other businesses going to be easier to get on board when you show them the number of reviews your committee delivered to their neighbor?
I am not proposing any false reviews. Everyone should absolutely visit the business and give it a try and decide what to say in the review. What if you are compelled to write a bad review? No problem. Bad reviews are great too, if the business knows how to handle them. First of all, the bad review still counts as a review and helps the ranking. But, as far as those that would read these reviews, they show that these reviews are honest and not purchased, thus making the good reviews even more believable. A smart business owner will take the opportunity to reply to the bad ones and invite the customer to seek a solution. The engagement will show their personality and make them more transparent to others.
The beauty is that you don’t need to have everyone shop the business to write the review. They can just acknowledge and thank them for the support – online! Many committee members probably already do business there and can jump on line immediately and write a review. They can also tell others about the business and encourage them to try it.
I’m telling you, this whole concept is such a no-brainer, and I don’t know why it’s not being done already. When I mention it to the local PTA members, I know the problem is that they have so much on their plates that the idea doesn’t make it out to the car. So, maybe today’s blog can help. Print it out and take it to the next board meeting. Get the fundraising goals hit and then bring me some cupcakes. – David Hevia

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Officially Speaking Rolex

The world of Rolex can seem so complicated, if not confusing, at times.  I wanted to write this blog today because it seems like we hear about customer nightmares, almost 2 a week that could have been prevented.  It usually starts with our take-in of a Rolex Servicing and it takes a bad turn when the service center calls us to let us know that some parts on the watch are counterfeit.  Informing the customer then leads towards an involved story of where and who they bought the watch from.

Newly released Rolex Stainless Steel GMT with Black/Blue Bezel

Newly released Rolex Stainless Steel GMT with Black/Blue Bezel

Rolex is the most recognized watch brand in history making it the most sought after timepiece in the market.  Who can blame anyone for making sure they don’t overspend when fulfilling one’s personal aspiration of accomplishment and success.  This is a warning for the ignorant to beware of the sleight of hand.  Don’t be fooled.  Learn how to read the label of the product.  Just like the food industry allows for every lying promise on the colorful packaging, one has to spin the can and read the ingredients.  In this case, “Official” is the mark of pedigree, and not “Authorized.”

When the Gemological Institute of American (GIA) created the Diamond Grading System, they designated the top and perfect color grade for diamonds as a D color.  They bypassed A, B, & C because they were so overused and undefined in the industry.  In the same manner and with great foresight, Rolex decided years ago that the term for a retailer that distributes timepieces directly from Rolex would be “Official,” and that designation is fully “Official Rolex Jeweler.”  They purposely stayed away from the term “Authorized” due to its misuse in the market place.

A quick Google search for the incorrect label of “Authorized Rolex Jeweler” & “horror stories” will provide a quick lesson of patrons assuming they were dealing with a business that professionally represented the watchmaker’s brand and service ethos.  The point being that almost anyone can say they are “authorized,” as in “my wife says I’m authorized to write blogs.”  Some even go so far to explain that they are not an Official Rolex Jeweler, but that they have the “in” due to distribution channels, a flooded market, their buying power, yada yada yada.  It’s the yada believers that usually end up out on the limb.   And, there are so many limbs to be out on.

Common sense would tell you that an Official Rolex Jeweler, having a true wholesale account, would be the person in the best position to get product, provide value, guarantee authenticity, pedigree, and provide service.  If for no other reason, they would do this so they would continue to maintain their status.  But let’s say someone is more interested in one of those deals to save a few dollars; let’s look at some of the problems that may arise.

  • Non-Rolex Parts – Rolex standards require that every part of a Rolex watch must be authentic for the watch to be.  In other words, one after-market spring in the works, and oops – the watch is disowned by papa.  This can happen several ways, but usually from not going through the proper channel previously.  These repairs, when all parts have to be replaced with authentic, can be very expensive.   Rolex will not do the repair otherwise, leaving this watch an orphan.
  • On the Hot List – When Rolex timepieces go to Rolex, the serial number is checked against stolen goods reports from all over the country.  Not only can a watch be confiscated, the owner can end up having to answer some uncomfortable questions.
  • Counterfeit – It’s not always an entire watch, sometimes just the band is counterfeit, but regardless, that is lost money paid for something that isn’t real.

You can see how, very quickly, a few hundred dollars saved can become thousands lost.

The only way to protect one’s self is to deal with an Official Rolex Jeweler.   There is only one way to find out who that is.  Go to the Rolex website, www.Rolex.com, and click on the Retailer Locator.  For Florida, and Lutz, that’s us –  http://www.rolex.com/rolex-dealers/dealers-locator/unitedstates/florida/lutz.  And if not us, officially, be advised.  If the jeweler isn’t on the site, then they aren’t affiliated with Rolex.  You are authorized to make your own choices, good or bad, from that point on.

Things to Know about Halos

It was important for me to catch your attention because I am concerned that there are so many uninformed wearers of halos nowadays.  You might think that I’m using a cheeky tongue, but I’m being totally frank.  Rest assured, I’m not referring to the shiny halos atop the good Samaritans.  This matter is of the engaging type and rings of possible disenchantment.  The topic I am addressing is the halo style of engagement ring, most often designed with micro-pave’  construction.

The current fashion trends has practically every bride, and informed groom, asking for the Halo engagement ring.  This is where the center diamond is encircled with a tight line of tiny diamonds.  There is no gap between the diamond and it’s caressing chorus of side stones.  But, the operative word above is tiny.  Today’s metal prices along with ever-rising diamond prices has the marketplace competing for the big look at the small dollar.  The other factor is that this is one case where technology may have surpassed common sense.  You know, just because something can be done, doesn’t mean it should.

Technology first led to the ability to cut smaller and smaller diamonds.  In the 1980′s, a 1 point diamond (that’s jeweler talk for 1/100th of a carat) was the tiniest being cut and used. Then, diamond-cutting machines introduced the 1/2 pointer, and now, along with the miniscule 1/4 pointer, they are a large part of the bridal industry.  CAD/CAM, Computer-aided Design and Manufacturing, is the next ingredient, by creating drawings, casting and manufacturing in such detail – beyond the ability of a jewelers hands and even the average jeweler’s eyesight – the result of which is known in the jewelry industry as micro-pave’.  Pave’ is pronounced pah-vay and is a french word that describes “being paved” – in diamonds!  Most the halo styles today use the same type of construction for the main halo and then also have other side micro-pave’ set diamonds as part of the design trend.

So, where am I going with all this?  You see, these tiny diamonds, well . . guess what holds them in?  Even tinier – tinier than the diamond – prongs.  It all looks great when it’s new, but then, the wrong knock here and some wear there, and those micro-prongs will be gone, as will that small diamond it was holding.  Heck, it’s not uncommon for a jeweler to have diamonds come out during a brand new ring’s first sizing as a result of the small degree of bending.  They get reset, of course, and tightened, and the happy new ring is ready for the proposal.

I hate to say something is a problem.  Micro-pave’, in itself, is not a problem.  So stop holding your breath if you currently own one, especially from us, since ours all have a warranty.  But, just like consumers should be informed of the maintenance difference between white gold and platinum, the problem is when brides choose “look” over “what’s best” for their life-style and wear. So, micro-pave’ isn’t for everyone, especially if you are one of those 24/7 ring-wearers and might put your ring through some scraps.  However, if you are the dainty one who also puts the ring on with gentle care for graceful use (okay, let’s say you don’t garden in your ring), then you might be a good match.

I don’t know any bride that enjoys having her ring spend more time at the jewelry store than on her finger.  Also, I absolutely hate being that jewelery store.  More than that, I have a true heart for the importance of that ring in a couple’s life.  A jeweler should strive to guide a couple to find the best ring that will make them happy for the long run.  That is why I want to get the word out.  Not all rings are alike, and not all micro-pave’ or halo styles are either.  But, if your jeweler doesn’t engage you in a discussion of your lifestyle, budget, and also educate you on your selection, then please be proactive and ask.  I’m sure some brides that are passionate about the halo style, and plan to stick with it, would also be happy to learn how to wear it properly.  Beware the lower priced styles and the great online prices because the main way to cut cost is to cut metal.  Talk to your jeweler and find out why there is a difference.  There are lots of great rings styles to choose from and the halo is a hot fashion.  Micro-pave’ is never leaving, however, since it serves the purpose of blinging for less.  So, if you do choose it, and also go with halo, just be sure to know these things about your halo.  – by David Hevia (david@kvjewels.com)

Buyer Beware

While on a cruise last summer my wife and I were browsing through the jewelry shop on the ship, looking for those “fantastic values” we are told are available on cruises.  Call it professional curiosity or just plain being nosey, but I found myself listening in on one of the sales associate’s sales presentations.  Throughout the presentation she kept referring to the item she was attempting to sell as a blue diamond.  Well, yes it was a diamond; and yes it was blue.   The missing ingredient to her presentation was the word “color enhanced.” In fact, at no time did she inform her customer that the diamond had been color enhanced.  What’s the difference you ask, a cost to you of more than $100,000 per carat.  But, that’s not the point to my story.  It is one of disclosure.

Buyer Beware

When purchasing diamonds and gemstones these are a just a few terms you, as an informed buyer, need to know:

  • Natural:  Gems that are created in nature without outside influences.
  • Simulated:  Simply stated, simulated gems are imitations. They may be made out of glass, plastic, or any other material other than the actual gemstone.
  • Synthetic:  Gems that are created identical to natural gems in almost every way.  They are formed from the basic crystal structure, have the same refractive index, same chemical composition, and so on.  Lab grown gems are examples of synthetic gems.
  • Color enhanced:  Natural gems that have been treated after their formation to enhance the intensity of the gems color.  There are several methods of accomplishing this.  Radiation and subjecting the gems to extreme heat and pressure are two examples.  This is not an uncommon practice used on colored gemstones.

Do not let me mislead you, there is nothing wrong with purchasing simulated, synthetic, or color enhanced gems.  These gems are perfectly acceptable and widely sold by your local jeweler.  It’s just important that you are aware of what you are purchasing.  Don’t rely on the sales associate to offer this information.   Ask the question.

Les Dawson

Baselworld 2013 – Discover the new Watches!

GMT II

At BASELWORLD 2013, Rolex is introducing a new version of the Oyster Perpetual GMT-MASTER II in 904L steel, with a rotatable bezel featuring for the first time a two-colour ceramic CERACHROM bezel insert in blue and black representing day and night.                                                                                                 

GMT II

A new version of the Oyster Perpetual YACHT-MASTER II. Rolex’s revolutionary regatta chronograph, launched in 2007, is available for the first time in 904L steel, fitted with a CERACHROM bezel insert in blue ceramic. 

 

Daytona

A new prestigious version of the Oyster Perpetual COSMOGRAPH DAYTONA, the emblematic model launched in 1963, exactly 50 years ago this year. This legendary chronograph is proposed, for the first time, entirely in 950 platinum, the noblest of precious metals. It is equipped with a chestnut brown monobloc CERACHROM bezel in ceramic and an ice blue dial.