Private Jewelry Event Safety Tips For Jewelers
The way jewelers do business is changing, especially over the past 18 months, and many jewelers are finding other ways to buy and sell their pieces. One of those alternative ways is with private showings which may involve one party renting a hotel suite or other reservable space and sending invites to prospective buyers.
Some studio jewelers have been known to do these private shows or trunk shows every year at the same time, same place and sometimes hosted in conjunction with larger, more well-known events. One advantage is that instead of competing for attention at a trade show booth, customers can inspect the jewelry and chat with the maker while eating hors d’oeuvres and sipping beverages.
While these private shows are another way to pivot your business strategy to facilitate meaningful connections, you still need to be vigilant when it comes to keeping yourself and your inventory secure.
When traveling to meet a prospective business partner or private showing with a sizable amount of jewelry inventory, you’re without the typical safeguards you're used to in your store: no ultra-durable safe or vault to store merchandise, no video surveillance system to keep an eye on suspicious activity, and no alarm to alert you of danger.
What's most troubling of all is that you're in a completely different location and may not be as aware of your surroundings.
Criminals are aware of all these things and see the lack of security as the perfect opportunity to strike — especially when you're traveling by car. Recognizing countermeasures to the dangers that unattended vehicles, parking lots and driving present can greatly improve your safety when you're on the road.
Before you head out, here are some tips to keep yourself and your inventory safe and secure while traveling to and arriving at the private show.
How to Stay Safe and Secure at Jewelry Events
1. Do Your Research
Steps such as requesting and checking references, requesting identification and checking reviews online are simple but critical steps to make sure you can trust the seller. However, you can skip all these steps with the Zing® platform’s Diamond Marketplace, powered by IDEX, which allows you free and transparent access to inventory from suppliers around the globe.
We’ve done the checking and verifying for you and created an excellent online resource where you can view and purchase worry-free from trusted and verified sellers.
2. Check Your Insurance Coverage
While you should know the basics of what is covered under your insurance policy, there may be questions about what’s covered when it comes to buying scams. It’s crucial to know exactly what's covered and what isn’t so you can react quickly and take the needed action to protect your business should you fall victim to a gem or jewelry buying scam.
Make sure you’re working with an agent who is an expert in Jewelers Block policies. They'll make sure your business has enough insurance coverage to protect your inventory along with your business personal property.
3. Social Media
Avoid posting pictures and personal posts on social media outlets. Thieves following your profile and any personal information such as the hotel you are staying at, restaurant you are eating in or even the event you are participating in.
4. Plan Your Route
Before even getting in your vehicle, you should have your route planned and share it with your family or business partners.
However, you should consistently vary your route so you don't develop predictable patterns and your plans should remain confidential and close-knit. The likelihood of your plans falling into the wrong hands is higher with each additional person who knows about it.
5. Inspect Your Vehicle
Don't begin driving until you have inspected your vehicle for obvious signs of tampering. Criminals will puncture tires, cut radiator hoses, and attempt to cause other mechanical issues to slow you down so they can commit a robbery as you examine a breakdown in the middle of your route.
While you are driving, assume you are being followed. Take evasive driving techniques, such as these to determine if you are indeed a target:
- Drive slowly
- Change lanes frequently
- Before stopping, drive around the area to see if any other vehicles follow your abnormal route or if you notice suspicious activity nearby
Common Situations Unsafe for Jewelers
Use the following tips to protect yourself and your inventory in common but potentially unsafe situations.
1. Unattended Vehicles
The bottom line is to always stay with your line of inventory.
Filling up with gas? Pay at the pump. Getting something to eat? Go through the drive-through.
These may seem like simple trips where your absence from your vehicle is less than a minute, but that's more than enough time for your line to be stolen. And while a car alarm can be a useful deterrent, it does not actually stop criminal actions. It might limit the time they have before escaping unnoticed, but if they are determined to take your merchandise, a car alarm is only a small roadblock.
Obviously, that also means you should take your line with you wherever you are staying overnight.
2. Parking Lots
Parking lots can be the busiest, most distracting places on earth, or seem like the most isolated. Both situations are dangerous for jewelers.
Thieves will generally work in groups in densely populated areas, where one keeps a lookout, another attempts to distract you, and another is responsible for nabbing your line. Their ploy can be as simple as asking for directions or bumping into you and apologizing — if your line is outside your vehicle, all it takes is a few seconds of distraction for it to be gone.
If you are in a less crowded area, take the following precautions:
- Avoid multi-level garages, as they allow too many hiding places for criminals
- Before getting out of your vehicle, examine the parking lot for any suspicious activity
- Before returning to your vehicle, exchange phone numbers with the person you were just visiting and ask them to watch as you safely return to your vehicle with your line — that way they can immediately call police if you are ambushed or alert you if someone is following you after departing
3. Arriving at Your Destination
Once you arrive safely, you’ll want to make smart, safe and secure diamond and gem purchases for your inventory.
Staying vigilant and knowing how to lower your chances of vulnerability to scammers is the best way to protect yourself, your business and the customer relationships you’ve worked so hard to build.
Want to learn more on how you can keep your jewelry store safe 24/7? Read our comprehensive Jeweler Security Guide.