This is the first post in a series we’re calling “Retailer Corner”. Ritani works with almost 200 local jewelry stores across the United States and Canada to provide a fully integrated jewelry shopping experience. In this series, we will be interviewing some of our local jeweler partners about their stores, their history, and trends in their area. In the first edition of our Retailer Corner, we will be interviewing Craig Rottenberg, President of Long’s Jewelers. Founded in the late 19th century, Long’s now has 5 locations all over Massachusetts – Boston, Natick, Peabody, Burlington, and Braintree.
Tell me about yourself and Long’s Jewelers.
Long’s is almost 140 years old, founded in 1878, and is one of the oldest jewelers in the country. I grew up in the industry and have had a strong presence at Long’s over the past 10 years.
I understand you haven’t always been in the jewelry business. What lessons did you learn outside the business that you have been able to apply?
That’s true. I worked in Finance for a while and was fortunate enough to work closely with companies in all different industries. What struck me about retail jewelry business was that it was an incredibly traditional and relationship-orientated business, all the way from supplier to retailers to customers. Service is really the greatest differentiator.
When I attended MIT’s Masters Program, I learned that there is a real opportunity to apply technology in all aspects of the business like merchandising, assortment planning, and marketing.
How do you feel today’s jewelry consumer is changing or is different from past generations? How did you adapt your business to cater to today’s consumer?
Today’s consumer is incredibly savvy. And the amount of information that is available through the Internet is extraordinary. People used to have to go to the store to get an idea of selection, quality and options. Now they can do 95% of the work remotely.
This is why Long’s focuses on producing amazing content. We want to position ourselves as experts with a focus on great quality and value for our customers.
How do you keep your business fresh and technologically innovative while being an historic institution?
There’s always a fine line between the two. We strive to be contemporary while staying true to our traditional routes. Whether it’s how we use technology to keep in touch with our customers, to changing our website practically every day – technology touches everything we do.
What is the biggest or most common mistake you see men making while they are shopping for or purchasing an engagement ring?
The most common mistake I see is that men don’t trust their instincts. By the time that he’s ready to propose, he knows her really, really well. With a little bit of guidance, he can make his own decision about what ring will make her happy.
What advice would you give someone buying an engagement ring and starting from scratch?
There is a lot of information out there and a lot of different opinions that men get when they go to buy the ring. It can be overwhelming and hard to know who to listen to. That’s why we’ve created a really easy-to-follow “rookie’s guide” to buying an engagement ring.
It’s so important to become educated before deciding on a ring, because it’s a big financial decision. Seek out information from credible sources before you step foot in a store.
What are the jewelry and engagement ring trends you see in Massachusetts? New England as a whole?
New Englanders love classic, timeless styles. Always have and always will. As the economy has improved, people are willing to spend more on quality, size, platinum, etc. But, the most popular style has been and continues to be a classic engagement ring.
Which Ritani engagement and wedding rings are the most popular at Long’s?
Our most popular engagement rings fall into 2 categories. The first is the simple solitaires, which have always been a classic style and are a great price point from Ritani. The second is the basic halo settings for all shapes because halos are still going strong!
What do you do to get Long’s involved in the community?
We support as many local charities that we can. Some of our biggest efforts involve some local health institutions, cancer research, etc. We also expect each of our stores to have a presence in their own local community.
Tell us more about the Summer Wedding Band event you hold each year. What inspired you to create this event, and how has it been a success for Long’s?
Twice a year we have this event focused exclusively on wedding bands. It’s been a very successful series of events for us and allows us to showcase an amazing selection of wedding bands to both existing customers and people that bought their engagement rings elsewhere.
Tell us 3 things you love about Long’s, that your potential customers should love, too.
- Our passionate staff.
- We have the best selection in the area.
- Our relentless drive to make customers happy.
What do you like most about your partnership with Ritani?
We really enjoy taking part in a true cutting-edge partnership that gives customers complete flexibility in choosing product and delivery method that works for them. We’ve had free in-store preview customers start with the Ritani website but then have become regular Long’s customers and have purchased their wedding bands and bridal party gifts directly in our store.
Are you a New Englander who loves jewelry and stays on-trend? Post your jewelry from Long’s, any trends you’ve seen in the area, or additional questions for Craig in the comments below!