Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Few Of My Favorite Things: "Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes"

Platinum and diamond snowflake pendant (and it can be a brooch as well). $40,000.

If you have any questions about this item or would like to order please contact:

Johanan Sparks
Tiffany and Company
350 Post Street
San Francisco, CA 94108

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shop Girl's Six Insider Holiday Shopping Tips

That time of year has snuck up on all of us again. Here's a few tips of mine (based on the experience of seven holiday seasons) to help you all survive out there during the shopping madness!

1. Don't be a jerk. Be polite, kind, and patient. It's the busy season. Shops are crowded and the staff can be stressed. It is overwhelming when 10+ people are staring at you & waiting to be helped, with phones ringing off the hook. A friendly smile and "Good afternoon!" can help. Remember also, it can be hard to keep track of who was waiting to be helped next. Helping us out and being honest about who's been waiting the longest is always appreciated.

2. Have specifics. What are you looking for? If someone comes up to me and says they want to see every item we have $300 and under, it's just not possible to show them everything, as 90% of the items in my department are in that price range. I always recommend going to the website first and doing a little research of your own. Often you can sort by price, and get a clear picture of what's available. If you do see something of interest online, print it out or snap a pic with your phone. Sometimes in all the chaos products can get combined in your mind and you may come in convinced you saw something that doesn't exist. If you know that you're looking for a specific product like a bracelet, have a style in mind. Do you want something chunky, delicate, flexible, rigid, dressy, casual, everyday, silver, gold, platinum, modern, classic, unique? Is there a specific designer that the person you are shopping for likes? For example, look how much I have to work with if you say:

"I'm looking for a bracelet she can wear everyday, yet will also pass for dressy. She doesn't like gold. Nothing heavy because she does a lot of typing at her job. Her taste is modern and she has a few pieces by Frank Gehry already. I'm hoping to stay around the $500 price range. What can you suggest?"

Compared with:

"I'm looking for a bracelet $500 or less. What do you have?"

3. Don't wait until the last minute. Lack of planning on your part does not necessitate an emergency on the part of the sales associate. Most sales associates are happy to assist, but if you come into a store looking for something very specific in the 11th hour and they are sold out, there's not much they can do, expect to offer up other gift ideas. Be open to suggestions. Most shops have a flexible return policy (worst case, it can be exchanged).

4. Holiday temps are temporary. Most stores hire extra associates to help during the holiday season. While this is great, and the individuals are usually very nice, sometimes they just don't have the needed product knowledge. If you anticipate that you may need someone that either has extensive product knowledge, or knows about previous products that may no longer be available (maybe you're trying to find something to match an item from a collection that you purchased 10 years ago) then it's probably best to ask for someone who's been there for a few years. It may take a little longer, but I promise you - it will be worth it. If you find someone helpful, ask for their card and find them again on your next visit.

5. Find your insider. Look for a sales person that you like and begin consistently shopping with them. They will keep track of your previous purchases, items that you were interested in last time, new product launches that may be of interest to you, and can remind you of important gifting occasions. If you have an insider who knows you and your loved ones, you can possibly skip the crowds but still get personalized service that you can't get online. (Just request that they ship your purchase to you if time permits). You may get benefits like free shipping (my favorite small way of saying thanks to my loyal customers), and invitations to exclusive events. For one of my favorite clients this year who has a long history with me, I put together a spread sheet of everyone she usually buys for, and what gifts we've done for them over the last few years. I also made a list of gifts ideas that I thought would be appropriate for specific individuals she needs to shop for. I have a great memory, and that combined with a fantastic CRM system can make holiday shopping most efficient for everyone.

6. Odd hours might lead to odd treatment. If you want great service don't go shopping at a time that you wouldn't want to be working. Just because Macy's opens at Midnight, and Old Navy is OPEN on Thanksgiving day (feels wrong to me) doesn't mean that you will find ideal service. Most employees have no choice about their schedule during the holiday season. The option of work on a holiday or get fired, doesn't set the best precedent for good service.

Add your own tips in the comments below.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Classic Revisited: Charm Bracelets

I remember my Grandmother's multiple charm bracelets, a trip down memory lane and into her life. The charm bracelet full of flags from Italy, the miniature thimble, the camera, the odd outhouse (I have no idea why she had this). What a great way to remember her past and something so personal to hand down to future generations, oddness included! Luckily Tiffany and Co. has hundreds of charms so you continue this timeless tradition for generations to come. They carry charms in Sterling Silver, Yellow Gold, Rose Gold, and Platinum with prices ranging from $65-$10,000.

Shown in the picture above:
18k Yellow Gold Saint Christopher Charm for $675
The Vintage Boat in Sterling Silver is designed by Paloma Picasso (Pablo's daughter!) $150
18k Yellow Gold and Red Enamel Lipstick Charm $900
Sterling Silver Cable Car with a Diamond Headlight (exclusive to the San Francisco location!) is $300
The Platinum, 18k Yellow Gold and Diamond 'Bird on a Rock' charm is based on the spectacular setting designed by Jean Schlumberger that the 128 Carat Tiffany Diamond is set in $7500
Sterling Silver and Enamel Cupcake and Shoe charms, both $175
18k Yellow Gold Chinese Zodiac Charms are $850, and are available in all 12 signs
The Sterling Silver Airplane charm would be the perfect gift for a friend that loves to travel! $125
LOVE Charm in White and Rose Gold with Diamonds is brand new and is a great price at $925
The Tiffany Keys come in a variety of price ranges too starting at $115. They are a great addition to a charm bracelet or they can be worn as a pendant! (In picture: Mini Platinum and Diamond Fleur de Lis $1600, Sterling Silver Heart with one Diamond $175, and 18K Yellow Gold Clover Key $1100)

Tiffany also has a large variety of charm bracelets starting from just $145.

In addition to all the themed charms available, you can always go the custom route as well. Tiffany does beautiful hand engraving, and can engrave whatever your heart desires. They can even engrave your own custom artwork if the piece allows. It can't get much more personal than that!

If you have any questions or would like to order please contact:

Johanan Sparks
Tiffany and Company
350 Post Street
San Francisco, CA 94108

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tiffany Handbags

Tiffany and Company has joined forces with Lamberton Truex and is debuting a handbag collection. It's an extensive first collection for the luxury jeweler, with 36 different styles of bags and wallets in a variety of materials, colors and price ranges.

My personal favorite is the reversible tote which comes in two sizes. The small is $395 and the large is $595. One side of the bag is suede, the other metallic leather. Both sizes come with a detachable pouch that can also be used as a clutch!

In addition to the new collection, Tiffany has revamped their current accessories collection by adding new hardware and enamel details to the card holders, passport covers, and travel jewelry cases.

To view the whole collection visit

To order contact:

Johanan Sparks
Tiffany and Company
350 Post Street
San Francisco, CA 94108