Posts tagged with "clientele"

Kaylynn Sanchez image for use by 360 Magazine

Kaylynn Sanchez Q×A

Kaylynn Sanchez, aka Kay Lindaa, is a talented tattoo artist based out of the Brooklyn, New York. 360 Magazine first had the pleasure of meeting Kay when she tattooed at the Bodega, our pop culture and design pop-up shop. At the event, Kay impressed all of the guests with her dazzling artistry. With over four thousand followers on her thriving Instagram, Kay is a Brooklyn tattoo artist who is quickly on the rise. She spoke with us about how she got into the tattoo industry, her participation in the Bodega, and her favorite parts of the profession.

When did you first start tattooing?

I first started professionally tattooing at the age of 19, about two years ago. But the first time I picked up a machine was about 14 years old. I always knew I wanted to be a tattoo artist at the age of 13, so ever since then I just stuck with it.

What styles do you predominantly tattoo?

I predominantly do Polynesian/tribal, anime, and black & grey realism.

Do you prefer working in black and white or color?

I prefer working in black & grey because I like the depth that it brings out in realism. It reminds me of drawing and sketching–which is something I always enjoyed doing– [I] use pencil and sketch out anything that comes to mind or inspires me.

What is your favorite part of being a tattoo artist?

The art, clientele, environment, and the satisfaction of seeing the final piece–all while making my customers happy. I would say my favorite part of being a tattoo artist is everything that it consists of.

Do you offer flash sheets of your work? Where is the best place for prospective clients to view your tattooing portfolio?

I don’t have any flash sheets made yet, but I do share all of my work on social media platforms, such as Instagram.

What was your favorite tattoo design you worked on at The Bodega?

My favorite tattoo design that I worked on at The Bodega was a 616 tattoo. It was my favorite because it was different to me and no one else had that style tattoo, so it was original.

If readers are interested in booking a tattoo appointment with you, how is the best way to do so?

The best way for anyone to book a tattoo appointment with me is to reach me through my Instagram and DM me. Or, contact me through my business card where my business phone can be reached at (332) 216-5256

Oscar Stone illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Oscar Stone LTD

By: Emily Bunn x Vaughn Lowery

Oscar Stone LTD is a family-owned jewelry firm based in the Bronx, New York. Oscar Stone sells timeless jewelry, including customizable earrings, watches, bracelets, pendants, chains, and mouth grillz, which are all created from the beginning to the end internally. Oscar’s most popular article, baguette diamond earrings, dazzle his clients with their blinding beauty. Oscar Stone recognizes the value of using durable diamonds and jewelry from the Bronx community.

While lockdown created a lull for other companies, Oscar used the downtime to bolster his burgeoning business. His reach on social media via Instagram featured Oscar to many celebrity customers, including Jojo Simmons, Young Dirty Bastard, and Kid Capri, among others. Oscar Stone‘s jewelry exudes a true dedication to his craft, which is why his extensive list of clients keeps expanding.

The last authentic district of New York, the Bronx, houses the next largest jeweler in New York. Oscar Stone LTD stands apart from other jewelers such as Jacob the Jeweler, Greenwich Street Jewelers, and Martin Busch Jewelers because of its innovative approach to bespoke jewelry and sustainable practices and inspirational dedication to their craft. Oscar’s relentless pursuit of fine diamonds and customer satisfaction during the pandemic has allowed his business to flourish more than ever. Looking to the future, Oscar aims to continue creating custom designs for his customers and grow his business to become a familiar name.

We talked with Oscar about his background in gemology, his favorite custom orders, and his business expansion plans in the Bronx.

How did you get started in making jewelry and performing gemology for Oscar Stone?

I’m a G.I.A. accredited gemologist. Basically, growing up my whole life, [my] family– aunts, uncles, cousins– we all just did jewelry. So getting the jewelry was the easy part. It’s a family trade, really; it’s one of our best-kept secrets.

How did you build your clientele when you began in the jewelry business?

I knew about jewelry; gold wasn’t something crazy new to me. It’s like all your aunts and uncles own auto repair shops–you fix a couple of the tires, do a couple of oil changes, and you just kind of figure it out by yourself. When I had my own spot, building my clientele did really start from scratch. I didn’t have any celebrities or influencers, so I just had to open up shop and see what I could do. Before I did that, I actually did go to GIA (Gemological Institute of America) diamond school. I knew that GIA offered courses for this type of stuff. I spent a couple of months educating myself–[even] just [concerning] diamonds; there’s so many things about diamonds.

Once I finished the education, I decided to really bring in some clients. I was in business for about three years, and then I just started going heavy on social media. Once I started publishing my work on social media, the followers started coming. You know, not[hing] crazy yet, but I started getting a couple thousand [followers]. That’s when the business started taking off. I started hiring friends of mine and a lot of people, [and] my staff grew from four or five people to like twenty-five people. Business exploded when I started getting people who were verified on Instagram and had 300–400,000 followers. Once I started getting those clientele, the ball really started rolling. And that’s where we are now, about a year later.

What celebrities/notable clients have you done jewelry work for?

I would say the biggest guy that I’ve done work for would be, Jojo Simmons from RUN–D.M.C. I’ve done work for Young Dirty Bastard, who is the son of Old Dirty Bastard from the Wu Tang Clan. [Regarding] household names, I’ve done guys as big as Tonio Skits and Darius D.K. [Also,] I’ve done work for [Kid] Capri.

How do you source the best diamonds/gems for jeweling?

I don’t always get the same diamonds from the same supplier. The reason is, once you start working with somebody for diamonds and you guys get comfortable, then they start sending you lesser quality parcels. A parcel is basically like a bag of diamonds, [which come in] a lot of different sizes. They should all be the same clarity, and you sort through them to see that the quality is consistent.

I can buy 50 carats of diamonds this month [or] this week, and then I’ll run out by making all the jewelry. And so, I need to reorder. If the quality starts to become inconsistent with the price that I’m paying, I’ll switch over to another diamond supplier. Most of my diamond suppliers are in India, so I’ve had to fly out there a few times and look at some parcels, look at some factories, and see how they’re all doing it.

[Or, for example,] if I have to build a watch and do it three weeks, and [clients] don’t give me enough time, I have to get [diamonds] local[ly].

What is your favorite jewelry design you sell?

My favorite designs [are] always the custom pieces I make. I always love doing custom work, I just love like how intricate they are. I just did a piece for a client of mine–it’s this huge custom piece that spins when you spin it. I’ve had the most fun working on it, that’s my favorite piece right now. I’m working on another one that might top it, but we’re gonna keep it under wraps for now.

What is your jewelry specialty?

My signature I would say is the baguette earrings, that’s what most people know me for. Out of all my followers, I would say 20,000 of them might have been from the baguette earrings.

I do really, really good with the baguette diamond earrings that are on my website. I could sell as many as 20 pairs a day. A lot of people [who] are from out of state buy that. A lot of people [come] in store as well. The baguette diamonds are just such a popular thing for me right now. I have to make hundreds and hundreds of pairs just to keep up with demand.

What is the most popular order you receive from clients?

The baguette diamonds are just like something you really don’t see out of New York. And so, people love them. It’s also my bread and butter…It’s gonna go, it’s gonna sell, and sell classic.

What’s next for you?

I’m going to be moving to another location on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx–I’m true to the Bronx, I don’t wanna leave the Bronx. So, I’m moving to a store that is down the block from me. It has three times the retail space, and a basement attached to it. I’ll be able to really put a factory down there. As long as the people keep loving my jewelry and what I do, I’m going to keep delivering the best I can. To do that, and to give the best prices, you need to do things in-house. I’m going to have a 1500 sq ft basement where I’ll be able to put ten diamond setters down there and set diamonds all day. The second floor will be an office to do all the online [work]. On the floor-level will be retail and the showroom, so people who want to see things in-person, I can show them right there. That is my short-term goal in the next one or two years. Long term, I want to be a household name, but one thing at a time.

Photo Credit:  Anthony Duque

Oscar Stone LTD Baguette Diamond Earrings

Winning Loyalty Programs

Research shows increasing your customer retention rate by five percent has the potential to increase your profit by up to 95 percent. With the potential for a payoff like that out there, it’s absolutely imperative to consider as many ways as possible to hold on to your existing customer base. A proven method of accomplishing this is rewarding repeat customers with special offers in an effort to strengthen your relationship with them. Here are a few examples of winning loyalty programs to consider.

Make Points of Purchases
Perhaps the most common loyalty program, point systems entice customers to make a set number of purchases to earn a valuable reward. The key here is to make it easy as possible. Southwest Airlines had one of the simplest point programs ever devised by an airline. For every 10 flights you took with the airline during a calendar year, you got one free. Take 20 you got two, take 30 you got three, 40 got you four and so on. Easy to understand and easy to redeem it was one of the all time great frequent flyer programs. You can follow the airline’s lead for your ebook store. For every 10 books a customer buys in a year, they get one free. The key is simplicity. People got very upset when Southwest switched to a more complicated program.

No Fears of Tiers
As you’re strategizing ideas for how to sell an ebook online, consider instituting a program in which rewards become more valuable as your customers move farther up the food chain. Let 10 purchases get a customer a relatively inexpensive gift, while 30 garners them a better gift and 50 earns an even more valuable one. You can assign level designations as they make more purchases too. Purchasing 10 items within a certain time period qualifies them for “Silver Status”. Buying 30 makes them “Gold” while 50 turns them “Platinum”. Along with gifts can come ever more desirable perks as customers reach the upper tiers. These can include benefits such as chats with authors, sneak previews of new titles and opportunities to purchase new ebooks before they’re published.

It Pays to Play
Subscriptions and memberships are excellent ways to reward loyalty and get customers to make purchases in advance. Plus, they get a feeling of importance because they belong to your site’s VIP group. Wineries have been doing this with wine clubs for years. Similarly, the Amazon Prime strategy rewards users with fee two-day shipping; free streaming videos and a host of other benefits non-members don’t get. Remarkably, providing Prime benefits costs Amazon more than it makes in fees for them, but it serves as a loss leader. The company loses money on Prime memberships, but more than makes up on the purchases its Prime members make.

A Coalition of the Willing
By partnering with other merchants, you can allow your customers to earn discounts on other products and vice versa. This gives them the ability to turn their book purchases into currency on sites offering other things in which they have interests. Getting to know your clientele will serve you well as you determine what partnerships will be most beneficial. If your site caters primarily to a female shopper, then teaming with other sites offering products in which women are most likely to have an interest can be quite successful. The key is building a willing coalition of partners to which your customer base can relate.

These are the four examples of winning loyalty programs are the most common you’ll find. Of course, there are a number of ways within each category to incorporate your own nuances. This will make it uniquely your own and ideally make participating even more attractive to your ideal customer.