Full Circle with Trey Bailey of Bailey’s Fine Jewelry

If you live anywhere near Raleigh, NC, chances are you’ve heard of Bailey’s. The “Bailey Box” is locally famous, thanks to clever advertising and marketing tie-ins throughout the city. From local college football games to radio commercials, Bailey’s is there. Their slogan, “every woman wants a Bailey Box,” is well known by many. (I speak from experience, calling Raleigh home myself.)

Actually, Bailey’s fame extends well beyond Raleigh. Though there are two locations in North Carolina’s capital, there are stores in Greenville and Rocky Mount, NC, too In fact, the very first Bailey’s store opened in 1948 in Rocky Mount.

It was exciting for me to get to ask Trey Bailey, director of operations for Bailey’s Fine Jewelry, a few questions. Take it away, Trey.

I’m from Raleigh, so I’m quite familiar with the Bailey Box! How did this concept come to be, and when did you first notice its success?

Trey Bailey: We actually have our incredible patrons to thank for the Bailey Box concept. At a Christmas party a few decades ago, my dad overheard some women talking. They mentioned how “every woman wants a Bailey Box under the tree,” and that began the tradition. From that point on, it’s been a huge part of our identity—it’s our web address and the way we wrap a patron’s purchase, but it’s also how many people identify us. Even someone who doesn’t shop for jewelry will often recognize the iconic Bailey Box. It’s just as important as our store’s name to us.

For those unfamiliar with the Bailey Box, can you explain how you feature it? My father-in-law noted that he sees it frequently at NC State football games.

TB: Yes! As I mentioned, the Bailey Box is a part of everything we do. In addition to being a huge part of our branding and being featured in all of our advertising, it represents something bigger to us. It’s vital to our company that the Bailey Box also stands for community involvement and a genuine care for our patrons. You mentioned NC State football games—that’s one really fun thing that we do. Each fall, we host “Digging for Diamonds” at local college football games. It’s an on-field contest where two couples race to find a $10,000 diamond ring among decoy Bailey Boxes. Whichever couple finds the ring first keeps it!

Another way we utilize the Bailey Box is through something we call “Finders Keepers.” Our team members scatter Bailey Boxes around Raleigh, Rocky Mount, and Greenville, where our stores are located. The boxes contain gifts that range in value from $25 up to $3,000! When someone finds one of the boxes, there is a note explaining that the gift is his or hers, no strings attached. It’s a fun way for us to brighten someone’s day!

I’ve noticed that you sell a limited amount of product online. What are your thoughts on e-tail, and how have you seen online sales perform?

TB: The jewelry business is a competitive industry, especially as e-commerce sites have become more and more popular. We are fortunate that most people still want to see and touch fine jewelry before they buy it. What differentiates Bailey’s from those e-commerce sites and other jewelers is a dedication to quality and customer service. While we have a small e-commerce portion of our website, our four brick-and-mortar stores are our bread and butter and always will be. The in-person experience is truly what makes Bailey’s Bailey’s. It’s often difficult to tell the true quality of an engagement ring online. Coming into the store, being able to try it on, seeing other options, and imagining the future that ring signifies are what makes the in-person experience so important when buying an engagement ring.

You carry both big-name, international brands and independent designers. How do you select what to carry in your store?

TB: For us, it’s about balance. We are always open to opportunities and want to carry the big-name, international brands that our patrons know and love. At the same time, we want to stay small and keep the personal, family touch. Working with independent designers is a part of that. At the end of the day, we want to provide the best possible shopping experience. While our varied inventory is a huge part of this, providing our patrons with unmatched customer service, the Bailey’s Extraordinary Experience, will always be our number one goal and priority.

What are you most looking forward to at LUXURY/JCK Las Vegas this year?

TB: Even though it’s important for us to provide the small feel and customer service experience of a family-owned business, it’s also important for us to stay on top of trends in the jewelry industry—to truly be experts in our field. We pride ourselves on using state-of-the-art technology and techniques that most other companies haven’t adopted yet. We always want to be ahead of the curve and we want to be the place people come to create their dream pieces or repair something other places cannot. The JCK LUXURY show provides us with a great opportunity to expand our knowledge and also to network with some of the best in the business. It’s going to be a blast!

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