Full Circle: Cecil’s Fine Jewelry

Cecil’s Fine Jewelry is a must-see destination in Little Rock, AR if you’re looking for a curated selection of fine jewelry, from wedding rings to fashion pieces.

Mother-daughter duo Becky and Erin Whelan understand that jewelry is meaningful for any occasion and any age, and they use their combined tastes and prospective to carefully curate the perfect collection for their store.

We caught up with Erin to learn more about her journey in the jewelry industry, how Cecil’s makes customers feel at home, top-selling trends, what she’s looking forward to at Luxury 2019 and much more.

What is your background in the jewelry industry and how did you get your start?
My mother was an interior designer for 40 plus years. When the furniture industry started to decline, she got a job with her current jeweler part-time. She ended up purchasing the store from him several years later. I eventually came to work for her 6 years after that. I had never been in the jewelry industry or sales, so it was a giant leap for me. I am now the sales manager and have been with the company for 11 years.

How would you describe your store using only three words?
Comfortable, unique, boutique.

Can you give us a glimpse into your process when purchasing pieces to include in your store collection and your decision-making strategies?
My mother and I work well buying together. Being from two different age groups, we tend to cover all of the different styles unique to different types of women.

Are there any particular stones, hues, or styles you are partial to and prefer to carry more of in the store?
Diamond has always been our bread and butter and best seller. We have done really well with Hearts on Fire this year. We have some beautiful branded lines that specialize in unique color, as well.

What are the trends you’ve noticed have been selling particularly well?
Yellow gold in fashion is doing well at our store this year.

What do you do to make customers’ visits memorable?
We have a grand piano in the center of our store, which adds a romantic air to bridal shopping when our pianist is here. We have fresh flowers, homemade cookies and candles burning to add the homey feel. I have been told that people feel comfortable and at home when they get here.

Do you do any special events? If so, what kind?
We focus on trunk shows with specific lines such as Marco Bicego and Alex Sepkus to name a couple. The pieces are so unique and the customers love the jewelry. We have learned that we are a day time show store. Nighttime events have not seemed to click here.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your business?
To never judge a book by its cover. I cannot tell you how many customers we have gained just by treating people with respect. We take a not so favorable experience at another store and turn them into loyal customers. I try and treat everyone the same whether it’s a complimentary cleaning or a $40,000 bridal sale.

What is one piece of advice you would give someone who is just starting out in the industry?
To be open to advice from people in the business and to stick with brands that will be loyal to you.

What was your favorite part about Luxury 2018?
I always enjoy seeing the newness. It always amazes me to witness all the creativity!

What types of pieces/collections will you be looking for at Luxury 2019?
I am always looking for fabulous one-of-a-kind pieces, but I always have my eye out for wearable, everyday, self-purchase pieces for women! I am excited to be at The Venetian. This is my first year there!

Which trends do you expect to see a lot of at the show this year?
I saw a lot of layered looks with texture at the show earlier this year. I am hoping it carries through to Luxury!

What are you most looking forward to at Luxury 2019?
Seeing all of my vendors/friends and getting to play with all of the beautiful pieces. I like walking the floor and just taking it all in.

What are you most looking forward to at Luxury 2019?
Seeing all of my vendors/friends and getting to play with all of the beautiful pieces. I like walking the floor and just taking it all in.

Any fun plans in Las Vegas off of the show floor?
I feel like I’m not a lot of fun when I’m in Vegas. I feel like I’m going 100 mph all day, so I’m exhausted at night. I hope to see Lady Gaga while I’m there and I’m flying my boyfriend out the last couple of days, so I hope I can experience Vegas!

Learn more about Cecil’s Fine Jewelry here.

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