Koehn & Koehn Jewelry, West Bend, Wisconsin
the angel: Andy and Jane Cohn; was established: “God knows best. 1930s?”; Featured Site Opened: 1977; Renovated: 2010 and 2021; Architectural and design firms: Interior designs for creative works. employees: 5 full-time 1 part-time space: Showroom 1,760 square feet; total 4,000 square feet; top brands: Hearts on Fire, Noam Carver, A.; Jaffe, Anna Beck, John Hardy, Tacory; Network presence: 218 4.9 Google Reviews; 2,196 followers on Instagram
KOEHN & KOEHN is a rock party for jewelry stores.
Music can be heard in the parking lot, ripped jeans and leather jackets are appropriate clothing, you can buy a souvenir T-shirt with “Rock Your World” written on it, and there’s also a taco truck on site. They have a set of pre-made diamond engagement rings which the customer dubbed “Ready to Rock”.
“The way we dress and the kind of music we play, we try to make it as comfortable as possible for the guys coming in,” says Jane Cohn, who owns the venue with her husband, Andy.
Andy says their audience can tell from social media that they are not your typical jeweler. “Our vibe doesn’t match everyone, and everyone doesn’t match ours. A woman said she came here because there was a lot of unexpected humor on the site.” Another couple said they knew from an internet search that they had found their “place”.
The ambiance inside the store includes an extensive soundtrack which is certainly not an afterthought, but the result of painstaking deliberation.
“We always struggle for it,” Jane says. “He likes the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, and he’s very picky; he doesn’t like scaling. And I like old country music, Willie Nelson, some new country, and we introduce a little Beastie.
The Boys and Foo Fighters. They asked customers to make inputs to coordinate a Spotify music list. Andy sits at the board for a group called Home Grown Music, which supports local musicians and songwriters.
Koehn & Koehn is one of the only companies in town that has a food truck permit. They recently updated the interior, adding a bar and lounge area with a brick wall and yellow sofa.
“People get so comfortable going in, they’ll take a taco and get in,” Andy says. The conversation begins with joking and icebreaking. “We don’t get into the sales process properly, we don’t talk about politics. We might talk about packages.” Salespeople are adept at keeping things light and cracking a joke once in a while.
Jane is in charge of the back-end operations at home and Andy is in the lead. “I’m basically a salesperson and employee coach, and sometimes, I’m the welcome,” Andy says. “I spend a lot of time on the sales floor. I like to protect the audience and then turn it over to a salesperson and then be there. We call ourselves a band, and I’m kind of the lead singer and Jane is the band manager, the person with the idea. But sometimes, I have to. Jen will be on stage as well, and be a do-wop singer.
“It’s eclectic, but in a way everything we do is tied together into a theme that says, ‘We’re not the same age, the same age.’ People can see that there is something different about us from the moment they see the contrasting angles on the outside and then they find a cohesive, clean feel. And open and energetic as they walk in. It’s unexpected at first sight, and it continues through with a way of interacting with our customers.”
Also unexpected is the offbeat store signage, which reads, “People will stare. Make it worth their time” and “Definitely not everyone was a kung fu fighter.”
“Kung fu fighting makes people laugh,” Jin says. “They love it, they just love it,” Andy says.
60 to 70 percent of their visitors are looking for wedding and engagement jewelry, and most of the rest are in the diamond fashion market. There is also a small but growing group of self-buying women who desire fashion jewelry. Generally, buyers themselves buy jewelry in the $50-$100 range made by local designers, but sometimes purchases include expensive John Hardy or Anna Beck pieces.
Andy and Jane have been together for over 10 years. The secret to their working relationship is to stay in their aisles. “I know his lane is sales and training,” Jen says. “This is his forte, so he stays out of his lane, and he has to get out of my path.”
The Cohns refer to their employees as “free domain,” which means they are free to let their individual styles shine through and be their authentic selves. “We’re emulating garage teams in this respect,” Andy says. “Great equipment, cohesive bandmates who know their role, and deliver when it’s time for the show. We have a loose structure that leaves room for improvement on our partners’ side, but there is enough structure for on-time delivery.”
Andy says hiring independent people and trusting their judgment benefits the client, the business and the owners. “If they walk into a place they don’t know the answer to, the rest of us will be there to collaborate with the client,” he says. “We definitely trust our team, and they trust that we won’t go crazy if they make a mistake. People are basically smart and want to do a good job.”
Although the store is currently understaffed, the team collaborates on schedules that allow for family functions or childcare obligations. “We understand that family has to come first,” Jane says.
COVID concerns led to shorter hours which were then expanded slightly in December. Now closed on Sundays and Mondays, they are open 10:30-5:30 weekdays and 10am-3pm on Saturdays. We recently added four hours to the week.
But again, with such a small group of people, this is difficult. One of the things COVID has taught us is that the days when it’s just having hours in the showroom are a little taxing and maybe not the gains you might expect. Sitting and waiting is a burden.”
Therefore, they encourage appointments and more conversations via social media and email to narrow down what customers are looking for, making in-store appointments more efficient. “When they come to the appointment, it’s almost like a formality; they want to see and meet you before they pull the trigger,” Andy says. “I love it. We are more efficient when we are here, and more present with our customers as a result. The level of service has gone up, even though our hours have gone down.”
Andy’s grandfather, Walter Cohn, was in the seventh grade when he dropped out of school and found a job as a watchmaker’s apprentice at a small jewelry store in Milwaukee in the 1930s because his family needed money. Walter stayed in business, opening his first store in West Bend, Wisconsin, where his son Jack joined as a partner when he returned from the Korean War. That’s when the business became Koehn & Koehn.
“My grandfather and dad got us to a point, but I wanted a great little oasis out of the store,” Andy says. “The Koehn & Koehn today is open, new, hosting many world-famous brands, but most importantly, a family business with a soul. My wife Jane is the other name on the banner now, and it’s a very killer collaboration.”
Five great things about Koehn & Koehn مجوهرات Jewelry
1. Marketing message. “We do it on our own,” Andy says. “Why is that cool? Because our voice is our voice and we own it. We’ve tried to market the companies. Not ours. They don’t work here, so they can’t tell what it really looks like. That’s why we hired someone who works on social media full time. They work alongside us. And you know the exercises. That comes through our marketing messages.”
2. The case of laboratory-grown diamonds. “It’s part of every discussion we have now,” Andy says. “My opinion is that it really has to do with how you feel or resonate with clients. I tell people to go with their gut because whether it’s natural or laboratory-based, it’s a symbol, and it’s between the two people and whatever they want to communicate to the world. I have my personal belief in what I’m going to do, but it’s up to you. Yours. Don’t let my prejudice affect you.”
3. Diamonds to go. “Ready to rock” engagement rings are pre-made and available in five different sizes and price points.
4. Buy like a man. Andy Cohn started a blog of casual, unconventional wisdom that has evolved into a series of YouTube videos. One recent episode features guys tasting bourbon and talking about what they want to know about rings: How do you budget? How do you decide? When do you buy it? “I wanted to know what they had in mind when they walked in through my door,” Andy says. “Personally, I really like when someone, a beginner, usually a young guy, comes along and says, ‘I like the Buy Like a Guy stuff. “
5. On the calendar. Events range from the annual Ladies’ Night to wedding band fairs and fundraisers for non-profit organizations. “We put on a really good show,” Andy says of Ladies’ Night. “Not extravagant, but just a great thing for bonding with people.” Most events are by personal invitation. “Pure digital, pure, and purely set,” Andy says of wedding band fairs, which include rare price cuts.
Photo Gallery (18 pics)
- Michael O’Connor: I love the fun way the store seems to go on everything from the décor store website to marketing materials.
- Ruth Millergaard: This is a friendly, community-oriented store with great brands. What do you not like? I love the building!
- Jennifer Shaheen: Authentic, real. This story feels like home with so few touches that I wanted to take a trip to their actual store. They don’t follow what others do. Really cute and real.
- Jeff Brin: Excellent ability to create a friendly and welcoming presence in store and online. Great use of love stories on the site and elsewhere. They have created a distinctive shop sound.
- Hugo Cole: Great story, good website design.
try this: Analyze and make mistakes.
“Try the things that don’t work perfectly and be prepared for the unexpected that comes from the little ‘pants management bench’,” Andy says. “The structure is outdated for the time it is in place, so I cut the rules of the game down to a few key points. Things like “Don’t be an idiot,” “Make life easy for your customers,” “Keep your promises,” and “Don’t be afraid to tell obvious jokes.” ( And let your employees know that the words are “rolled up like the devil,” not “douche.”)