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Manchester Jeweler Offers “Gems of Knowledge” on YouTube
 
Published Friday, September 15, 2017
by SCOTT MURPHY

Passersby on Elm Street in Manchester will likely see Bellman Jewelers as just that—a family-owned manufacturer and retailer of jewelry operating in New England since 1981. But those who venture further into the store will discover a video production studio designed and built by President and CEO David Bellman. He and two co-hosts use the space to produce Gems of Knowledge, a weekly talk show that Bellman views as an affordable and effective tool for marketing his business and educating viewers on various jewelry-related topics.

Bellman has regularly sought new business ventures throughout his nearly 40-year career in the jewelry industry. He launched AquaSonic Corp. in 1993 to manufacture his invention the AquaSonic Wave, a jewelry cleaning system that uses the steam, hot water and soap from home dishwashers. In 2002, Bellman created Cool School University for the store’s website, a free online course which educates consumers on the diamond grading system. And, a few years ago, he partnered with Manchester-based digital marketing firm Scorzi to turn the course into a video series available on YouTube.

Bellman says he was instantly hooked by YouTube’s potential for sharing his jewelry experience. He began mapping out the framework for Gems of Knowledge and invested about $75,000 in building and equipping a production studio onsite. He says building a similar setup a decade ago would have cost closer to $2 million except that newer video and sound equipment has allowed more people to affordable higher quality technology.

“A lot of other hobbies are covered on YouTube, but I found that jewelry was a niche area that hadn’t really been developed,” says Bellman. “Jewelry is a $70 billion industry, so why not tap into that market? We’ve invested relatively little but can very easily produce CNN-quality videos that teach people more about what they’re buying.”

A new episode of Gems of Knowledge is uploaded every Sunday at 12:30, with topics including buying and selling new and antique jewelry, industry news and trends, celebrity fashion and more. The show is hosted by Bellman, co-hosted by Bellman Jeweler employees, Justin Krall and Rachel Putney, and engineered by Howard Fohlin, creative/interactive director at Millennium Integrated Marketing in Manchester. Bellman says they rely on an outline instead of a script and aim to produce a half-hour episode, though some episodes run for up to 45 minutes or longer.

Since launching on YouTube in late March, Gems of Knowledge has gained about 60 subscribers and 1,500 views, which Bellman is trying to grow slowly through his own social media channels and through a partnership with NH1 News in Concord. Every episode re-airs as a “live” video on NH1’s Facebook page on Wednesdays at 7 and receives between 4,000 and 6,000 views. To garner a similar audience through Facebook advertising and paid post reach, Bellman says he would have to pay the platform almost 10 times what he’s paying NH1.

The cost savings on advertising was one of the main reasons Bellman latched onto YouTube. “Except for the equipment layout, everything is free, and it’s on YouTube forever,” says Bellman. “With Facebook advertising, it feels like you’re putting hundreds out there without getting much in return.”

Beyond affordability, Bellman sees YouTube and social media as the future of reaching new audiences, particularly millennials. Since millennials often opt out of paying for cable in favor of cheaper online streaming platforms, Bellman says it’s crucial to adapt to their preferences.

That includes covering topics that address millennial interests. For example, Bellman says that while 95 percent of millennials are still buying diamond engagement rings, they want to design a ring with unique features that relate to their fiancé.

“People used to pick out a diamond and a setting from stock and call it a day, but now we’ll usually end up showing several different styles of mountings” says Bellman. “It’s driven our custom jewelry business through the roof.”

Bellman says topics like these show there’s no shortage of industry topics to cover on Gems of Knowledge, adding that it’s “just a matter of us putting in the time.” And while the show has brought business into Bellman Jewelers, he says that’s a secondary benefit of being able to educate viewers.

“I’m not trying to do it just to drive my business, but also because I like teaching people about the industry,” says Bellman. “If it turns out I make some extra sales in the process, then that’s great too.”

Bellman is also one of the few jewelry authenticators nationwide. This video shows him authenticating Al Capone's watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGcdIwRQCEo.

For more information, visit bellmans.com.


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