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Manchester Jeweler Adds Production Studio and Weekly Talk Show
Published Tuesday, January 9, 2018

From left: Howard Frohlin, engineer, films co-hosts David Bellman, Rachel Putney and Justin Krall as they interview a guest for "Gems of Knowledge." Courtesy photo.

Passersby on Elm Street in Manchester will likely see Bellman Jewelers as a family-owned manufacturer and retailer of jewelry. 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 educating viewers on jewelry-related topics.

In 2002, Bellman created Cool School University, a free online course that explains how diamonds are graded. Then, a few years ago, he partnered with Manchester-based marketing firm Scorzi to turn the course into a series on YouTube.

Bellman was instantly hooked by YouTube’s potential as a platform for sharing his jewelry experience. He began mapping out the framework for “Gems of Knowledge,” investing about $75,000 in an onsite production studio. Building a similar setup a decade ago would have cost roughly $2 million, says Bellman, adding today's video and sound equipment are more affordable and higher quality.

“A lot of other hobbies are covered on YouTube, but I found that jewelry was a niche that hadn’t 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. Topics range from buying and selling new and antique jewelry to industry news and trends, celebrity fashion and more.

Bellman co-hosts the show with business partner Justin Krall and employee Rachel Putney, and it’s engineered by Howard Fohlin, creative/interactive director at Bellman Jewlers. Bellman says they use an outline instead of a script and aim to produce a half-hour episode, though some episodes run longer.

Since launching on YouTube in March, “Gems of Knowledge” has gained about 60 subscribers and 1,500 views. Bellman is using social media and a partnership with NH1 News in Concord to expand that. Every episode re-airs on NH1’s Facebook page on Wednesdays and receives between 4,000 and 6,000 views. To garner a similar audience through Facebook advertising, Bellman says he would have to pay almost 10 times what he pays 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.

Beyond affordability, Bellman sees YouTube and social media as the future of marketing, particularly to millennials. Since millennials often opt for cheaper online streaming platforms, Bellman says it’s crucial to adapt to their preferences.

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