I’ve Been Robbed! ~ Need Some Theft Prevention Advice

by Richard Yodis.
(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA)

One of my old co-workers owns a salon down the block from where we worked together. It’s a relatively small salon, but along with planning special events to somewhat rebrand the place, my friend asked me if I would want to set up a display of my jewelry next to the products they sell in-store.

theft prevention jewelry display

previous in-store display; about 2′ wide, 1′ deep; on a shelf at eye-level.

I just started reaching out to consignment shops and boutiques, so of course, I accepted his invitation.

He refused to accept any compensation or consignment for the pieces, stating that he has seen my progress over the past year and only wants to help me expand as an artist/jewelry designer.

That being said, I never had him sign any sort of agreement or contract; we’ve known each other for years now, and I have complete faith in his honesty.

My jewelry has been in his shop now for a couple of months, generating a lot of interest, but fewer sales. He is also present at the salon every day to open and close, and seems to have a small but kind and trustworthy staff. The receptionist girl has volunteered to take it upon herself to talk to interested clients, dust/clean the display regularly, and handle any sales by referencing an inventory list I update each time I switch out pieces (the price/inventory list is kept behind the desk, with small tags on each piece with the price and item #).

The area set-aside for my jewelry display is within sight of the desk, but the staff is always moving around. There are a couple chairs in the front room, and more in the back; the rooms are separated by a hallway which has a large shelf with their haircare products, etc… So people have to pass by any time they come in for an appointment.

I feel like the above background info is important to paint a scene… So to cut to the chase: I stopped by the salon recently for a “ladies’ night” event to set up a table while patrons had their nails and hair done.

When I arrived, I asked how the jewelry was doing to find out there were a couple sold pieces, which I collected the money for.

While moving my current in-store items to the larger display table I had for the night, I noticed one of the bracelets was missing, and the receptionist left this piece out when summarizing the sales. I waited until the event was over to ask about the bracelet, but no employees (my friend, the owner, included) had any idea as to the item’s whereabouts.

It was a micro-maille bracelet made with fine silver, so it was the most expensive piece in the lot; I typically keep my work affordable by using aluminum/copper.

So, I guess what I am getting at is this:

  • Though it is some distance from the entrance, anyone that comes in the salon is guaranteed to see my work (great, right?!)
  • I work with chainmaille, which, if you’re familiar, is made from any of a number of weaves/patterns. Most people who check out my work have the urge to pick it up, play with it, etc… I actually encourage this, because many times, the ‘behavior’ of the piece is often a selling point of my jewelry (the way it moves, feels, etc). I don’t have a locking display, nor do I want to discourage people from physically experiencing the jewelry collection.
  • I can’t even be sure the bracelet was stolen by customers; I wanted to dismiss it to falling and getting swept up without knowledge… I am overly trusting usually, but I was concerned that the receptionist dusts the area everyday, and the fact that she didn’t notice that, one of the 2 pieces, with their own free-standing display, had been removed and replaced by a completely dissimilar bracelet, seemed somewhat questionable. (The missing piece in question easily stood out from the rest).

I know there is insurance for this kind of thing (I think, anyway), but I am wondering if anyone else has encountered something similar with their work that’s on consignment/display somewhere else?

I don’t foresee the bracelet turning up, and have accepted responsibility for its disappearance.

Are there any suggestions of ways to prevent pieces going missing like this, without locking up the pieces, or accusing the staff of stealing?

I would love to continue taking advantage of my friend’s generosity, but I would hate for a repeat of this dilemma.

Any help or advice will be greatly appreciated!

Richard Yodis
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