Trace Shelton is Editor-in-Chief of INDESIGN Magazine and Contributing Editor of INSTORE. His current favorite topics to cover include social media, marketing, and store environment, but you could also get him excited about merchandising and sales if you’ve got something new to say.
Cindy Edelstein spread good feelings wherever she went. Here, she shares a hug with INDESIGN's editor-in-chief Trace Shelton and television style pundit Michael O'Connor.
Remembering a dear friend, tireless jewelry advocate
and all-around industry dynamo, Cindy Edelstein
The jewelry designer’s fiercest advocate and one of my best friends in the jewelry industry, Cindy Edelstein, passed away yesterday. In truth, Cindy was a best friend to many, many people, and her passing leaves an enormous hole not only in our industry, but in our hearts. As stunned and devastated as I am today, there was no way I could write about any other topic — I had to tell all of you just what an incredible person we have lost, as many of you reading this already know.The jewelry industry is a tightly knit community, especially in the designer world where the name on the door is also the person inside the booth at the trade shows. For someone like myself who’s not a jewelry designer or retailer, this community can be difficult to enter into. Cindy was one of those rare people who knew everyone in the room and yet still had a space at the table for you. No matter how busy she was during a trade show – and she was pretty much always swamped, since she worked on behalf of Couture, JA New York, the AGTA Show, and globalDESIGN – she always took the time to pause, even if only for a moment, to give a hug and ask about your life. Not your business -- your life. As much as I understand that most interactions at trade shows are necessarily transactional – what can you do for me, what can I do for you – I appreciated Cindy’s genuine interest in my personal life because there was nothing in it for her; she was just being a friend. It was always a short but much-appreciated moment of warmth amidst the hustle and bustle of the trade show. That genuine, personal quality is not the only thing I will miss with Cindy’s passing, but it is the thing I’ll miss the most. Last year, at the JA NY Winter Show, I was fortunate enough to meet Cindy’s husband, Frank. Cindy made a point of introducing us, and the three of us sat and talked about our daughters, who were just a year apart – mine was in her second semester of college at the time, and Cindy and Frank’s daughter, Remy, was finishing up her senior year of high school. We must have talked for an hour about parenting and smart daughters and how hard it is to send them off and, really, how hard it is to live without them. As we always did, we talked about Malik, our son that my wife and I adopted nearly five years ago out of the foster care system; as always, Cindy encouraged me to keep fighting the good fight on his behalf. Did we talk about her regular contribution to INDESIGN Magazine (the “Customer Types” section, which won gold in last year’s Tabbie Awards)? I’m sure we did, but what meant the most to me, and, I think, to Cindy, was our personal conversation about things that mattered outside of work.
RELATED STORY: CINDY EDELSTEIN PASSES AWAY AT AGE 51
As much as Cindy was a good friend, she was also an unflaggingly positive proponent of designer jewelry. Her business, the Jeweler’s Resource Bureau, celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, and Cindy remained at the forefront of business methodology and always exhibited a remarkable sense of professional curiosity, regularly sharing articles about innovative practices through social media and her newsletter, the Cindy Edelstein Daily. She promoted the category of designer jewelry relentlessly in her many and regular Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts, and she constantly encouraged designers to improve their businesses in a myriad of ways – the bottom line being that she wanted to teach designers to be not just incredible artists, but incredible businesspeople as well.
"Cindy was especially an advocate for fledgling designers. In fact, 'advocate' is too weak a word — she was more like a mama tiger fighting for her cubs.
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With the holiday selling season behind us, it’s time to start planning for a successful 2016. And for luxury jewelry retailers, a successful year should always start with the Centurion Show (Jan. 31 – Feb. 2 in Scottsdale, Arizona).
The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that retail sales rose in November, with low gas prices and slowing auto sales contributing to the retail uptick. The takeaway by economic experts is that while consumers don’t have extra money or credit to spend, they are still spending — just don’t expect the big credit-based purchases that might have come in previous years.
Yes, I know it’s the holiday selling season. Yes, I know you’re extremely busy right now. But here’s an important reminder that’s worth your time to read: Don’t interrupt clients when they’re talking.
Jennifer Dawes is known not just for her beautiful, organic jewelry collection, but also for her pioneering business model that produces sustainable jewelry through the use of recycled gold and responsibly-sourced gemstones. Hers is a line that has grown steadily in popularity since its creation in 2000, but especially over the past several years. Her pieces are clean, innovative in a subtle way, feminine but not overly so, and savvy in terms of price point and material. I interviewed her this month for our next issue of INDESIGN, but because it was such a great conversation, I wound up with way more than I could fit into two pages. Here are a few bonus Q&A’s with Jennifer: