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Jim Saylor




JUST IMAGINE WHAT A WEEK in your life would be like on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Evenings at the beach. An afternoon sail. A Monday morning round of golf. What could be better? For Jim Saylor, not much. Thirty-two years ago, at the age of 23, enthralled by the Hawaiian Islands, he moved to Kauai from the San Francisco Bay area with not much more than a bench jeweler’s tool box. “I set up a bench in a shop that sold puka shells and sandals and bikinis about two weeks after I got here. It kept evolving and evolving. The first incarnation of the store was at the end of 1977, but frankly, that was a little chicken-wire cage in the back of a warehouse.”  
Now, his main store in downtown Kapaa is about 1,000 square feet and another 600 square feet of workshop. He also has two stores in island hotels. “We have quite a good clientele, a lot of custom work and service work, a lot of visitor business, as well. We have a great following of loyal customers around the country who love the higher end custom work we do for them. We have people coming in wanting a quarter-carat solitaire, and the guy from Bethesda who doesn’t want to spend more than $30,000 on a birthday present for his wife — and everything in between. Saylor has been married to Paula, a recurring character in his diary, for almost 10 years. 
“My favorite part of the week? Either 6 A.M. Monday morning when I get to the golf course, or 4  
P.M. Thursday when we sail the boat out of the slip to go racing.” Sailing is very high up on the list. “I’ll be 55 this month, and I’ve been sailing about 54 years, since before I could walk. I’ve raced just about every type of boat imaginable, and I’ve done four Pacific crossings from Hawaii to the mainland. It’s a big part of me.” 
Still, when it comes down to it, a jeweler’s life is a jeweler’s life, wherever you happen to live. 
Saylor’s favorite part of the work week, is collaborating with young couples to create a memorable piece of jewelry. — Eileen McClelland 
5 A.M. Up at 5 A.M. and off to the golf course for my 6:45 tee time. Mediocre round but finished by 9:30. 
10 A.M. Home for a shower, check my e-mail, respond, and check the gold market. Draft a letter to hotel, about store No. 2, regarding new lease. Check with our main store, messages, order instructions …. Clean truck, yard work ….  
1 P.M. Stop by store and go through mail, review orders, go over jobs with jeweler, quote a few jobs. Check staff schedules for stores 1, 2 and 3. Enter sales and deposits, off to the post office to ship three orders, then to the bank. 
6 P.M. Dinner at home with Paula, a movie, check the e-mail and off to bed. 
6:30 A.M. Up at 6:30, read the local paper, check e-mail, check gold market. 
9 A.M. Off to store. 10 minute drive. Check my phone messages and return a few calls. I let my office manager go in the beginning of MARCH after hiring someone with more accounting and organization skills. However, due to health and family issues she has not been able to begin work. So, I step in and do the office management. The best part of which is finding many errors and flaws in our systems. What fun. I’m a bench jeweler, designer and salesman. Office and systems management are not my forte. Go through some new jobs, call customers with quotes. Approve some new inventory for makeup. Meet with customers about designs. Spend an hour with a supplier and pick up some needed inventory. Enter sales receipts, review payables and write checks.  
12 P.M. Quick bite to eat at desk.  
1 P.M. Spend an hour on the bench doing some wax work. 
2 P.M. Review work on some repairs and custom designs with our goldsmith. Assist with customers. 
5:30 P.M. Head home. Go to the beach with Paula and friends for dinner, a good red wine and a bonfire. 
10 A.M. To work. Enter receipts, go through mail, check progress of jobs. 
11 A.M. Have an appointment with customer for designing a new piece. Work with salesperson and a customer to close a nice sale, have the piece sized while they wait. Had a store full for about two hours, sales, lookers, repairs, pickups, cleaning. Couldn’t get away to my Rotary meeting — oops. Customers come first. 
1 P.M. Share some lunch with salesperson. Enter and tag some new inventory. Office work, phone calls etc. till 5:30. 
6 P.M. Meet Paula and visiting son for dinner, home by 8:30. 
6 A.M. News, e-mails to crew, re: afternoon racing (30-foot sailboat). Who’s in? 
8:30 A.M. Head to store to open with new sales staff. Show her the setup procedure, though I do the vacuuming. Train with her all morning, explain sales philosophy, proper take-in procedures. Work with a few clients. Pretty slow on the sales floor, which gives me time to do the training.  
10 A.M. General office work (my favorite), log in findings order, distribute appropriate jobs and give to the jeweler.  
2 P.M. Catch up with customers till 3:30 and have to run to harbor. 
4 P.M. Get aboard about 4; great race, though we fail to prevail. A glass of wine, a bite to eat and war stories at the yacht club.  
No race next week, I might have to work. 
6 A.M. Morning paper and e-mail, check gold market. 
8:30 A.M. To store by 8:30 to open with new sales person. 
9:30 A.M. Appointment with customer about a major purchase. We spend about an hour. I truly love working with my clients from around the world; it makes my day. 
10:30 A.M. Spend some time with a few more customers. 
11 A.M. Meet with supplier for an hour. 
12 P.M. Open packages from suppliers and customers and place in appropriate boxes. 
12:30 P.M. More training with new staff. 
1 P.M. Run to the bank and have a bite to eat at the beach. 
3 P.M. Give a pearl lesson and presentation to a customer. 
4 P.M. Spend the rest of the day in the office entering deposits from stores 2 and 3. Prepare excise tax statements; write checks.  
7:30 P.M. Off to be with some friends on the beach. 
6:30 A.M. News and e-mail. Have to get this diary completed. 
11 A.M. Off to work in the office. Hope to be there for only about four hours. Maybe I can get some work done on my ’64 Mercedes 230SL this afternoon. So much for paperwork. My daughter is with a customer and needs help closing the sale. Of course in doing so I need to size and alter the semi-mount to accept the customer’s oval diamond. Do a full lab report on the stone and create an insurance replacement appraisal. Finally get to paperwork and spend about an hour. No time for the Mercedes. 
6 P.M. Go for a walk with Paula on the back nine. Get in seven holes. 
Watch some basketball. Work on the fence in the yard. Get a couple of fence posts in. A quiet dinner. 



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