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The Barb Wire

New Podcast: Barbara Palumbo Debuts “The Barb Wire” With Guest John Carter

Engaging personal discussions with the people shaping the future of jewelry retail.




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The INSTORE Podcast Network is introducing a new podcast — The Barb Wire, created by host Barbara Palumbo, well-known jewelry industry blogger (,, writer and speaker.

The mission of The Barb Wire is providing listeners with real conversations with key personalities in the jewelry industry. Aiming to avoid the arid nature of many instruction-oriented business podcasts and webinars, The Barb Wire instead offers engaging personal discussions with influential players shaping the future of jewelry retail.

Says Palumbo, in describing her new podcast: “I don’t want to do interviews that sound like they were based on a batch of Power Point slides. Instead, each episode of this podcast should be more like having lunch with a couple industry friends, after a round of Negronis … or two or three.”

In her debut episode, Palumbo chats with her good friend, John Carter, the president and CEO of Jack Lewis Jewelers in Bloomington, IL, as well as the president of the American Gem Society (AGS).

Their free-wheeling conversation covers child care, Adam Sandler movies, rocking out to AC/DC, and the funniest people in the jewelry business. But it also includes valuable intel on social media, website creation, marketing strategy and story-telling at one of the country’s most innovative retail jewelry stores.

Introducing The Barb Wire. Think of it as talk radio for the jewelry business. Enjoy the show.

Show Notes/Show Chronology

Here are show notes of the conversation between Barbara Palumbo and John Carter.

  • 3:31 Life with a toddler, nearing the age of 2, named Leo, who has become “the most famous baby in the jewelry industry”, even possessing his own Twitter hashtag … #leowiththegoodhair
  • 5:42 The Chicago sports radio personality, Les Grobstein (aka “The Grobber”) whose voice immediately puts Leo back to sleep in the middle of the night when he wakes up.
  • 6:40 “Cot back” a malady that occurs when you sleep on a cot too many nights while caring for a young child.
  • 7:37 Carter’s favorite Grobber blooper, which involves a famous character from an Adam Sandler movie.
  • 10:36 Barbara reveals her ability to mention Jack Lewis Jewelers in almost every speaking gig she does, praising the store’s work in social media, multimedia and story-telling.
  • 11:32 The addictive nature of the Jack Lewis Jewelers video blog, “Good Talk”, created by store sales associate Ashley Burton.
  • 13:12 Why you shouldn’t hire an intern — or your niece — to handle your Instagram account.
  • 17:28 Carter’s idea for a series of videos where staff do “unboxing” of new inventory.
  • 22:08 How Jack Lewis Jewelers uses social media to let outsiders get to know the various personalities who are part of the store’s staff.
  • 23:34 The nice young man, who Carter once sold an engagement ring, who eventually became Jack Lewis’s marketing guru.
  • 24:36 The questions, asked by his marketing guru, that helped crystallize Carter’s vision for what kind of store Jack Lewis Jewelers should be.
  • 25:14 The most important question any marketing consultant can ask a client.
  • 27:36 On Jack Lewis Jewelers’ plan to move away from traditional media.
  • 30:17 How the company’s website is in a constant state of improvement and experimentation. Says Carter: “If anybody out there has been satisfied with their website for more than a week, call me.”
  • 32:02 Barbara uses the podcast software’s “rimshot” function.
  • 32:52 The value — and dangers — of using humor in advertising.
  • 36:12 Carter on being the president of AGS, and the unique educational nature and value of AGS Conclave.
  • 37:12 Discussion: Is Joel Zeff is the funniest person in the jewelry industry?
  • 39:20 On Carter playing air guitar to AC/DC on the stage at AGS Conclave.
  • 44:24 The one person in the jewelry industry, alive or dead, who Carter would want to have dinner with.
  • 46:02 Carter talks about his media consumption, talking about his online news-gathering habit, while also offering a shout-out for his favorite print magazine. (Hint: you’re on their website right now.)
  • 46:51 Carter reveals his biggest personal and professional influences.
  • 50:08 The two things Carter cannot start a workday without. One is a beverage, the other a social media platform.
  • 50:58 Carter shares his favorite industry event, which is definitely not a surprise. And Barbara shares hers.
  • 52:25 On why Conclave is “the best kept secret in the (jewelry) industry”.
  • 55:40 On the increasing proliferation of lab-grown diamonds in the jewelry business, and the need for diligence in monitoring and disclosing these.

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at



When There’s No Succession Plan, Call Wilkerson

Bob Wesley, owner of Robert C. Wesley Jewelers in Scottsdale, Ariz., was a third-generation jeweler. When it was time to enjoy life on the other side of the counter, he weighed his options. His lease was nearing renewal time and with no succession plan, he decided it was time to call Wilkerson. There was plenty of inventory to sell and at first, says Wesley, he thought he might try to manage a sale himself. But he’s glad he didn’t. “There’s no way I could have done this as well as Wilkerson,” he says. Wilkerson took responsibility for the entire event, with every detail — from advertising to accounting — done, dusted and managed by the Wilkerson team. “It’s the complete package,” he says of the Wilkerson method of helping jewelers to easily go on to the next phase of their lives. “There’s no way any retailer can duplicate what they’ve done.”

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