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The Barb Wire

Podcast: Alexis Padis Shares Her Story, and a Few Drinks, on “The Barb Wire”

It’s more than a podcast … it’s a drinking game, too.




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IN THIS EPISODE of The Barb Wire, host Barbara Palumbo talks — and shares a few drinks — with Alexis Padis, director of operations at the successful San Francisco-area jewelry store, Padis Jewelry, plus the company’s side business, Padis Vineyards. Padis is also the youngest member of the board of the American Gem Society and was a 2017 Award of Excellence winner from the Women’s Jewelry Association.

Discussion topics include the role of millennials in the jewelry industry, as well as unfounded prejudices against millennials in the jewelry business. The two discuss the rise of Padis Jewelry, which started with Alexis’s father, Steve, selling puka shells out of his car trunk, and is now an area fixture serving San Francisco’s rising “Cloud Corridor” of major tech businesses. Padis also talks about how her father’s “side hustle” turned into a successful Napa Valley vineyard and wine label producing 3,000 bottles of highly-rated wine per year.

The episode includes impressive levels of morning alcohol intake (including a challenge in which the participants have to finish a glass of wine or champagne any time the word “Conclave” is uttered), and includes shoutouts to John Carter, Dave Bindra, Anna Samsonova, Michael Richards, Denise (Chislett) Richards, Marc Nanasi, Joshua Israileff, Cindy Chandler, Lisa Berenstein, Judy Padis, Brian Hood and more.


Listeners are invited to play along. Enjoy Episode 3 of The Barb Wire.

  • 1:50 A quick story about how this podcast almost happened as a live, in-person event, at Alexis’s home in San Francisco, but didn’t.
  • 3:30 Dealing with California’s many frightening wildfires.
  • 5:00 Barbara and Alexis have vowed to do this podcast while drinking, and reveal their chosen tipples for the conversation.
  • 8:00 On living and working in San Francisco’s revitalized “Cloud Corridor” — where Airbnb, Pinterest, Adobe are located. It has caused been a huge influx of young people — who Alexis is working to convince to get off their computers and visit an actual jewelry store.
  • 9:15 Barbara and Alexis create a drinking game. Every time either of them mention “Conclave”, they both have to take a drink.
  • 11:00 How Alexis’s father first entered the jewelry business as a wholesaler. It’s a long story, and puka shells and Mr. T’s gold chains are involved.
  • 13:00 Alexis tells how her father moved from the wholesale business into retail.
  • 15:00 Alexis on selling her first engagement ring, and how the rush she experienced from making that sale got her hooked on the jewelry business.
  • 16:40 On how spending at least some time doing jewelry repair helps someone truly understand the jewelry business.
  • 19:30 Alexis discusses being a millennial in the industry, and trying to effect change in the industry, part of which is serving on the board for AGS Conclave … DRINK!
  • 22:50 More talk of AGS, and several more mentions of Conclave. More DRINKS! Things get messy, and the rules of the drinking game are changed.
  • 26:00 Alexis goes further into the responsibilities of being a millennial in the industry. “It’s not an easy path to take. Millennials, in terms of reputation, it’s not super-positive.” But she doesn’t understand the bad reputation of millennials. “What do millennials want that we don’t all want? We all want excellent customer service. We all want product available. We want to try on things, we want to see them in person. We want to see, touch, feel. And we want a good deal. Everything the millennials get a bad rap for … it’s something we all ultimately want.”
  • 30:40 “I would much rather be under-estimated and far exceed that expectation than the opposite.”
  • 32:50 How Forevermark, and its story, has been “an absolute game-changer” for Padis Jewelry. The store is currently partnering with Forevermark to open Forevermark’s first U.S. retail store in the East Bay area of San Francisco.
  • 35:55 Discussing Padis Vineyards, a 15-acre vineyard which produces about 3,000 bottles of wine per year. Barbara asks, “How do you own a vineyard and not be annihilated 24 hours a day?”
  • 38:50 “The wine business is just a blast,” says Alexis. “The funny thing is that it’s not that different from the jewelry industry.” How? In that most of the value of the product is found in the nuances. Very subtle differences can mean an enormous difference in price.
  • 40:40 Padis Vineyards has kept its ties to the jewelry industry, including launching a label called Scintillation and a kosher label called Brilliance.
  • 44:30 Alexis reveals her dream dinner date — and it’s the powerhouse wife of a key industry figure.
  • 48:40 Print or online? Alexis, somewhat apologetically, chooses online.
  • 50:20 Alexis’s biggest influences are a couple of people very close to her.
  • 52:00 Alexis’s biggest fans are her gem besties, including her fiancé, Brian, and her best friend since high school, Stephanie, who is also in the jewelry business.
  • 53:30 Alexis reveals her favorite four-letter “industry” word. It’s a word that most store-owners are extremely happy to hear.
  • 55:30 Alexis’s morning routine does NOT include coffee. “Nobody needs to see me on caffeine,” she says. Instead, she starts the day with a walk of her dog, Zoe, and some very loud jams.
  • 59:50 The one piece of jewelry that Alexis wears every day? Prepare to be surprised.
  • 61:30 The last industry article Alexis read? Just general coverage of retailers’ holiday performance, which has generally been positive for the 2018 holiday season to date. “It was all good news for me this morning,” said Alexis. Barbara’s also pleased, saying: “It’s good news for me too, man. Even journalists. We need to hear that too, or else we’re going, ‘I’ll be writing about those shower-curtain rings next month.’ And that’s a miserable thing to write about.”

Barbara Palumbo is a watch and jewelry industry writer, journalist and speaker. She manages the blogging websites and



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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