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Big Survey

This Is the Business Advice Jewelers Got from Their Parents

Also: The advice they give their own kids.



WE ASKED JEWELRY store owners and managers who responded to our 2021 Big Survey a two part question:

  • Please tell us the most important business lesson your parents gave you.
  • What will be the most important business lesson you will try to pass on to your children? (Imaginary child is fine).

Respondents say they grew up with parents who stressed the importance of honesty and the golden rule, along with establishing a strong work ethic, embodied in the saying, “make hay while the sun is shining.”

But while jewelers talking to their own children, real or imagined, continue to stress the importance of honesty, they also strongly emphasize the value of living a balanced life. “Work to live,” they say. “Don’t live to work.”

Said one: “No one on their deathbed ever says, “I wish I had spent more time at the office.” Go fishing, make it to all the recitals, school plays and ball games. Live in a smaller house than you would like, drive an older car, live below your means. Put as much of your money as you can into a retirement account as soon as you start working. Never touch it until you are ready to walk away.”


Other words of wisdom passed down from jewelers’ parents:

  • “If you are going through hell, keep going.” Winston Churchill said it first, but my dad used to tell me that in the early days of business, and in the days of having teenagers.”
  • “Count your pennies and your dollars will take care of themselves.”
  • “Business goes where it is invited, and abides where it is well treated.”
  • “My father taught me as a very young man how to deal with loud and angry customers. The louder they talk the softer you talk. It always disarms the grouchy customers.”
  • “Every piece of jewelry is precious to someone. Whether it’s a $10,000 diamond or a little synthetic stone pendant. Someone gave that to them. and we need to remember that.”
  • “If you plant enough seeds, you’ll have business. Advertising is getting the word out. Tell enough people about what you do, and they’ll call you when the time is right.”
  • “Greet everyone who walks in your door. They chose YOU, not your competitors. “
  • “You can’t only buy what you like. Sometimes you have to buy ugly because some people like ugly stuff!”

And here’s more advice for the next-generation of jewelers:

  • “Be a five-star person to everyone. Remember, you can’t go wrong doing right.”
  • “Figure out what the thing is that you do really, really well and focus on that, and then delegate the rest to people who are better than you.”
  • “Don’t go into debt; you will not climb out easily.”
  • “It is more important to be happy with what you do in life than tying your identity into a business.”
  • “Don’t expect others to do what you are unwilling to do. Lead by example.”
  • “Be kind to each person and it’ll pay dividends.”
  • “Charge what you are worth, not what you think somebody else thinks you’re worth.”
  • “It’s OK to take time off to keep your sanity.”
  • “Do what you love, and the money will follow if you work your ass off and believe in yourself.”

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