Connect with us

Commentary: The Business

Wisconsin Jeweler Sees the Beauty and Necessity in Shop Dust

The future of the industry lies with the artists, she says.

mm

Published

on

IF YOU DREW a 30-mile line from our first studio headed northwest, there were 14 jewelers 25 years ago when we opened. Today, there are four of us. There had always been four or five jewelers in the town we live and work in, now there are two of us. What is the difference? Shops.

The front of the house is shiny. The shop is dirty.

14 Innovative Showcase Strategies That Will Make Your Mind Whir [Photo Gallery]
Photo Gallery

14 Innovative Showcase Strategies That Will Make Your Mind Whir [Photo Gallery]

20 of the Funniest ‘The Jeweler’ Cartoons of All Time
Photo Gallery

20 of the Funniest ‘The Jeweler’ Cartoons of All Time

8 Jewelers Get Creative When Promoting Wedding Sales [Photo Gallery]
Photo Gallery

8 Jewelers Get Creative When Promoting Wedding Sales [Photo Gallery]

The front of the house does the selling. The shop is dirty.

The shop is where the money is. The shop is where our future as an industry is. The shop is our hope. I love to sit next to my husband at the bench and watch how he moves metal with flame. It is an ancient craft and skill, and he is a true master. He would rather be at the bench than just about anywhere. He is 67 years old, and he will be one those guys who works metal until he dies.

The shop is dirty. That is where metal becomes jewelry. There is usually annoying music playing, and T-shirts with questionable sayings, but these people are artists. Their medium is metal, the accents are luscious gems. Their delicate metal work is what holds a $20,000 diamond to the finger. They are not given enough credit for their magic. The shop is dirty.

The thing about artists is they generally make poor businesspeople. It is a left brain, right brain thing. The shop needs the front of the house to sell their art, their craft. They don’t want to do the communicating with the customers; they would rather be at the bench. The front of the house needs to value what their shop does. Spend some time next to a bench to see how things happen.

Advertisement

Do you envision Michelangelo, the Italian sculptor, as bright and shiny in gorgeous Italian robes? I don’t. I see him covered in rock dust, with graphite fingertips and paint all over his clothes.

I would suggest investing in education to show your shop staff you value them and want them to grow. When you send them off to be with other artists, they come back juiced and pumped with vision for the future. Give them funds and time to create pieces on their own. They will push harder for themselves than they will for a boss, so give them bench time to learn.

Do you know why so many older goldsmiths are disgruntled? They have had to work in spaces hardly bigger than a closet, with poor ventilation and no appreciation for years of service. Treat them like they are as precious as the gems they work with. Artists love stimulation. Take them to a cool new restaurant, or an art show, or a concert.

My advice? Change your culture to value your greatest asset. The shop is dirty, but that is where the true magic happens.

Jo Goralski owns The Jewelry Mechanic in Oconomowoc, WI, with her husband, Michael.

Advertisement

SPONSORED VIDEO

Wilkerson Testimonials | Zadok Master Jewelers

Stick to the Program — And Watch Your Sales Grow

When Zadok Master Jewelers in Houston, Texas, decided to move to a new location (they’d been in the same one for the 45 years they’d been in business), they called Wilkerson to run a moving sale. The results, says seventh-generation jeweler Jonathan Zadok, were “off the charts” in terms of traffic and sales. Why? They took Wilkerson’s advice and stuck to the company’s marketing program, which included sign twirlers — something Jonathan Zadok had never used before. He says a number of very wealthy customers came in because of them. “They said, ‘I loved your sign twirlers and here’s my credit card for $20,000.’ There’s no way we could have done that on our own,” says Zadok. “Without Wilkerson, the sale never, ever would have come close to what it did.”

Promoted Headlines

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Subscribe


BULLETINS

INSTORE helps you become a better jeweler
with the biggest daily news headlines and useful tips.
(Mailed 5x per week.)

Latest Comments

Most Popular