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Would You Still Enter the Trade If You Were Now a Young Entrepreneur?

Would they do it all again if they had the chance? Jewelers answer the big question.

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Steven Wardle of Forest Beach Design in Chatham, MA, entered the trade in 1969 and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

Oh yes. I can’t imagine doing anything else! I first handled the torch in 1969. — Steven Wardle, Forest Beach Design, Chatham, MA

  • No, because if I were a pretty much “broke” young man again, I would certainly not be able to pursue a jewelry career because the buy-in is so high. (I started on a wing and a prayer and lots of good luck). I would go into commercial real estate — J. Dennis Petimezas, Watchmaker’s Diamonds & Jewelry, Johnstown, PA
  • No, definitely not. My 50th year is coming up and it was much, much easier years ago. Also the profits were much better. I have one of my five children in the business. Tried to talk all of them out of it. — Kent Jester, Klasse Jewelers, Florence, KY
  • Yes! Jewelry technology has opened up a whole new side of the jewelry business to the younger generation that grew up with technology. CAD/CAM allows a small startup jewelry store to sell custom design without having to invest in a large inventory. — Dianna Rae High, Dianna Rae Jewelry, Lafayette, LA
  • I don’t know. If I knew what the better widget was, I might give it a try. — Evan Duke, Classic Creations in Diamonds & Gold, Inc, Venice, FL
  • Yes. Love the stones, the artistry, the imagination and skill. Love learning the stories of gemstones. Love being a special part of people’s lives. — Jeff Weintrop, The Silver Lady, University City, MO
  • No, if I’d gone corporate I would be making waaaay more money. — Loann Stokes, Stokes Jewelry, Stillwater, MN
  • Yes. If you have the passion, you can make it thrive and be successful (I feel that’s true for whatever industry you’re in). — Jen Foster, David Douglas Designs, Marietta, GA
  • Yes. I love serving people with unique service and items. I love being in the LOVE business. — Dale Robertson, Dale Robertson Jewelry, Loveland, OH
  • Absolutely! I feel you just need to find your niche, let your creativity be your guide. Customers are looking for authenticity and a connection to the story of the design. — Linda McEathron, Design House, Waco, TX
  • Absolutely! The jewelry business has always been a challenge to marry fashion, craftsmanship and current trends with profitability. I can’t think of any other business that is as rewarding as dealing with the many happy and significant occasions in people’s lives. — Laura Pool, Laura’s Jewelry Designs, St. Robert, MO
  • My son is 20 and is doing just that in lieu of being a music teacher or nuclear engineer. This is an extraordinary time to design one’s own career in this incredible industry. — Jill Keith, Enchanted Jewelry, Danielson, CT
  • Never! A lot different from when I started out on Canal Street as a diamond setter. Just take a look at 47th Street. I’m there twice a week. If you want a reality check, that’s a great place to start. — Frank Intorcia, Frank Anson Jewelers, Staten Island, NY
  • I was a corporate accountant for 18 years before my husband begged me to join him. I asked what he could pay me. He said $6 an hour and all the sex in the back room I wanted. I signed up. Shortly after, he hired his first employee, demoting me to only the $6 per hour. Did I know when I was 35 that I would become a jewelry designer/remodeler? Absolutely not, but I love my job, and would do it again in a heartbeat. — Jo Goralski, The Jewelry Mechanic, Inc., Oconomowoc, WI

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. jewelry store, you’re invited to join the INSTORE Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the jewelry industry. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

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

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Orin Mazzoni, Jr., the owner of Orin Jewelers in Garden City and Northville, Michigan, decided it was time to downsize. With two locations and an eye on the future, Mazzoni asked Wilkerson to take the lead on closing the Garden City store. Mazzoni met Wilkerson’s Rick Hayes some years back, he says, and once he made up his mind to consolidate, he and Hayes “set up a timeline” for the sale. Despite the pandemic, Mazzoni says the everything went smoothly. “Many days, we had lines of people waiting to get in,” he says, adding that Wilkerson’s professionalism made it all worthwhile. “Whenever you do an event like this, you think, ‘I’ve been doing this my whole life. Do I really need to pay someone to do it for me?’ But then I realized, these guys are the pros and we need to move forward with them.”

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