Vegas: The Starting Gate

Rounding the final corner! Down the home stretch! Hitting his stride! Photo finish!

I blame it on my birthday** but I’ve always appreciated horse racing metaphors. There’s something so universally appealing about them, so evocative of a brief but heart-pounding excitement shared by a crowd that seems to hold its collective breath until the race is over.

That’s a bit like how I feel about Jewelry Week, hosted annually in Sin City and attended by thousands of industry professionals in a business and social whirlwind. It’s a fast-paced week, requiring immense amounts of energy and serious willpower to both get stuff done and have fun doing it.

For those of us on the non-retail side of the booth, the connections and sales generated at this show can make or break an entire year’s worth of business (but y’know, no pressure). It’s an opportunity to meet with clients in person, announce new and exciting things (!!), and yes, scope out the competition.

Buyers who attend are also on a mission: spend well, spend wisely. The glitter of the show is an easy distraction for the spendthrift store buyer, as it washes everything in an enticing aura of beauty and incites a covetous round of gotta-have-it fever.

This is, of course, the point. Any show is only as successful as its revenue generation — in this case, not for the show itself, but for the sellers who attend it — so a careful eye is kept on the general mood throughout the week. Trends are spotted, new and innovative offerings are critiqued, and dollars are measured.

We’ve been hearing a lot about the changes facing the industry right now, including questions about what retailers in particular should do to attract consumers of all ages and levels. It makes me wonder: what can both buyers and sellers learn from this show? What makes it so successful as an event, and how do we generate that kind of madhouse, leave-your-inhibitions-at-the-door vibe in our own businesses?

Something else to consider: the show has added a new area to the already-crowded floor, dedicating a space to what was once “crossover” and is now called simply “bridge” jewelry. This category consists of sterling-and-gold pieces with fashion and trendy appeal, at prices intended to be higher than basic fashion jewelry but lower or just approaching that of the fine category. It’s the stuff millennials buy for themselves (in theory), and it’s a popular but ever-moving target.

I’m interested to see the category perform in its own arena and not as second fiddle to its bookend price points. I will also be curious to learn if this one-size-fits-most approach feels like a fresh idea that just might save the middle of the market, or simply a rehash of the “entry level” model we see in the housing and auto markets. The former inspires repeat business, self purchasing, and aspirational purchases down the road. The latter sets buyers up for disappointment and frustration, stalling momentum and causing sales to drop. We’ll see which side wins this coin toss.

And as usual, there will be a significant amount of M-word (Millennial) dropping in the exhibit halls. This ties in directly with the two ideas I just mentioned, and the prevalence of a heavy generational focus has helped me formulate a kind of consumer theory I’ve been kicking around: shifting the focus too far onto the fashion/bridge category could hinder the long-term, aspirational level sales, preventing sellers from converting the $500 spenders into $5K+ consumers. I have found that when someone is sold on “good enough,” it can be all the more challenging to grow them into larger or more frequent purchasers.

So as the flag is raised on this year’s show, I’ll be keeping in mind these questions (and other thoughts) to revisit after the fact. Here’s hoping it won’t be heavy going for attendees, and that everyone will have free rein to buy and sell and enjoy themselves. I know I’m chomping at the bit to be on my way!

 

**Kentucky Derby Day. Every year without fail, my father-in-law (a horse racing fanatic) asks me to name the winning horse, who also happened to be one of only three fillies to ever win the Derby.

Reading Reactions

Featured image is my father’s custom garnet ring, designed by Irene S. Sirois. Copyrighted design.

If I didn’t have to work, I would probably read. All day, most of the night, nonstop page-turning. Like most bibliophiles I have some preferred genres and authors, but if you put something with words on it in front of me, I’m going to read it before you’ve finished telling me not to (so please don’t). This means I have to practice extreme selectivity, because I simply don’t have time to read it all. In practice that translates to rationing my reading time, where my time currency is portioned out like my 8th grade allowance, with wild abandon sparingly and with great care.

So it might surprise you to know that I spend a daily allotment of what I lovingly call Industry Research Time poring over every blog, publication, article, Google Alert, LinkedIn Pulse, and Instagram post I can find. I take notes — actual, physical ones and purely mental ones — and attempt to connect the dots between what I’m reading and what I’m experiencing. I sift through opinions, corroborate facts, and weigh topics in an effort to determine what’s important, who’s talking about it, and how I think and feel about it all.

When you consume this much material, it’s inevitable to come across some things you simply don’t agree with. Most of the time this happens with op-eds and other opinion-based articles, and stems from having a very different perspective on the topic. Exactly such a case can be found in this article, published in the May 2016 MJSA Journal entitled “Is ‘Custom’ a Dirty Word?” which I encourage everyone to read.

The piece describes the challenges of defining what “custom jewelry” means — I subject I’ve discussed before — and goes on to describe how Lisa Krikawa of Krikawa Jewelry works around what she perceives as the extreme limitations of selling custom or customized jewelry. This workaround is to essentially remove the word custom from the conversation entirely, because she experiences the usual backlash of fear and distrust from clients who prefer to touch and try on their designs before purchasing.

To say that I sympathize with this position is an understatement, having sold both full custom and customized jewelry myself. And Krikawa’s actual conversations with clients reflect the realities of selling this type of product, in such a way that they feel heard and understood. This is exactly the right approach, and I couldn’t agree more with her process of offering examples from the showcase, hand sketches, and CAD models. It’s what I used to do, too, and it works.

In part, the solution to the touch me/feel me issue can be answered by the amazing technology I work with in my current profession. Using 3D printers to prototype quickly and cheaply gives the client a physical piece to touch and try on, even with temporarily seated gems so the full effect is present. Now the relevant questions — too tall? too thick? right size? in proportion? etc. — can be answered in real time, without the expense of fixing these issues after the fact.

My main argument with Krikawa’s approach is that by working so hard to eliminate a particular word from a client’s vocabulary, the opportunity to educate them about custom is lost. The process of qualifying a client for potential custom work does not need to turn them off or scare them away from a purchase; when handled with careful explanation, my nervous clients turned into my best evangelists for the custom process (hello, referrals!).

I have worked very hard to promote the idea of custom jewelry as the future on the industry, and feel that removing it from the conversation is counterproductive. I prefer to help the client understand and appreciate the opportunity, educate them as to the options, and explain how the risks are mitigated or eliminated.

There are few things I appreciate more than the people who expend serious time and energy making their clients happy, regardless of how they accomplish that feat. I hope the various opinions and theories about custom jewelry continue to expand and develop, especially as technology grows and offers more solutions to an often cumbersome process.

Please comment with your thoughts, I’d love to keep the conversation going!

Two Become One: It’s Complicated

Comfy sofa. Popcorn. TV remote. Pen and paper (sometimes low tech is still best). Wine. Lots of wine.

I was prepared to feel a lot of things while watching the Met Gala this year, but disappointment wasn’t on the list.

As I mentioned earlier, I anticipated an evening in which the tastemakers du jour would embrace their clever, creative, and progressive sides. There were some unique moments, to be sure, but the overwhelming theme of I-don’t-get-the-theme-and-neither-does-my-stylist-but-tech-is-shiny-so-I’ll-wear-metallic was surprisingly dull after the first half hour.

As Wendy Brandes put it in her own recap, “Who knew that robot-style could get old?”

Nonetheless, I selected two standouts that deserve some attention.

First, behold the literal Cinderella of the evening, Claire Danes, whose Zac Posen gown embraced the femininity of classic ball styling and added a twist of glowing fiber optics.

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Photos: Vanity Fair. Am I the only one who saw this and thought of Disney’s famed Main Street Electrical Parade? No?

I’d like to think there’s also a much more subtle commentary at play here. Posen has embraced ready-to-wear for many years (Target, David’s Bridal, and even Delta Airlines can all claim him) likely in part because he understands feminine appeal like few others in high-fashion bother to do. He unapologetically embraces romance in apparel, and his designs flatter the female form in a way that feels natural, graceful, and timeless.

By combining an extremely classic interpretation of the ballgown with optical technology, Posen is making a statement about the wearability of the two into the future. It’s groundbreaking in its simplicity, and because of that might slide under the more avant-garde radar and straight to the larger, mass-consumer audience.

The feature image for this post is a hand-iPad-sketched interpretation of Danes’ look, done by the extraordinarily talented Holly Nichols. She focuses much of her artwork on women and the clothes we love to wear, so it came as little surprise to me that she chose to illustrate this look. Every woman wants to feel like she lights up the room, but Posen and Danes made that an elegant reality.

My other favorite of the evening was from an activist and actor I’ve long admired: Emma Watson. She is a crusader for equality, access to equal rights, the modern feminist movement, social and environmental responsibility, and the secret world of wizardry. And she has one hell of a style.

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Photo: Tech Insider (Yes. Tech reporting on fashion. See, I TOLD you they’re an item!)

Watson has made an effort to represent sustainable fashion on the red carpet, sourcing most of her gowns from repurposed or responsibly-grown materials. In this case, the pants, bustier, and train are all made from spun recycled plastic bottles, and the fashion maven has promised to re-wear each item.

Watson stated, “Being able to repurpose this waste and incorporate it into my gown for the ‪#‎MetGala‬ proves the power that creativity, technology, and fashion can have by working together.” I’m not sure there’s a better summary of her interpretation of the Gala’s theme, and it’s one that many of us can (and should) embrace.

You might notice that I haven’t featured any 3D printing at this event. As far as I could tell, only Allison Williams wore something that featured that technology (the flowers on her gown were 3D printed) and the look itself was interesting but somewhat uninspired. And though my work revolves around the 3d printing world, I have taken a much more diverse interest in technology and how it relates to the fashion tree and its jewelry branch.

The failure of stylists, designers, and celebrities to commit themselves to this year’s theme was, to me, an unfortunate side effect of an industry that pays lip service to current modes but is unreliable for delivering on them. In hindsight, my enthusiasm ahead of the Gala now feels naive and not a little like wishful thinking. Perhaps in time my high hopes for jewelry and fashion will fulfill their happy ending, but for now, I’m mentally updating their relationship status: It’s Complicated.

Two Become One: Fashion and Tech are Officially an Item

**Feature image credit: Boston Globe,“Molecule” Shoe by Francis Bitonti Studio Inc., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston**


I’m on a roll with these post titles, aren’t I? Don’t clap, just throw money. I’m here all week.

Tonight is the annual Met Gala, the event of the year for all things fashion, or really just for anyone important enough to score an invite. It’s a closed event, meaning the actual goings-on are not televised for us non-famous plebeians, probably because we’d be so overwhelmed by fabulousness that the world would grind to a halt due to mass unconsciousness.

The Gala has fascinated and inspired me for many years, but only in a limited sense — it’s great fun to watch celebrities (or their stylists) interpret the theme for each year, and the inevitable hijinks make for great bubble bath reading material, but that was usually the extent of my attention span.

But this year may just prove to define the peak of a movement I’ve been watching much more closely, of late: the strange, often conflicted and sometimes transcendent relationship between technology and fashion.

Welcome to Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.

(I may have suffered a bit of whiplash upon first reading the announcement. My eyes snapped back to the beginning of my Google Alert sheet, where I clicked and read about 15 blurb-y articles predicting “cutting edge fashions” and “nontraditional stylings” to appear on the red carpet.)

If you consider this annual spectacular to be the epitome of taste-making, the absolute and final arbiter of all things now — and believe me, many people do — this is big news. It’s time to make is Facebook official, folks: fashion and tech are dating. Pinned. Going steady. An item.

After a recent visit to the Museum of Fine Arts exhibit #Techstyle, with its look at everything from the latest fabric innovations and designer creativity to the way people interact with style and taste, I’m convinced that this relationship has staying power. Fashion hates to stagnate, and fears becoming lost and passe in an instant-access world. Technology provides the means necessary to keep up momentum, diversifying materials and expanding the very definition of what makes fashion a product of the people who wear it.

I used to hesitate, if asked my opinion on the direction it seems both high-end and mainstream fashion are taking. It’s easier to prevaricate than commit to passing judgement on something so massive, even though I’ve been leaning towards “cautiously optimistic” for some time. It seems the Met Gala has given people like me a sense of validation, that perhaps we’re not so crazy for dreaming of a wider, more expansive approach to an industry which, in the inimitable words of Miranda Priestly, “represents millions of dollars and countless jobs” and influences our daily lives.

More than anything except perhaps music, the things we choose to adorn our bodies have the ability to define our culture. The emerging fashion designer and MIT grad are no longer on opposite sides of the fence, but might even be one in the same. I can’t wait to see what they think of next.

 

Stay tuned for a follow-up post, after the evening’s festivities!

 

 

The Missing Mentor

Conventional wisdom states that in order to be successful in business, a person with little experience should seek out a person with lots of it, in order to obtain some sort of magical guidance/tutelage/oracle cocktail that will propel the budding young star into a galaxy far, far away.

Or something like that.

The truth is, long-term mentoring relationships are both rare and difficult to come by, particularly for anyone working as a minority of any kind in his or her field. Those partnerships take time, patience, and dedication to build and manage; the mentor and mentee need to feel equally invested in each other in order to sustain a mutual professional bond.

As a writer, I’m fortunate that many of my role models are relatively accessible people, at least in the sense that some of them are public figures and active industry leaders — I can always find their work, and with a bit of effort I can occasionally meet them in person at trade events. This doesn’t make them mentors in the traditional sense, but it provides some building blocks for my career direction that I wouldn’t otherwise have.

In addition, I find the good folks of the jewelry industry to be pretty forthcoming with advice, all things considered. There is the sense that a rising tide will lift all boats, and as I make forays into the realm of connection-building with an earnest desire to learn, I’ve received mostly warm welcomes from both men and women. (Mostly.)

Unfortunately, my immediate work sphere has no such people available. First of all, are exactly zero female “higher ups” at my current company of about 150. Nada. Goose egg. I work in an environment that is totally dominated by Category: Straight White Male, Subcategory: Privileged Millennial, and it shows.

You’d have to be fortunate enough to live off the grid in order to escape the genderized buzzwords of the modern tech world. I can #PowerPose, #LeanIn, #AskHerMore, and go #AllInForHer to my little heart’s content (I could even be married to a man who’s #HeforShe), but would Tweeting any of those get me closer to a tech exec? Unlikely.

In an odd twist, I’ve had about a half-dozen women at my own company go out of their ways to discuss this very issue with me. Keep in mind, I don’t work in HR or People Operations. Either those power poses are really working, or I’m simply much more outspoken against the downright absurd lack of women in general and in leadership in particular.

(True story: when I paraphrased The Notorious RBG’s famous quote about the number of women on the Supreme Court it will take to satisfy her — all of them — I got laughed at. Actually laughed at for daring to argue that all-female anything is not a crazy idea.)

So what’s the deal? There are many theories, but right now I’m eyeing the thoughts laid out in this post. Essentially, we might need to rethink our approach to the mentoring function entirely. While building a solid connection with a few select people should still be on the radar, it may be more beneficial to “create mentoring moments right around you.” This means paying attention to the people who are most easily accessible — yes, including your peers — and seeking out a more impromptu mentoring dynamic, easing some of the pressures that come with long-term relationships. This advice is founded in a pragmatic approach to the ways and means of business today.

My personal preference is still to pursue a more lasting bond, one that must be built on developing trust and a deeper understanding between the people involved. But perhaps it’s in my best interest (and the interests of women everywhere) to take the growth opportunities when we can get them.

P.S. The header photo is proof I’ve been Power Posin’ since 2008, folks.

MJSA Expo Recap: Spring Forward

Hello, NYC. We meet again! Your trains were under construction, your Ubers were late, and your weather threw a hissy fit… but your bagels are delicious, your architecture never fails to impress, and your impact on business was trending positive. So altogether, thanks again for confirming my love/hate affair.

This show was my second opportunity to stand on the other side of the counter, and I’m happy to report that it changes my love of trade shows not one bit. I managed to speak with some fascinating people, meet digital friends in real life, and even make progress in some personal goals — a successful outing by any standard.

One of my favorite things to do at shows is walk around a few times, sometimes stopping to say hello to old friends and make new ones, but often simply to observe how exhibitors and buyers are interacting. You catch some interesting things by casting a wide net, not seeking any particular insight.

For example, it seems that companies who make it their business to fully educate and build relationships (real ones) with their clients have a much more welcoming atmosphere at the booth, even when they’re swamped with people. When I watch a sales rep turn to a lurker and tell them, “I will be happy to explain this further, and you’re welcome to listen to what I’m saying to Ms. Smith here, just please give me a few more moments with her” I see an immediate change in that lurker’s body language. They adjust from a defensive, stop-ignoring-me-you-idiot posture into a polite and attentive listener, willing to wait because they’ve been prioritized.

On the other hand,  I myself stood at a booth full of reps for 4 minutes (yep, I counted) before my presence was even acknowledged. My badge was not immediately visible, so they had no way of knowing if I was a buyer, a competitor, or someone lost on her way to the food court. When someone finally came over, I was reading a piece of literature and he planted himself directly in front of me, crossed his arms, and said (I kid you not), “is there something you want?”

I’m not sure how successful that is as a sales tactic, but you can bet it didn’t go over well with me.

Like I said, you learn a lot walking the show and observing. I felt the overall pace was upbeat and sustained, despite some sleepy eyes on Day 1 due to the nation-wide inexplicable loss of an hour’s sleep. In speaking with a few well-respected and longtime industry salespeople, I learned that interest in a new and improved approach to doing business continues to grow.

It’s always nice to see nodding heads when I talk about integrating updated technologies with time-tested techniques, but I’m starting to see designers and retailers walk the walk. Many visitors to our booth had at least two generations in attendance, and more than one “Jr.” could be heard emphatically arguing in favor of the latest CADsoftware and CAM instrument while “Sr.” looked a little worried, a little confused, and not a little proud.

Spring forward: yes, it was a good trip after all.

 

No Dinosaurs Here

My dear jewelry friends and colleagues, I think it’s time we had a talk. A serious talk.

But first, please read this article, and take a few moments to give it some thought. Don’t worry, I’ll wait right here.

… All set? Welcome back. Now, let’s have that chat.

Did you notice the emphasized pull quote? If not, please go back and read it again (carefully this time).

In a single sentence, the primary issue facing the industry has been neatly summarized. The cause of those staggeringly bad statistics is staring us in the face. Few seem willing to admit it, and as Ms. Graff points out, nothing is going to happen unless businesses”change their business model to adapt to the demands of retail today.”

Are you paying attention, yet? Have you taken a long look at the sustainability of your current plan, your client base, the increasing demands for innovation? Most importantly, have you decided what you’re going to do about it?

I have long been known as a realist, with very little patience for a glass-half-full outlook (cockeyed optimist I am not). But I’m going to break from my own tradition here, and tell you all that this is not the end of the world. Well, it’s the end of the world as we’ve been operating it for the past several decades, but that not a bad thing. It’s a very, very good thing.

The jewelry industry is not going to die off in the manner of the dinosaur, comically staring down destruction as it hurtles towards us in a fireball of death. If we were to go, it would be by way of slow, painful starvation, the way endangered species dwindle and die off in depressing groups of hundreds.

I’m not going to let that happen. So, forget about it. I joined a company that can will help bring about great innovative changes to both the retail and wholesale/manufacturing side of things, but I don’t intend to simply sit back and watch it trundle along. This is not a time for ponderously slow growth, it’s absolutely time to seize the future with both hands and maybe a foot, dragging it along if we must.

Observe your business. Talk to your sales staff, bench workers, designers. Hell, sit down with the interns and the secretaries if you have them. Ask these interested parties what they love about what they do, then ask how they can personally help make things better. Consult your colleagues, and you’ll find willing listeners with wonderful, creative ideas. Talk about change and growth and new technology with some excitement in your voice, rather than the timid fear that so many feel when bringing up anything new.

I’m here to talk about this, too. I have so much more to learn, and I can only do that by being open about what I still don’t know (and need to know).

This post had a lot of talk, and maybe a call to action (can you here me now?). As jewelers, we are all keenly aware that under-promising and over-delivering is the only way to live — so now it’s time for me to do that. Let’s have breakfast at the shows, or Skype over coffee, and let’s begin to adapt and solve problems.

We’re too awesome to die out, people.

Note: not a real picture of a dinosaur. Photo credit to J. 

 

Adrift at Sea

I’ve tried to write (and re-write, and re-re-write) this post over the last week, and I think it’s time to admit something to you and to myself: I’m a little lost.

Changing jobs is always a precarious balance, particularly when we live in a world that often uses occupation to define who we are. Intellectually, I knew this. But I guess I just never thought about what it would feel like to lose my sense of definition and identity for a while.

I wrote just a few weeks ago about having the courage to make changes and sail off in a new direction, but right now I’m more like a rowboat caught between islands, unsure of my direction but unwilling to just row in circles.

As ridiculous as it sounds, I don’t know what to call myself anymore. For a few years I had a title, an easily understood introduction at parties, an actual noun to use when filling in the blank. It was comfortable and comforting to hide behind that title, because it allowed other people to understand me. Now I’ve had to leave that role behind, but haven’t replaced it with anything concrete — no meat, just spirits.

The wise amongst you will counsel me to embrace this lack of definition, and use it to expand my horizons and force myself to look beyond the job titles for something greater. You might even suggest that this is exactly what I should be doing at this stage in my life — loosening up, removing the rigid boundaries I set for myself, exploring the things I didn’t even know existed.

And you’re right.

But that doesn’t make this feeling go away, and it really doesn’t make the more practical consideration of introducing myself any easier. I can’t stop my natural craving for a label, even a strange-sounding one that requires explanation. I just haven’t come up with one yet (suggestions are welcome, creative friends).

I continue to explain to friends, family, and coworkers that I’m still very much a part of the jewelry world. If anything, my resolve to make an impact and breathe new life into this beloved industry has strengthened, and my drive has actually increased thanks to the bold new direction I’ve taken.

Still, I look forward to a time when a few more puzzle pieces of life will fall into place, giving me a peek at the bigger picture of my life.

Happy Trails

Everyone is familiar with the old chestnut, “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.” Usually it’s used in the context of loss — a person, a thing, a relationship — but I’d like to turn that around and apply it to losing a feeling.

Stress.

Of course, I knew I was stressed. I talked about being stressed, feeling stressed, and Oh, the ache in my shoulders! Everyone around me expressed concern, sometimes with sympathy but often with increasing frustration at my inability to truly grasp how unhealthy my life had become.

I was allowing the things in my life I hated most to completely control me, and I let it happen for far too long. I got so accustomed to the weight of the world on my shoulders that I couldn’t imagine daily life without it, so I stopped trying.

But no more! To paraphrase a truly terrible pop hit, I can breathe for the first time (yeah, yeah). Now that I’m moving past the horrors of leaving a job, moving, and starting a new job in the space of two weeks (not a path I recommend, by the way), the realization that I am in control of my life again is dawning. That weight has been lifted and it feels damn good.

In related news, prepare for a focus shift on this here blog. I still consider myself a member of the jewelry industry, but my attention will be directed toward the advancement and adoption of new technologies and how we as a group can move forward into a new era of creating, buying, and selling.

You’ll see the hashtag #womenintech popping up, alongside #jewelrypeople and of course #3dprinting. I’m still working on some sort of jewelry-tech hybrid hashtag (#3Diamonds?), and genius suggestions are welcome. Find me on other social channels and please do say hello! I’m busting out of the retail box and I’m ready to forge ahead, blazing new trails.

There’s a lot of hard work and excitement headed my way. Carpe opportunitatem!

 

True (Blue) Tech

Now that I’ve covered the philosophical angle of my recent life changes, it’s time to begin introductions for my exciting new focus: technology & jewelry.

If you’ve asked me about my industry at any point in the last few years, you probably got an earful about my frustrations with jewelry people’s tendency to ignore, withhold, refute, squelch, circumvent, or otherwise deny the demand for the adoption of new technologies. Everything from mining and manufacturing to sales and advertising is in desperate need of an update, of the kind that will integrate all the good stuff of the “old” ways — personal service, strong relationships, gemological & bench expertise — with the many benefits of the new and forward-thinking.

This is not to say that the industry doesn’t already utilize some of the wonders of today. Advances in laser welding, gemstone treatment, pearl farming, metallurgy, CAD/CAM, and e-commerce have been adopted to great effect, though not as universally as I would like. We’ve come a long way, but there is far to go.

Today’s customers are rapidly losing interest in a world they see as a paragon of by-gone ideals, and nostalgia only opens the wallet to far. I want to see an engaged clientele who demand excellence in service, quality, source transparency, and storytelling… you know, all the things we do best.

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Top to bottom: castable resin, rough casting, polished ring

So I have joined a company that is “new tech” to the core, with the goal of bringing their fresh-eyed approach to the world of jewelry. These people are smart, savvy, and looking to make an impact on how we make stuff (all kinds of stuff), which will have a massive impact on how we design, create, advertise, and sell stuff. Replace “stuff” with “jewelry” and you have my full attention and dedication.

What does this mean for my daily life? Well, more denim and flats (and fewer diamonds), for one thing! It means I can turn my focus to the building blocks of the industry, perhaps helping to affect change and influence the direction we take in the coming years. I want to see the jewelry industry emerge from years of tech denial and embrace the power of doing things in new ways in order to achieve long-term stability and growth. I want more people wearing beautiful things that are made well.

Buckle up, people. No more hiding behind half a century of how-it’s-always-been-done. Wake up and smell the lasers, folks — I’m coming for you.