Meet the Designer: Lecil Henderson

From time to time, we are fortunate enough to host the designers from some of our favorite lines here in the store. These events are very special for both our customers and for ourselves, because they allow a kind of access and interaction that’s virtually unheard of in most industries (how often did Steve Jobs personally sell an iPad?). Who better to educate us and sell the pieces than the designer himself or herself?

We recently hosted one of my favorite industry people (in general) and favorite jewelry designers (in particular): Lecil Henderson of the Henderson Collection and LUCA by Lecil. This gentleman is a well-known man about town, so to speak, and for every good reason imaginable: unfailingly polite, incredibly knowledgeable, and chock full of stories and anecdotes from his 30-year career in the business.

Lecil travels around the world bringing his designs to store events like ours, many of the largest and best trade shows, and of course he visits his factories in Italy where the pieces themselves are hand-crafted. He has an extremely loyal following, and his work exemplifies thoughtful, painstakingly-detailed design and the best quality Italian craftsmanship.

I feel extremely lucky to spend even a brief time in the presence of this guy — every time we’ve met I have learned something new about his products, design concept & inspiration, or the industry as a whole. I’m not sure I was able to express my appreciation for the time he takes to make every single person he meets feel like his closest friend, but the huge success of his beautiful pieces pretty much speaks for itself.

A few more pictures for your viewing pleasure:

The Storm: Before and After

Whomever pioneered the concept of the “calm before the storm” was probably highly observant of the weather, but definitely did not work retail.

I have always found that large-scale events in the B2C world begin long before the advertised dates, and that the preparation and planning stress often outstrips the challenges of the event itself. Perhaps that’s good in a way, as it allows the frenetic energy to dissipate so workers can settle down and concentrate on being effective and active when it matters most.

In my own work history, I’ve been a member of both large-scale store grand opening teams and (more recently) non-closure liquidations, and find the preparations similarly hectic and equally exhausting. The events themselves have very different tones, of course, but both involve high levels of attention to detail, energy expenditure, and precise time management. That’s a deadly combination that directly affects personal sanity and team morale, and can turn even the most even-tempered worker into a hair-triggered nail-biting workaholic (a.k.a. me).

Something new to my experience is the difference in post- event recuperation. After a grand opening event, the store begins normal, day-to-day operations very quickly because it must, in order to establish solid working practices that will continue into the future. But an established business that essentially interrupts itself to run a special event seems to take a different kind of recovery approach, where things return slowly to normal and any changes are integrated into daily routine over a period of time.

From my perspective, special events provide some of the best, most concentrated forms of high-intensity training: when you’re forced to learn, adapt, and think quickly and efficiently, you can apply those skills to future work in a way that can only enhance effectiveness. I have certainly acquired new skills and polished old ones during the aforementioned recent event, particularly related to stress management, task prioritizing, and delegation (my coworkers are rockstars**, for the record). Nobody enjoys learning that you can’t do it all on your own, but the lesson is certainly a lasting one.

With this experience behind me, I can finally focus on the next big event in my career: attending my first industry show! At the moment I’m every combination of excited/nervous/anticipatory/stressed/didImentionexcited, but most of all I’m humbled by the opportunity and grateful to the people who are allowing me the chance to reach a goal I’ve held for quite a while.

I love me some terrible puns, and one of my favorites that I like to tell customers is how multifaceted this job and industry can be (oh c’mon, it’s funny!). But joking aside, the many and varied jobs-within-jobs are what keep me glued to this work. And though I may be occasionally convinced that it will kill me, I love it just the same.

**Rockstars. Get it? Get it??!! 🙂

Silver and Gold… and Rose?

Did I really start a new blog just before the holiday season, thinking I’d have enough spare time to post somewhat consistently? Rhetorical question. Nonetheless I’m back again, and this time with some news and some commentary.

First, the news: store celebration events are hard work, and I’m about done in. Mr. Esteemed Owner is retiring, and his equally Esteemed Daughter is taking over — therefore, we must celebrate with massive, never-before-seen discounts! Spectacular news for our lovely customers, for sure, and a complete black hole of exhaustion for us worker bees. Still, the beat goes on, and we’ve been selling and meeting new people every day. Success!

Now, the commentary (and portion of this post that actually relates to the title): while platinum holds the top spot in most jewelry — bridal, in particular — for metal of choice, there will always be a special place in my heart for gold. Thanks to its very nature, gold can be added to in many ways to turn it some pretty fascinating colors. On the floor right now we have white (of course), blue, chocolate, and black gold. Like many jewelers, we also have a nice selection of my personal favorite, rose gold, the pinkish to redish mixture of copper and gold.

Perfect for almost any skin tone, rose gold is the ideal mix of traditional (hello, 19th-century Russia, the mid-Victorian period, then hello 1920!) and ultra-modern. It is decidedly feminine, but when offset with white or even yellow-white-rose tri-tone jewelry, it provides a perfect neutral metallic. Right now, of course, it’s everywhere, and I couldn’t be more ecstatic.

I wear it daily, in the forms of a beautiful watch and a custom-made, hand-hammered bangle from our Queen Goldsmith. Many customers comment, and often notice that I wear it right alongside my white and yellow metal pieces. I consider myself living proof that mixing metals can be done in a tasteful, modern, and (dare I say) chic way, and it seems that many customers are happy to follow the leader.

While we tend to recommend that white diamonds be set in white to better enhance their color, I find that diamonds in rose gold don’t pick up any unwanted tones. Rose gold is very soft and subtle, and does not need the kind of upkeep that white gold requires. It’s also still fairly unique in the market, and so a great choice for the more non-traditional jewelry wearer.

Do you have a preferred metal color in your jewelry? How do you feel about mixing these beautiful colors? Inquiring minds want to know!