October 03, 2008
The Bend In The River
The bend in the mighty Ohio near Warsaw KY
The weather doesnt get much better than it has been these last few days. Brilliant blue skies and cool nights with warm sunny days. My walks with Annabelle in the mid mornings are the higlight of my days. I will be able to walk her at home but there are not the blocks and block of sidewalks and the golf cart paths that surround Indian Springs. I will have a hilly gravel strew road that is more difficult and the least bit of wet weather makes them impossible for me and my long coated little friend. But this is the way we need to go at least for now.
I have been working on my business plan several hours a day. My new computer is great and I ordered my accounting softwear from industry business guru David Geller. He asked me a lot of very pointed questions one of them being, what was I going to do about all of the various types of work that I am not able to do on my own...such as work in platinum a highly specialized side of the trade that requires a compleatly separate set up, or unusual antiques that require knowlegable handling. David directed me to a firm located near Cincinatti. I drove up there this week.
I was warmly received by the CEO of what may be the largest Trade Shop I have ever heard of. Over 100 jewelers and related trades people doing work for jewelry stores from accross the country. I saw detailed security measures and an operation that seemed to me to be efficient and very very professional. I should have no misgivings about sending them any work I cant handle on my own.
I told the new accounts rep that "if I looked like a woman that has been given her life back... I am." Truth is my dream was headed for a brick wall. The people I met with said that I was a bold person to continue with my quest in the face of the Conner's debacle and the fact that no one with so little experience could be expected to do what I want to do well at this point in their carrer. It would be like having a first year piano student play Beethoven's Piano Concerto with the LA Philharmonic Orchestra. Its not my fault that I am where I am I just need to practice and expand my abilities, this will allow me to do that while opening my business and starting the cash flow forward.
This has changed the direction of my business plan. Rather than focus on just repair and not take custom work,I am going to focus on custom orders, and to do that I need to build out and make the shop look good so people will have confidence in spending their hard won money there. My casting finishing and setting skills are good so I feel good about the plan. I can buy waxes very cheaply and if the customer brings their own gold or silver I can do a special order rather inexpensively for the customer yet have a generous margin to support myself... I wont get rich, but I will be independent and that is what I am looking for.
Many people have asked me if I though that with the recent economic turmoil did I think that this was really the time to start a business. I think its the best time. With business down vendors are more willing to come down on prices and work hard to earn my business and my trust. My future customers want to fix their precious things because buying new is too expensive. Also when times are hard sentiment becomes more important. Grandma's wedding ring becomes the ring given to her grandson's new bride, or family jewelry or watches are refirbished and become cherished gifts.
What many people dont realize is that jewelers and jewelry stores thrived during the Great Depression and WWII. Oh, things were not as extravigant as perhaps things are now. But the bread and butter of any shop is the same today as it was 75 years ago. Nice gifts, that celebrated special occasions... milestones in peoples lives. Wedding jewelry, Anniversary gifts and up until the advent of the specialty/Big Box/Discounter, "Table Top" China, Silver, and Crystalware... My mother told me of what an event it was in her family when she as a high school seinor went to the local jewelry store and registered her patterns and had lunch with her mother. A rite of passage we dont have today. She never got one of those peices, but I still have the tiny silver serving spoon pin she received as a gift....
Many of the super jewelers of today got their start as small family shops founded prior or just after WWII. Talk about a struggle! Every store that I have had the privilege to spend a lot of time in has a story that tells of risk taking and courage... and yes a bit of sacrifice for the family, but it was worth it and I am willing to take on the challenge, to gain the independence that I feel I need to be the person God means me to be.
There will be bends in the river...places where I cant see the way before me. I am trying to learn to trust God every step of the way. He makes a way for me everytime, just in time in ways I never expect.
The Great Stream The Ohio River near Warsaw KY
Labels: Artisans Fine Jewelry Repair, Business start up, IN, Kentucky, Louisville