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.