Do you ever think about how you fit into your market?
Everyone would no doubt like to think of themselves as the best or
the biggest or the whatever-est. I’ve got this friend in the trade
who keeps pushing for me to upsize by a substantial margin, and would
help support that effort. Bigger, fancier showroom, much bigger
inventory, higher price points, the whole nine yards of a couture
operation. I know I have the skills to do it given sufficient capital
and determination. “Neil, 80% of the jewelers I deal with who have
expanded are doing well”. That’s funny, I hear just the opposite from
another trade friend.
If I did it I would cease to be the benchie (which I like) and would
become the ‘manager’. That’s going to change me, and I know because I
have been there. When times were good they were very good indeed.
When they weren’t, it bordered on hell…all that responsibility. I
figure people come here because of what I can do on the bench, and
they like to deal with ‘me’. Are they going to still come when I’m in
a three piece suit with an immaculate manicure and gasp a haircut?
And hand off the work to an assistant? So there goes my advantage. Or
does it? Do I care since I’d potentially be making much better money?
For jewelers out there who may be pondering a change of any
sort…what would make you do it? What would prevent you? If you are
a hands-on craftsperson like me, do you think it would work to hire a
store manager and staff and you stay on the bench? Is there enough
time for that, given that you still would have to review everything?
For jewelers who have already done it…was it worth it?
I’m sorry. I started out to ask a broad question and wound up
narrative again. Old habits die hard.