Tom Shane's World

The Sun Comes Out in Bangkok

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I had a great week in Bangkok … got so much done.  My ruby and sapphire buy list is at 90% complete, and I still have a couple of days early next week to wrap it up.  Finally we will be able to be fully in stock with sapphire earrings in all colors and sizes.  Our lavender and green earrings were missing some sizes for the past few months, due to lack of availability on the market.  I am sorry if some customers were disappointed, but I believe it is better to disappoint a customer with what we don’t have, than to buy an inferior quality stone just to fill the list, and then disappoint the customer with what we do have.

Sitting in our ruby and sapphire buying office in Bangkok

Besides getting the stones that, in some cases, we have been missing for the past few months, I got a nice quantity of fancy colored sapphires in cushion and radiant cuts.  These are one of a kind, between ¾ of a carat and 1 ½ carats each.  My ex-wife, Bobbie, handles these one of a kind items for our Company.  Until last Friday, I was not able to find what she wanted; and then all of a sudden I got lucky.  Otherwise, I would have come back empty handed on her special request, and I hate to imagine what she would have done to me.  She’s already divorced me (but that was 30+ years ago).  Anyhow, those stones are spectacular, and will be in the stores in a few weeks.

This weekend has been peaceful, and I got caught up on some much needed R & R.  For those of you that have been to Bangkok, you know what I mean.  For anyone thinking of going over here, email me and I will look at your plans, maybe recommend a couple of things that most tourists don’t see.

The Japanese food I had for dinner last night was as fine as I have ever had. This is the re-opening of a place I used to hang out at, and the food is great again.  It was, and soon will be, a hot spot in the evenings as well.  They made a deal with one of the best modeling agencies, and the (mostly European, some local) girls get free food, in the bar.  So soon the place was crowded with guys…what a coincidence!   Not a bad business model.

Next week, I need to get back to my manufacturing and design center for at least a few hours, to work on some new designs for bridal sets.  This is a collection that will be very special, and we should have it in the stores within a few weeks.  We also have new fashion and gift items that I want to approve, so we can get them manufactured and distributed for the upcoming holiday season.  I love working there.  It is a six story building that we built a few years ago, and we really have a wonderful team.  They all love it when our American merchandisers come over there, and many of the Thai workers have trained in our corporate offices in Denver.  We really maintain our corporate culture there, which is not easy in any foreign country.  Our Thai workers are tuned in to the American customers that we get, and very proud of being able to be part of our team.  It shows up, in the superior quality of their work, which makes it all worth while for me.

I frequently take the elevated (‘skytrain’) public transportation, as well as the underground subway.  Both systems are great, and take you directly to most of the malls and shopping areas.  They are spotlessly clean, air conditioned, and very clearly signed in both English and Thai.  While crowded, everyone is polite, so you feel comfortable and secure.  Traffic is so bad on the roads, the worst in the world.  I have to drive to our factory as well as to the colored stone district; but otherwise it is easier and much quicker to use public transportation.  We can learn a lot about how even a very crowded city can function well, from the Thais.

Tom Shane is the owner of Shane Co., the largest family-owned retail jeweler in the United States. For four decades Tom has traveled the globe buying gemstones, including diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and pearls directly from the gem cutters for Shane Co. He is the third of four generations of the Shane family to work in the jewelry business. Tom started learning the jewelry business at his father’s side at age 12, assisting his father in his store. Tom opened his own jewelry business in 1971, establishing Shane Co. He was 22 years old at the time. In 1996 Tom was knighted into the order of Leopold II in the Kingdom of Belgium in recognition of his lifelong achievement in the diamond business. Tom currently resides in Colorado, but spends a great deal of his time abroad purchasing gemstones for Shane Co. You might know his voice from the Shane Co. radio ads which are the longest running radio ad campaign in history, or you might have caught him at a party with other Colorado celebrities in an episode of South Park.

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