Tom Shane's World

Bangkok: A Home Away From Home

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Now that I have settled back to normal life here in Bangkok, I can relax.  The Hong Kong jewelry show was really fantastic for us as a company.  From the Shane Co. Denver office we had our two most-senior merchandising executives at the jewelry show, our three top jewelry fashion buyers, two of our senior merchandise executives, two of our jewelry designers from our Bangkok factory, plus Rordan and I.  Imagine coordinating eleven people’s schedules for five days of non-stop meetings!  We averaged no more than three together, so there were four teams of us, running around.  We picked up some great new style concepts to produce in-house, and we saw several hundred new styles that we will carry.  Ours is a fashion business, and we must keep the styles ahead of the fashion curve…yet respect the reality that our customers want to be able to wear them for years and not worry that they look dated.  This is a real team effort.

Back in Bangkok, life seems to be more normal for me.  I’ve had dinners with friends some nights, business dinners other nights.  Days are spent either in our own factory working on production and jewelry design issues or at our ruby and sapphire buying office.  In the next couple of weeks I will need to find thousands of sapphires and rubies.  But that is my favorite part of my work day.  Even the weekends are busy for me, catching up on my emails and otherwise trying to keep things in our American stores booming.  My focus remains on building for the future, by always improving our systems, training, merchandising, etc.  I am glad that I can oversee it from here in Bangkok.  I think I get the best of both worlds.

I was amazed at the changes in both Hong Kong and Bangkok.  Even though I am here eight times a year, it seems that both cities keep getting larger each time I am here.  More traffic, more spectacular modern buildings under construction, more new and expensive cars on the roads, etc.  But at the same time, the cities feel cleaner…air, lack of litter, etc.  People are better dressed in both cities, each time.  It feels less like the Asia I knew years ago, and more like somewhere easy to feel at home in.  The world is truly flat!

 

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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