I have been in Bangkok more weeks this year than ever in my life. Things there are really exciting. I use that word cautiously, as a ruby and sapphire buyer. ‘Exciting’ means, in reality, that the wholesale precious stone markets are in a bit of a chaotic state. There is a real shortage of fine quality stones. Demand is very strong, and prices are rising dramatically. This makes my job particularly difficult. Not only do I struggle to find top quality stones, but I then need to be sure that I am not overpaying for them. The only way to find out is to hold firm on my offering prices, and see if the sellers actually refuse my offers. If they do, then I have wasted time and not purchased the parcel that I like; but at the same time I will have educated myself on the reality of the price increases. I guess most people don’t consider that ‘exciting’, but then most people don’t enjoy the hassle of bargaining. (That’s why Shane Co. offers the right price to begin with, and we don’t bargain with our customers.)
Meanwhile, I also have been busy with our jewelry factory here in Bangkok. We are designing a new line of pendants, which will be out in a few months. I have been personally actively working on this line, and it will be unique. I am putting a French flair to it; and expect to generate a lot of excitement when this collection debuts.
We are also busy expanding my Couples Collection, as the demand for these unique styles of bridal and wedding jewelry has exceeded our expectations. We have an entire collection where the lady’s ring (or rings) is unique and feminine, and a man’s wedding band compliments it so people can see the similarities; yet at the same time the man’s ring is masculine and handsome. Finding the right balance is really tricky, and our customers love the tie-in between his and hers, yet don’t feel foolish like they are wearing matching outfits!
We continue to expand our fashion jewelry business at Shane Co., and I have been busy in Bangkok creating new products for that purpose. Our buying team just returned from Hong Kong, where they were at the world’s largest jewelry show. Besides the product that our own Bangkok factory produces, they buy most of our styles from the leading jewelry manufactures throughout the world. The styles we have in stock now demonstrate the fact that all of this travel and extra effort really does pay off, as our customers keep supporting our family business. And for that, my son Rordan (who runs things in America while I am in Asia) and I remain grateful.