Tom Shane's World
In Memory of Harry Boeki
On a very sad note, my dear friend Harry Boeki passed away. He was my diamond agent in Antwerp for 30 years, and began the working relationship with my late uncle, Claude Shane, in the 1960’s. He taught me about diamonds, and about integrity. His picture is in our stores, working with Claude’s son, my cousin Robbie. Harry was my mentor, and much of our company’s success is due to the lessons he taught me. When I was 22 years old he taught me my first lesson about considering a parcel of diamonds. Understand that diamonds are presented in a ‘parcel paper” which is a large folded paper. The stones are inside, so one must carefully unfold the paper, to see the contents. I expected something technical, like a gemologist would do. Instead, he taught me that when I first open a parcel of diamonds, if they are ‘for me’ they will smile at me. If not, I should simply close (fold up) the parcel paper, return it to the owner, and simply tell him that they are not for us. Even today, when I look at colored stones in Bangkok, I make a quick assessment of each parcel’s contents. Only if it smiles at me will I invest the time to examine each stone, to hand pick the ones that meet our standards, within the parcel. Harry will be missed
Our philosophy at Shane Co. is simple. The best retailers, in any field, know their customers. They know what the customer will want (style, quality, price, etc.) and they recognize that it is their job to have the right product in the store. When our customers come into one of our stores, we know they have driven (sometimes a couple of hundred miles from a small town), frequently across town, to come to us. We must anticipate their desires, and have it in stock for them. Otherwise, they will be disappointed, and even question if their drive was worth the effort. All of our home office people never lose sight of that fact, and the results speak for themselves. Our customers typically leave our store smiling.
I don’t tell you this to make an advertisement. But this philosophy plays into each action and decision that I take. In Hong Kong, we focus on quality as well as style and price, with our jewelry vendors. We also demand that they produce things that are unique for us. Picking our diamonds by hand, as well as the rubies and sapphires (which I personally do, in Bangkok) guarantees that the quality is there. I wish it were practical to just order by mail, or buy over the internet…but each stone has to be examined and selected (or rejected, as the case is) by hand. We care where the imperfections are located in each stone, not just the grade.
I drove from Denver to Beaver Creek Sunday afternoon, and returned to Denver Monday. Seeing the golden leaves of the aspen trees reminded me of why I love Colorado so much. Sitting in the mountains is a great place for me to escape to, whether I am thinking of ways to improve the Company or just to write this blog. Thanks for the favorable comments, to those of you who have submitted them. The more I hear from our friends, the more relevant I shall endeavor to make these blogs.