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Head-On #3: A Risk-Averse Stance Is Strangling Our Industry |  March 02, 2017 (4 comments)


Merrick, NY--Imagine a world where gutsy entrepreneurs can place bets on exciting new ideas and often make a killing while others watch with envy. They live, breathe, eat and sleep their markets; know their customers as well as they know themselves and possess an innate sense of what they can and can’t sell.

These are the kind of entrepreneurs I used to hear about in my early days in the industry in the ‘80s. Vendors would marvel at how they would negotiate hard for the best price, but would “buy everything in my bag” and pay on the spot!

We don’t hear these stories anymore. 

Instead we hear a litany of concerns from vendors that payments are slow in coming and laments from buyers that much of their merchandise doesn’t turn fast enough to be profitable and that they have too much inventory in general. The banks are steering clear. And most industry players agree that opening new accounts has become more and more rare each year, which means fewer and fewer new ideas are given a chance.

So what’s worse? Fear of going out of business because one can’t take a risk or fear of going out of business because one lost on a bet? I say the former is worse. Entrepreneurs take risks. Considered ones, but risks, regardless.

Pundits say “No Risk, No Reward,” “No Pain, No Gain” and “It Takes Money to Make Money,” and I agree with all of these sayings.

So while it may seem that business is challenging, there are major opportunities today for real entrepreneurs:

The vendor who is willing to take a true risk and partner on a new effort with a good retailer. The retailer who makes it a habit of investing in jewelry product ideas they believe in and as a result builds one successful new revenue stream after another. Because they are more the rarity, these vendors and retailers get great PR in the industry as their names are enthusiastically passed on to eager peers.

Life is a short and hopefully exciting ride and there is no need for everything to be guaranteed. So when faced with a choice, be that Jewelry Entrepreneur.

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Comments (4):

Great points Howard.  Love it! Take chances or Die!

By Ron Yates on Mar 2nd, 2017 at 8:36pm

Howard, I absolutely agree with you. I’ve noticed this as a trend for a number of years . . . long before I decided to get into the wholesale world. Customers want something new, yet retailers and galleries seem unwilling to take the chance.

Individuals love my designs, my art jewelry, and wonder why my work isn’t in more places. I would love to “partner” with a good retailer to build a successful revenue stream for us both!

Thank you for bringing this to light!

By Valerie Ostenak on Mar 7th, 2017 at 11:33pm

I agree. It’s fascinating (and sad) to see how much of our industry is driven by fear. Luckily, we’ve found some fantastic jewelry entrepreneurs. It’s fun to work with them and watch both of our businesses grow.

By Travis Isaacson on Mar 8th, 2017 at 7:34pm

Thanks for all of your amazing comments!—Howard

By Howard Hauben on Mar 16th, 2017 at 11:35am

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