Great personality + extensive jewelry knowledge + sense of humor = Barbara!
She is also very humble about being one of the top saleswomen in our industry and very very genuine. I say that without knowing her well, I say that from reading through the lines in her blog.
Barbara, you have come a long way since rejecting “the bucket of steam” from the interview that changed your life – WOW!
Barbara’s blog is a reflection of her personality imbued with her sense of humor, to read it is to laugh and to enjoy the perks of our trade.
Josette: You had a pretty interesting start in the jewelry business working as a runner within the jewelry district of Philadelphia, learning all the facets of the trade and meeting all the people that are part of it. Was it coincidence that you picked this particular ad in the help wanted section to start your journey in the jewelry industry?
Barbara: (WARNING: cliche coming) I’m a firm believer in the old saying, “everything happens for a reason.” Coincidence, it likely was, but I believe you are in charge of your own destiny. Prior to answering that ad I had been a buyer for a local menswear chain in Philly so I was used to working with a mostly male clientele. I grew up with a stay-at-home dad and two older brothers so working with guys wasn’t difficult for me. When I saw the ad I thought, “Selling jewelry to men can’t be much more difficult than selling jeans to them. How hard could it be?” Clearly there is a major difference between diamonds and denim, but the backbone of the sale remains the same: if you believe in what you’re selling, they’ll believe it, too. There’s no hiding your feelings. The truth will be written all over your face.
Josette: You are in sales, and marketing, you are a people’s person, you are part of WJA and perhaps some other organizations. What advice would you give to a young person, an outsider starting in sales and marketing in the jewelry industry?
Barbara: Be genuine. To reiterate what I said above, if you believe in it, you can sell it, because as I have to remind myself daily, LIFE IS SALES. If you don’t believe in the product you’re pushing, then you’re with the wrong brand, or carrying the wrong line. But you must also remember that you are a part of the sale. People aren’t just buying what you’re selling; they’re buying you, as well. They’re buying a relationship with you, and possibly even a friendship, so if you don’t show the real you, they’ll see right through it and that will damage your chances. Be sincere, and when necessary, humble. And if for some reason you screw up somewhere along the line, show humility. There is nothing people respect more than a person who admits their mistakes. Oh, and bring doughnuts. People like doughnuts. Never, ever, show up without doughnuts.
Josette: You describe yourself as a blogger, a humorist, a Tolkien reader and a shoe buyer extraordinaire, you write a blog for people with jewelry on the brain, you are director of business development for Gumuchian. How do you juggle all this and 2 kids?
Barbara: Good gracious, Josette… I’ve never really looked at it all written down like that before. My word, how DO I do it??? I’m kidding, clearly. The truth is, you are only as good as your support system and I happen to have the best in the man I call my husband. When I’m traveling for Gumuchian, he’s there to take care of our children. When I write a blog post, he’s there as my editor. And when it all gets too overwhelming, he’s there as my rock which is the most important role he plays. On top of all that, I watch very little television; maybe two hours max per week. I get up early and go to bed late and on the days that something falls through the cracks – like forgetting my son’s “Pajama Day” at school or not reading the expiration date on the milk jug – I forgive myself. That’s super important, I think. I think it’s okay to be human; to cry when necessary or scream on occasion. I’ve succumbed to the fact that as humans we are capable of so much, yet still, not everything. Once you accept that, you can almost become invincible.
Josette: What legacy would you like to have in “Jewelville”?
Barbara: That’s a great question and it’s one that really made me think. I guess, when all is said and done, as I sit in my rocking chair on some porch somewhere in Savannah, I would be content knowing that people remembered me as someone who made them laugh. I’d be happy knowing that my colleagues thought that I was funny, and fun to be around. As you know, my blog is largely centered around humor because I felt that a funny jewelry blog was a concept still mostly untouched. There are several educational jewelry blogs full of information with gorgeous pictures and facts galore, and people in our industry love that stuff; they eat it up. But not everyone is a student. Meaning, in school, you used to have the kids who were great at studying and then you had the kids who goofed off a bit and barely got by. I guess my blog goes after the latter (not that the former doesn’t read it) and speaks to those who like a little learning with their comedy. That’s the mark I’d like to leave. I want to be remembered as the funny jewelry blogger.
Thank you Barbara for being a part of my blog, I hope we will finally meet at the trade show!