Editor’s Cut: May 2011 It’s All Relative

In the May 2011 installment
of It’s All Relative,

Don Blakeman and his sons, Josh and Ben, had more to say that didn’t quite fit
on a single page. Read some additional succession planning quotes from the
gents at Blakeman’s Fine Jewelry. 

Don Blakeman

Blakeman’s Fine Jewelry

Rogers, Ark.

62, first generation

Josh Blakeman

Blakeman’s Fine Jewelry

Rogers, Ark.

35, second generation

Ben Blakeman

Blakeman’s Fine Jewelry

Rogers, Ark.

25, second generation

Words of Wisdom

Don: My father worked in a GM
factory. Throughout his life I can say that he worked harder than I have. We
never had any real serious discussions about my career. But my parents always
emphasized not taking things too seriously. They also gave me a lot of freedom
to pursue my own choices in life. I think that’s what gave me the confidence
needed to get me where I am today.

Josh: I always remember my
father saying, “eat the big frog first.” For me that meant getting the bigger
or less desirable projects done first and then get to the easier tasks.  

Ben: My father always says,
“No matter what comes our way, it isn’t terminal.” We know that even if
something terribly wrong happens to our business, we have the people,
experience, and ambition to start over, no matter what shape or size that
takes. 

Family Matters

Don: I’m
very blessed. Not only are both my sons working in the family store, but their
career interests are polar opposites. Ben is in front of the business with
marketing and sales and Josh is behind the bench bringing our shop up to
full-scale capacity to do more custom and to develop our own collection of
jewelry. This avoids the problem of them vying for the same jobs and positions
us well for the future with each one assuming different leadership roles
that’ll advance the family business. 

Josh: I
take after my mother. She used to be a painter who worked with oil paints. She
was actually pretty good at it. She also did some jewelry designs and counter
sketches. I don’t consider myself an artist, but I think this is where my
creative side comes from.

Ben: I
definitely take after my father. Family members, friends and even customers see
it. We often hear them saying, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”