The Jewelry District, Episode 34: Guest Matt Stuller

In This Episode
In this edition of The Jewelry District, you’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky and news director Rob Bates talk with Matt Stuller, founder and CEO of Stuller. They’ll be discussing how Matt got his start in the jewelry industry back in high school, his 50-year-old business, and the history of the jewelry industry.

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Show Notes
00:25 Rob and Victoria introduce Matt Stuller, founder and CEO of Stuller.
04:25 Matt explains how his company became one of the first to offer overnight delivery.
08:40 Victoria asks Matt what has changed in the industry over the years.
12:55 2020 has been quite challenging for the jewelry industry; Matt explains how his business came out OK.
18:18 Rob asks about Stuller’s business model; Victoria asks what advice Matt would give to his 19-year-old self.

Episode Credits
Hosts: Rob Bates and Victoria Gomelsky
Editor: Olivia Briley
Producer and engineer: Natalie Chomet

Show Recap

Introducing Matt Stuller
Victoria and Rob introduce their guest this week: Matt Stuller, the founder, CEO, and chairman of Stuller, who is calling in from Lafayette, La. Matt chats about how he started his company. Back in high school, he started working for a local retail jeweler. Matt then tells the story of the years that followed, from selling out of the trunk of his car, to becoming a traveling salesman all over the Southeast, to starting his own manufacturing company.

Overnight Delivery
Rob asks Matt about his company’s name change, from Stuller Settings to Stuller, in the early 1980s. Matt then explains how he worked with FedEx to become one of the first companies to provide overnight delivery. Stuller really worked to speed up the supply chain in the jewelry industry at a time that it was slow, and Matt worked to make his company one that jewelers saw as reliable.

Changes in the Industry
Victoria mentions that the Stuller facility is 600,000 square feet—but Matt emphasizes what matters is the service the company provides, and not the size of its building. Victoria then asks what in the industry has changed over the years. Matt says the industry’s core value of celebrating life events has remained the same, but he thinks pretty much everything else has changed. He also recalls how jewelry stores used to sell luxury items other than jewelry, such as when Zales sold TVs.

How 2020 Is Shaping Up Despite A Cyberattack
Victoria asks who Matt’s most successful customers have been this year. Matt believes the industry did very well as a whole, and that it had many great months in 2020. He also says people have to live with faster changes in our world or their businesses will risk suffering consequences. Matt says Stuller is doing better than it did the previous year, but it’s been the hardest year to date in its 50-year history, and that the worldwide supply chain is badly damaged. They also briefly discuss the recent cyberattack on Stuller, but Matt is proud to say that the company was back up and selling in just four days, more quickly than it had anticipated.

Business Model and Advice
Rob asks about Stuller’s business model. Matt says its model of catering wholesale to independent retailers rather than to big accounts has been the same since the company’s start in 1970. He emphasizes that he never wanted jewelers to feel like Stuller was their competition. Victoria asks what Matt would tell his 19-year-old self. Rob asks Matt what he sees as being the future of his business.

(Photo courtesy of Stuller)

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