You’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky and news director Rob Bates talk with Alexis Padis, president of San Francisco–based Padis Jewelry.
00:30 Alexis tells the story of how she got into the industry.
08:25 Victoria asks Alexis what the best and worst parts are about working in a family business.
10:44 Alexis talks about the effect the pandemic has had on Padis.
15:21 Alexis expresses worry over the next generation of jewelers.
22:56 Victoria asks about sustainability in her store; Rob asks about Forevermark.
Hosts: Rob Bates and Victoria Gomelsky
Producer and engineer: Natalie Chomet
Plugs: Padis Jewelry, jckonline.com, @jckmagazine
Introducing Alexis Padis
Victoria and Rob’s guest today is Alexis Padis, president of Padis Jewelry. Alexis is one of four kids, and she’s the only one who ended up joining the family business after spending time in an entirely different industry. She tells the story of how after selling an engagement ring to one couple she decided she had to get into the jewelry industry herself. She explains how her parents got into the industry as well. Her dad dropped out of medical school to become a jeweler. While selling puka shells, he met Alexis’ mom on the job when he started to buy clasps wholesale and she was the distributor.
The Best and Worst of a Generational Business
Victoria asks Alexis what the best and worst parts are about working in a family business. Alexis says the best and worst parts are the same: getting to know her parents as people. While some may put their parents on a pedestal when only seeing them at family gatherings, Alexis sees her parents all the time and has gotten to know them not only as generous, wonderful, and energetic people—but also as savvy business operators. She enjoys knowing her parents on this new level but needs to separate family from business. Alexis runs the front of the house and makes sure every location feels equal and has what it needs.
The Effects of the Pandemic
Alexis became president in March 2019, and Victoria asks how she navigated that experience. Alexis explains how once 2020 came along, California was shut down, and retailers couldn’t open their stores, so they ended up doing a pop-up store. She says 2020 and 2021 were successful business years, but when things were shutting down, it was quite the whirlwind. She learned to meet the consumers where they were with an omnichannel approach.
Where Are The Future Bench Jewelers?
Alexis expresses why she thinks it’s important for those already in the industry to mentor younger generations just entering the jewelry industry. She expresses concern about the loss of bench jewelers. Alexis has incredible retail experience on the sales floor but doesn’t have the bench skills that her father has. She fears there might not be a future generation of artisanal jewelry-makers if places like the Revere Academy continue to close. Alexis also talks about the opening of her Napa, Calif., store during the pandemic.
Sustainability And De Beers
Victoria asks Alexis, given that she is in San Francisco, one of the most progressive cities in the country, how many eco-conscious shoppers she has. Alexis says they have conversations about sustainability on the sales floor every day, initiated by both the consumers and Padis. Luckily, with Forevermark, they can tell their customers they know exactly where their diamonds have been, from mine to finger. Rob asks Alexis about having the only Forevermark store in the United States and her opinions on incorporating the De Beers name into Forevermark. Victoria asks Alexis what is on her radar for 2022.
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