“I know the problems you face in the jewelry industry, the competition from chain stores, the Internet, fake diamonds, new technologies, and other challenges. But change is inevitable. Embrace it. Don’t focus on what you don’t have. Focus on what you have and how you can make it an asset. Rethink and reinvent. If you can’t do it one way, do it another.”
That was the advice that entrepreneur, author, and entertainer Suzanne Somers gave a ballroom audience of about 400 people in her keynote address that opened The JCK Show ~ Las Vegas. The opening session was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, to which, for the first time, The JCK Show has been extended.
Somers also urged her retail audience to focus on women self-purchasers, not men “who I see so much jewelry advertising addressing.”
Dressed in a tan summer dress and perched on a white stool at center stage, the blonde and pretty Somers, 60, addressed her rapt audience in a casual, entertaining—and often fervent—conversational manner, as though talking with a group of friends (and later answering questions from them), speaking primarily to the women in the audience.
Somers is one of America’s most popular personalities, with a multifaceted career spanning nearly three decades as an actress, singer, comedienne, New York Times bestselling author, lecturer, jewelry designer, entrepreneur, and businesswoman. Her Suzanne Somers Jewelry Collection on the Home Shopping Network is among HSN’s top sellers. She also has created other successful brands, including ThighMaster personal fitness products; Somersize food products; and apparel, skin, and hair care products. She has also written 17 books.
Somers used her personal experiences during that many-sided career to offer lessons she has learned and applied. She told how she rebounded from various obstacles—including being fired from the Three’s Company TV comedy; a decline in her Las Vegas career after being voted Top Entertainer of the Year; the glut of infomercials that deflated her own ThighMaster infomercial, one of the first; competition to her jewelry line; and health and hormonal changes—and how each provided a new direction to a successful endeavor. The decline in the infomercial, for example, led her to take ThighMaster products to the Internet, where they continue to be successful. Competition to her best-selling jewelry on HSN led to Suzanne Somers Parties (similar to Tupperware home parties), where her jewelry is also sold.
“Being fired from Three’s Company gave me a larger career than I would have had as a sitcom actress,” she said. “It led to all the other things I have done, because I learned to reassess and reinvent each time.
“So, don’t focus on what you don’t have. Focus on what you have and how you can make it an asset,” as she did, for example, when she “realized my name as a celebrity was something tangible I could use.”
Much of Somers entertaining talk dealt with health issues—especially hormonal changes in women and men as they age—and her advocacy of “bio-identical hormones,” which some doctors say can restore hormonal health. “If you’re out of gas, if you’re not as sharp as you were, you won’t be as sharp in your business you want to be,” she said. “Without health, all the money in the world is meaningless.”
She also urged jewelers to rethink who they’re selling to. “Don’t direct your women’s jewelry ads at men anymore,” she advised. “They only buy jewelry anyway at Christmas or an anniversary or birthday—and not always what the woman wants.
“Redirect your advertising to women. We work hard, we earn our own money. Give women permission to treat ourselves and get what we want.
“We get so stuck in our thinking” she noted, “doing it the way we always have. But we have to keep connecting the dots [from challenges to new opportunities]. The moment we think we know it all and have done it all, we’ve become arrogant and stupid. There are always new dots to connect and new opportunities.”