3 Questions With…Marvin Beasley

On March 17, Marvin Beasley, former chairman of ­Helzberg Diamonds, become president and CEO of ­moissanite manufacturer Charles & Colvard Ltd., replacing Randy McCullough, who is retiring. Beasley has served on the company’s board since 2009.

JCK: You have been retired since 2009. Is this an interim position?

Marvin Beasley: I wouldn’t have taken this if it was an interim thing. I don’t like those kinds of things. I don’t have a time frame. It will take a while to do what I want. Obviously, at 71, I don’t think it’s going to last 20 years. Though my old friend [Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman] Charlie Munger keeps marching on at 91. But I don’t think there are many Charlie Mungers.

JCK: What are your goals?

Beasley: First, I want to see us produce profitable sales. Obviously, we need to improve our top line. We need to improve our gross margin. We need to improve our merchandise and marketing. I’m not saying it’s awful; Randy is a seasoned veteran. But sometimes a fresh set of eyes sees things that could be improved.

We have an inventory issue. It is extraordinarily high. That has happened for a number of reasons, but it’s the case. We need to do something about that. By the end of the year, we will improve our inventory position. I do believe that.

Lulu Avenue is our home-party concept. It’s hard to do, and I think that’s why it’s good for us to do. We have invested heavily into it. It’s a hockey-stick thing, and when it bounces, it bounces really strong. We have every intention of making it work.

JCK: Your patent for moissanite expires this ­summer. What will that mean?

Beasley: Some pressure will come to bear this summer. We have already seen some product produced in China and possibly India. It looks like the product that [supplier] Cree was producing in 1995. It’s of poor quality, included, and very dark. That is where Cree started with it, and they have been doing this for 20 years. It’s a hard thing to do.

That’s why I’m glad we have a brand name: Charles & Colvard genuine moissanite. We will continue to promote that. Being different is important.

We are ready for it. It will be an interesting experience, the next phase of our journey. It may not be a bad thing. It may raise awareness and lift all boats.

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