Meet the Manufacturers

In the jewelry industry, supplier-retailer relationships take many forms. Some are little more than a voice on the phone or a face across the counter of a tradeshow booth, someone with whom you do business but have little personal interaction. Others start out that way but grow into genuine friendships. And more than a few of these friendships are next-generation continuations of the relationships that one’s parents, or even grandparents, began.

For 140 years, JCK and its forebears have been woven into the fabric of our industry. As part of our anniversary year, we celebrate the rich personal history of our industry by bringing you a more intimate look at some of your peers and a glimpse of who they are beyond the counter.

Torry Hoover, President, Hoover & Strong, Richmond, Va.

How I met my wife I met my wife at 17, at a high school play. She was dating one of my friends. Fortunately for me, the relationship ended that night. Several weeks passed and my future wife’s friend called me, pretending to be the girl I had just met several weeks earlier. She asked me to her prom and then called my future wife and said, “You are going to the prom with Torry Hoover.” Thirty-one years later, we have a 25-year-old daughter who is a critical care nurse, a 21-year-old daughter majoring in international relations at The College of William & Mary, and an 18-year-old son studying economics/business at Virginia Military Institute. We also have two dogs—Toto, a Yorkie, and Avita, a Chihuahua left by our daughter—and 25,000 bees. Yes, we are now empty-nest, tie-dye-wearing beekeepers.

My hobby I enjoy making jewelry. While going to school for business administration, I signed up for a jewelry class as one of my electives. Why not learn, I thought, knowing I was going into the family biz. I arrived for my first day of class wearing a polo and khakis. I was the only student not wearing a funky outfit and without blue or purple hair. In fact, they asked me if I was lost. I remained low-key until the other students learned I was doing my first project in gold and they were all using copper or silver. I had let on that I knew a great gold supplier and could hook them up if they were nice to me. I quickly became everyone’s friend.

My most unusual on-the-job experience I am fourth generation in a family business. The only other job I ever had, ironically, was for another gold manufacturing company in the dental industry. I took the summer job before going off to college to stay in Buffalo, N.Y., with my girlfriend, now wife, after my family moved the business to Richmond, Va. The best part about the job at the dental company was that I was just another worker and just the summer help. I was a maintenance helper but knew nothing about maintenance. I thoroughly enjoyed and learned a lot from the two skilled maintenance workers. We became friends, and I even talked one of them into meeting us at our favorite bar. It was a big step because they were “old” guys to me, probably in their 30s. Unfortunately, after leaving us that night my coworker was shot and died. It was an important lesson at 18, just seeing my friend the night before: Cherish each day, as it may be your last.

Recommended reading I enjoy reading business-related books and have a good library at our office. We actually have a top-25 business book list, and the top five are recommended reading for all managers. The top five are: Good to Great, by Jim Collins; The World Is Flat, by Thomas L. Friedman; Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done, by Larry Bossidy, Ram Charan, and Charles Burck; 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You, by John C. Maxwell; and Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do To Increase the Value of Your Growing Firm, by Verne Harnish. I just finished reading The Lexus and the Olive Tree (one of Thomas Friedman’s first books) and just started Warren Buffett’s new book, The Snowball. When totally overloaded with business reading, I enjoy a sick and twisted murder mystery book by either Dean Koontz or James Patterson.

I always say All of my managers know my saying, which is, “The only thing that’s permanent is change.” When managing a 96-year-old company, it’s important to remind everyone that the reason we are still in business is not because we do our jobs the way it’s been done for 96 years; it’s because we have embraced change and do not rest on our past accomplishments. Only our core values of integrity, helpfulness, innovation, responsibility, quality, and family remain as our foundation; everything else is up for change.

Jonathan Goldman, CEO, Frederick Goldman Inc., New York

My family I am married to Liz, and we just celebrated our 20th anniversary on Dec. 10. We have three kids: Chelsea, 18, going to school in London; Grant, 14; and Eyan, 10. My son’s current obsession is playing with Myachi, a new type of Hacky Sack. Eyan just appeared on The Martha Stewart Show, demonstrating his skill in the game.

My passion Spending time with my family traveling. We have been all over the world in the last 10 years. Our most interesting trip was two weeks in China where we visited Xian and saw the Terra Cotta Warriors.

My other passion is continuing to learn and develop. Over the past three years I went back to school to continue my education in business management. You’re never too old to learn new things!

My employment history I have been with Frederick Goldman Inc. for 32 years. My mom always said, “I hope this thing works out.”

My favorite books I tend to read a lot of business books. One of my favorites is The Profit Zone: How Strategic Business Design Will Lead You to Tomorrow’s Profits, by Adrian Slywotsky and David J. Morrison. Another is Negotiation Genius: How to Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Brilliant Results at the Bargaining Table and Beyond, by Deepak Malhotra and Max Bazerman.

I always say I have a bunch of favorite sayings that drive the people I work with crazy. The most popular is “At the end of the day.” It prompts people to ask “which day?” LOL.

Killian Rieder, designer, Chamilia, Minneapolis

Our family My husband, Jeff (CEO of Chamilia), and I recently expanded our family to four with the arrival of our daughter, Grier Elizabeth, on Nov. 22, 2008. Our hearts are soaring with the love we have for her. Our son, Jax, is 2½ years old, and we can hardly remember life before he came into it. We get a belly laugh daily from his antics. He has been raised in the Chamilia offices, where he even has his own desk.

My passion Since moving to Minnesota, the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” we have come to enjoy the waters of this beautiful state. I enjoy boating with my family in the short—but wonderful—summer months.

My career before jewelry [Most recently] I worked in the design department at Polo Ralph Lauren, but when I graduated from design school, I was a merchandiser for Tommy Hilfiger. I loved the fast pace of the fashion industry. My favorite part was rolling out a new line as well as going to runway shows. There is an electricity in the air before the fashion shows that just gets everyone excited.

My favorite books I think about this question often as I read O, The Oprah Magazine, in which they have a celebrity pick their favorite five books. I cannot pick just five, as my favorite books are always the ones that I am [currently] reading. Right now, I am reading the autobiography of Ted Turner, Just Call Me Ted. I cannot believe how concerned this man is with humanity and just how much he accomplished in his life.

My favorite saying “The world belongs to the energetic” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).