From the Publisher: September-October 2019

JCK publisher Mark Smelzer150 years!

In 2004, I was 15 years into my career as an ad sales exec and publisher in the consumer magazine world. At the time, I was overseeing consumer advertising sales for the entertainment trade Variety, so even though I was on the consumer side, I was employed by one of the nation’s biggest trade magazine publishing houses, Reed Business Information.

One Friday in June, there was a big shake-up at RBI, and it trickled down to me: Starting Monday, I would be the publisher of the jewelry trade magazine JCK.

I’m embarrassed to admit it now, but I spent that weekend thinking, The first thing we need to do is change the name! I mulled over JWI (for Jewelry and Watch Industry) and others. By the end of the following week, I realized I had been placed at the business helm of one of the most esteemed trade publications in the country, not to mention the highly regarded “industry authority” for the U.S. jewelry industry. Needless to say, JWI was never mentioned again.

It has been such an honor to hold this role since then. And what a time it’s been. In addition to the massive disruptions the internet has created for the jewelry industry, we’ve been riding the turbulent waves of a possibly even more disrupted business: publishing. Yet we’ve managed to morph and adapt with content and offerings that reflect changes in the way trade information is disseminated. Through it all, we’ve strived to make everything we do reflect the heritage embedded in those three letters: JCK

The core reason for our success—since our founding and, hopefully, through whatever changes the future brings—has always been the quality of the written words, photographic images, and layout designs we publish.

Through these years, I’ve been proud to be part of an ­incredible advertising sales team. While market forces have ­reduced our number, we still have the best team in the biz, and I’m thrilled to work with them—Randi Gewertz, Robin ­Lutin, Lars Parker-Myers, Mirek Kraczkowski, Dominika Olejnik, Quentin Chan, Kaushal Shah, Kristen Mirto, Patty Cartwright, and Natalie Chomet—on a daily basis.

The editors worked very hard on the issue in your hands, and it shows. We think this special edition will go down as a keeper, and we truly hope future generations in this industry will come across it, leaf through its pages, and realize just what an extraordinary publication—and extraordinary industry—this is. Enjoy!