Publisher’s Letter, September–October 2016: Here Comes Fall

Greetings from Lancaster, Pa.! My family and I moved here in July to raise our son amongst family. Moving to a small city after 36 years in Los Angeles and New York City has revealed a whole other side of our wonderful country. 

My new situation involves a “co-working” facility, a national phenomenon of communal office spaces for freelance, independent workers. It’s a very interesting place to work, and feels indicative of where our country is headed.

Despite my Keystone State location, I’m still fully in the travel circuit, and this summer was no exception. First up was New York City’s annual summer jewelry week, anchored around the JA New York and LUXURY Privé shows, and including the Women’s Jewelry Association Awards for Excellence and the American Gem Society’s Circle of Distinction awards.

Even in its temporary new location (Hammerstein Ballroom as opposed to the traditional spot, Chelsea Piers, which is under renovation), the WJA gala was as fun as ever. Congratulations to our friends Sissy Jones of Sissy’s Log Cabin on her Lifetime Achievement Award, Peter Engel of Fred Meyer Jewelers on his Ben Kaiser Award, and Ben Bridge Jeweler for its Corporate Award!

A special shout-out to my friend Jen Cullen Williams on winning the WJA marketing and communications award. With so many friends nominated, it was a tough category to see only one person win. But the roar in the audience suggested folks were thrilled to see the Luxury Brand Group publicist honored. Jen has often turned to me for advice, and it’s been a blast to see her career take off to new heights.

High jinks with the WJA gang

The after-party that evening was a very NYC cocktail affair at a cool midtown hotel. As the picture here reveals, the attendees were a subdued, shy bunch!

The following evening was dedicated to the AGS Circle of Distinction gala, once again at the old-school Plaza Hotel. Congrats to Ruth Batson on another terrific edition of the awards, and hats off to all the winners!

August took me to the Atlanta Jewelry Show. I enjoy the low-key atmosphere of this show, and the ability to really spend time with clients to catch up on their businesses and their lives. While there, I attended the 24 Karat Club Southeastern United States’ annual black-tie dinner at the Atlanta Country Club. It’s always fun to cut a rug on the dance floor with this group. And special thanks to my friend and National Jeweler publisher Matthew Tratner for an inclusive, universal, and heartfelt invocation. 

On Sunday morning, it was my honor to serve on the “Engagements: A Collaborative Retail Experience” panel, hosted by jewelry consultant Kathy Beall. My presentation on native advertising for retailers was well received, and it was fun answering questions from the crowd. Retailers are hungry for knowledge!

Next up for me are the JIS Miami show, the GIA Career Fair, and the 24 Karat Club of Southern California dinner, all in October. I hope to see you then!


Smelzer photograph by Michael Falco


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