Greetings from my flight home to New York City from Louisiana! I’ve just completed my annual visit to Stuller’s headquarters in Lafayette, to meet with the company’s marketing team and attend a session of their annual Bridge Conference.
As always, the conference focused on the massive changes in experiential retailing, social media, custom design, and fashion tastes and how the independent retailer can meet these challenges head-on. I always enjoy sitting in a room full of independent retailers, as they make up our core audience whom we do our best throughout the year to entertain and inform. Attending the conference gives me great appreciation for both their challenges and their love of the business and of jewelry.
Prior to the conference, I joined our editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky, our regional sales manager Randi Gewertz, and Stuller’s executive director of marketing Ashley Brown on a two-day, one-night New Orleans crawl. What a blast! What a town!
James S. Sullivan
Randi Gewertz, Ashley Brown, Victoria Gomelsky, and I hit the ground riding in New Orleans.
In addition to amazing food—we enjoyed outstanding meals at Domenica, Pêche Seafood Grill, and Mr. B’s Bistro—and amazing music (jazz, blues, and brass bands everywhere), the highlight of the trip was a two-hour bike tour through two of New Orleans’ funkiest bohemian neighborhoods, Bywater and Faubourg Marigny. Our tour guide was a local bohème so committed to a true, old-school New Orleans lifestyle that he lives without air conditioning, using his classic New Orleans “shotgun” house to create a tunnel breeze and block the sun with its shutters!
We learned so much about this fascinating town (truly set apart from the rest of America in its history and culture) that our heads hurt. Once again, I was struck by what a phenomenal country we live in and how lucky we are to be part of an industry that takes us from one corner to another. Many, many thanks to Ashley for arranging the tour, choosing the restaurants, and showing us some true Southern hospitality!
Speaking of the South, the month before saw the SJTA Atlanta Jewelry Show. As I’ve written here before, I truly enjoy attending this show each year, as it is a smaller, more intimate event that allows for good conversations and the opportunity to catch up with friends. A highlight of this year’s show was a fun dinner with regional sales manager Bobbie Hamburg, and our dear friends from Sterling Reputation, Steve Berkowitz, Lisa Blumetti, and Pearl Woei. You can’t deny the power of good food and good friends.
Next up is Hong Kong…see you there!