I’m going to follow up to Boyd’s post on Jan 2, Who can be a cutter and why? As some of you have noted from reading his post, grammer and spelling are not a prerequisite to cutting gemstones :). I do not cut stones. Boyd tried to teach me and I lasted maybe 20 minutes. Guess I don’t have that Zen thing going on. My talents are networking, acquisition and selling.
In this post I’m going to focus on networking. I will say that Boyd is correct as far as lots of patience being needed in this business. Talents in networking, negotiating, in sales, cutting stones or designing jewelry are needed. However, talent will only take you so far. Patience is the key. Even if you already have thousands of contacts to sell to (i.e. lots of rich friends) the industry as a whole will not take you seriously until you have put in your time.
I started in this business as a challenge. Several people in the industry told me I had a very good “eye” for gemstones and that I should try selling. Me? Ok, why not! Personally, I thought maybe I could build up a small business for some extra retirement income if that day ever came. To my surprise I was much better at it than I thought! I attribute that initial success to a hunger for learning, persistence, finding the right people in the business and then forming relationships with them, and keeping true to myself. I carefully chose people with the most knowledge and best reputations then massaged those relationships until they not only let me in the door but behind the scenes as well. This has been crucial in my success as a women in the industry. Let’s face it, women have to be more determined in any industry to be seen as equal to the men. And, thankfully, this is one of the few businesses where women can make as much money as the men!
Anyone can sell gemstones. Buy a few cheap ones and put them on Ebay. You’ll make a few dollars, maybe, and learn something in the process. However, to be considered the top in the industry you have to put in lots and lots of time. Be open to learning. Be humble. Don’t bug others who are hard at work asking questions you can find answers to yourself by doing your own research. Be polite. Realize that those who came before you have a vast amount of knowledge and experience gained over a lifetime of experience. Often many generations of experience! Everyone loves a genuine compliment, start your conversations with those. Guide the doors open that way, study your heart out on your own time, and then ask intelligent questions related to their unique knowledge. With persistence you too can learn the knowledge and acquire the skills required to be successful.