First, I’d like to give a big thanks to the Barnes from Barnes Jewelers Lexington for telling me how great Bridge is. I am so happy I took the trip to Louisiana! It’s definitely going to be a yearly staple.
Southern hospitality is alive and thriving in Lafayette. Everyone was so welcoming and genuine. You instantly felt a sense of family at Stuller.
Day 1: After a long plane ride and an almost as long drive we arrived at our hotel and went immediately to the welcome reception. The reception was great, food was even better and we talked with other store owners about the highs and lows of the business. Jason, our brand ambassador was so warm and welcoming we instantly felt at home. Alex, whose pretty much Stuller royalty, was so down to earth you’d never guess she was the daughter of the founder of Stuller.
Day 2: After arriving a tad late for Alex’s class (Sorry Alex) we picked 3 words we’d like customers to get from our business/ brand. I choose captivating, knowledgeable and personable.
After we went over to Stuller’s headquarters for a jam packed day that included a tour of their 1/3 mile long building. It was, as Alex put it best, a Willy Wonka experience! I was a kid in a candy factory except replace candy with gold, diamonds and gemstones. The technology used was beyond cool. Fred, the robot, helped to remove a lot of the mundane task to improve productivity. Every second counts when you’re as big of a manufacturer as Stuller! I’m also ashamed to admit I had never seen the tree growth of a 3D print before. It was cool to learn that they grow upside down. GIA also has a cool space within Stuller that they use as a melee analysis detector to screen for lab grown diamonds. In addition to GIA’s screening Stuller has all sorts of screening tools to put our mind at ease. For example, whenever a stone is submitted to them it is opened under a camera and 3D scanned.
My absolute favorite part of the day was picking up a gold bar! Did you know they’re worth around 1/2 million dollars each and weigh about 25 lbs, the size of a common brick!
Day 3: Was filled with lots of shopping, a gem identification class, and closing remarks from the founder, Matt Stuller. He was introduced by his daughter Alex who first presented me with the award for Engagement. (Yay me!). Matt then came up and delivered a compelling and engaging speech. Matt’s success story reminded me of my Grandfather’s. The sheer determination, grit and passion that they both share for the industry that lead them to be the successes they are today is beyond inspiring. Matt started out selling jewelry findings from the trunk of his car and built his company up to the 1,500 employee company that it is now. Matt was so down to earth that my husband who meet Matt on day one and chatted about their love of watches didn’t even know he was THE MATT STULLER until he made his closing address. After he finished it was like a magic trick. The curtains that surrounded us in a box were opened and we were surrounded by hundreds of Stuller employees clapping and their love and appreciation for us. How I felt in that exact moment is indescribable. We left feeling empowered and ready to take the industry by storm! Thanks Matt, Alex, Jason, Sherry and the entire Stuller team for all that you do for independent jewelers.