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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Growing up in a Small Southern Town Jewelry Business

I have been in the jewelry business since I was a toddler..... that is right , my Mom and Dad brought me into the family business when I was not even walking yet. I grew up thinking that diamonds and pearls were what every southern girl wore to church on Sunday . And I had my first birthstone ring when I was in pre-school. Back then you were lucky to get to go to kindergarden, so my brother taught me to read. Yes, one of the first things I read was an advertisement for Bulova watches, my father being a watchmaker and I looked up to him as the expert in everything. I was the first in my class (first grade) to learn to tell time by the old round BULOVA wall clock at our family jewelry store in Aliceville, Alabama.
I thought I was the "Queen" of Sales by the time I was 10 because every time my mother would have a Jewelry Sale , she would put a table out on the street in front of the store for me to talk to and bring in customers. I got really clever and would always gather a crowd around to give them my" SALES PITCH!" They really just thought I was cute... but I didnt care as long as they were buying something.
I finished high school and went off to college in Birmingham, the" big city", and thought I would change the whole world. I wanted to become a physical therapist, so I went to UAB , and I learned that I really didn't like physics in my 2nd year. I finished college in Tuscaloosa at the University of Alabama with a general education degree in the late 70's..... Roll Tide. I moved back home and decided I wanted to manage the family business after all. I had been fighting against the idea since high school. I got married, had a beautiful daughter(Melanie Hope Drain), in 1981, and wanted the freedom to be available for her gymnastic lessons, softball games and field trips, and I had to admit I was good at managing and operating our family business by now. So I decided that I could do this . My mother and father were getting older and they wanted to be free from the headaches of the business. My brother, who had been managing the store, decided he wanted out of it. I went to gemology school , and went on to find my mentor, Mr. Phil McGuire , of Macon Mississippi, to take me under his wing. He taught me the fine art of jewelry design and repair ....... I will forever be grateful for his mentoring and helping me learn what I know today. I did however, have a very good mentor in my father, but his specialty was watchmaking and this was NOT what I had in mind to do with the business. So this gives you my background..... now on with the making of a great jewelry business!

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