Professional Jeweler Archive: Life Is Beautiful

June 2004

Adventures in Professionalism


Life Is Beautiful

These jewelers scale back and their business flourishes


A steak dinner at home, a bottle of wine and a legal pad was our path to a better life. Many years ago my wife, Mary, and I had grown our business to a point where we hated the way we were living.

We had three stores and worked 70 to 80 hours a week each. Our son, a senior in high school, worked from the time he got out of school to 9 p.m. every day but Sunday.

Plainly put, our business controlled our lives.

Cooking up a Plan

In our family, I cook on those rare occasions we eat at home. One Saturday evening I was making steak for Mary and myself, and we had a bottle of wine. We began to chat about the way we were living and how unhappy we were; I got a legal pad and drew a line down the middle of the page. One side was “like” the other was “don’t like.”

Mary and I bared our true feelings and listed them.

New Beginnings

The next day, we reviewed our notes and saw we had a business plan for our new happiness. We scaled back to just our one main store downtown and changed our business style to one of custom work and specialty inventory aimed at a narrowly defined client base.

Within a year, we were doing the same volume as the three stores we used to operate, with only ourselves and two other employees. We were working only about 50 hours a week.

Life had become much better.

Smell the Roses

It’s funny, but as we worked fewer hours and were happier, we found time to join things like a country club. We participated in more social events and found time to volunteer more. All the outside-of-work involvement translated to new acquaintances who became clients, which helped our business.

This business style has served us well for many years. When making a business decision, we highly recommend considering the effect it will have on your lifestyle.

Now that we have aged a bit (mid-50s), our life position and its timetable are taking on a new dimension. We’re also experiencing a change in our location demographics. Maybe it’s time for a dinner, a bottle of wine and a note pad to plan another mid-course adjustment.

“Plainly put, our business controlled our life.”

– Tom Wright

Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications