Feature Friday – Stephenie Bjorkman
I am a second-generation jeweler. I got into the business in 1997 when my parents were fresh out of a divorce. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and needed my help with her business, Sami Fine Jewelry. So I quit my job selling cowboy boots and entered the jewelry industry! Fast-forward 20 years; I am the President/Owner Operator of Sami Fine Jewelry. In every aspect of the business, I literally do it all. I sell, I market, I do the buying, donations, accounts payable, work with jewelers, design jewelry, clean, display cases, etc. In fact, there’s pretty much no job in the store I can’t or haven’t done. When you own a business, you have to roll up your sleeves and make things happen!
If I could pick one part of the business to focus on, it would be marketing. I love using my creative mind to come up with crazy events, social media posts, videos and more. It has become a fun challenge for me to start and finish successful marketing campaigns; I love to put all the pieces together and have it pay off! We are also in a great area where word of mouth is the best form of advertising.
My mom started selling jewelry in the 1960s, so we have a huge client base that has stuck with us. I can remember traveling with my mom at a young age to visit her wholesale accounts. One of her accounts named Commercial Mineral used to make me crawl around on their floor searching for loose gemstones so the vacuum wouldn’t suck them up. They would give me a reward for each stone I found. One day, they gave me a bezel pendant with one of the gemstones I found on the floor. To this very day, I still have the pendant! And to top it off, I still do business with this company today!
One thing that makes my store unique from other stores is my wonderful, fun staff. With a total of 12 employees, they are the most important aspect of my store. I love them and their ability to create memorable experiences for our customers. We want to make people laugh, and we’re good at teaching our customers the right way to gift jewelry. Besides my staff, my store features a huge selection of custom jewelry designs that showcase American Gemstones, one of the favorite projects I’ve worked on. Oh yeah, we also have crazy events! I once had an event called Love in the Hills where 884 couples renewed their wedding vows at one time!
My favorite part of the jewelry industry is helping men look their best. Generally, men are less thoughtful when it comes to buying gifts. I love not only creating a memorable piece of jewelry for them but also helping them come up with a creative way to ensure the gift is never forgotten! As for myself, I am a second-generation store owner. I drive a big truck, ride horses, shoot guns, and look nothing like what you would expect from a jewelry store owner. I travel all of the United States showing my horses in reining and cow/horse events.
I’m finding that the new generation of shoppers wants very different jewelry styles than in the past. I miss the days where we used to make big chunky modern jewelry. Despite this, we mustn’t be scared of change! Just because something has been done a certain way for 20 years, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try something new. Here at Sami Fine Jewelry, we balance the old with the new. We LOVE technology and always sport the latest new gadgets. However, Sami Fine Jewelry maintains a huge repair business as well. We have used the Gellar Repair Bible since the 90s, in fact. People bring us repairs all day/year long. We do good, consistent repair work and meticulously master every repair taken in.
And last but not least, now I can’t forget about my sweet Gemma and Jewel! Our customers LOVE them! My two little “French fries” have been at the store every day since they were 12 weeks old (they are now 3). Maybe five people out of 100 who walk in don’t like dogs, and in that case, we hide them in the back. But everyone else is super excited to see cute French Bulldogs when they walk in. Most people let their guard down after they pet one of our smooshy-faced door greeters and soon they forget that they were “just looking.” So once the Frenchies help visitors into the store, they usually open up and give us the chance to help them find what they want. Also, it makes our store feel more like home. Who doesn’t want to buy a diamonds with a little dog snoring under the jewelry case?
Don’t stop reading! Check out last week’s Feature Friday here.