I thought I wanted to work for a cruise line or as a flight attendant. I wanted to have the opportunity to travel the world. With that in mind, I decided to study Hotel Hospitality Management. I knew how to be hospitable, but I needed to learn more about the management side of it. I was in my twenties and thought what a great life that would be traveling around meeting people and just learning about anything and everything, but the travel industry wasn’t really booming after I graduated due to the recent 9/11 attacks. My journey to Stuller started with my older sister, Amber, getting hired as a temporary associate for the holiday season. After a while, she was invited to join the team full-time. She always talked about how much she loved working at Stuller and said that I needed to apply as well. So, I did and waited for the interview, and then for the subsequent paperwork to be processed. After what seemed like forever, on March 15, 2005, I became an official Stuller associate.
I started in the Fulfillment Department handling and filling customer orders. I filled everything from jump rings to mountings to batteries of all shapes and sizes. I started to learn so much about the product just by handling it on a daily basis.
Six months into the job, I learned about a new position that had opened up in my area. It was for a Fulfillment Specialist. I was interested in learning more about the position, so I applied. The job entailed filling orders for a large account, and handling all associated customer service issues. I loved this job because I was able to learn a lot about the jewelry industry, and other areas within Stuller. Sadly, after six months, the company decided the position was no longer needed.
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to assist in other areas until I found one that really suited me – Diamonds and Gemstones. This was my new home. I was in awe. I would be surrounded by mass amounts of beautiful stones daily. I had never seen anything quite like it before.
My primary task within this new area was inventory control. This simply means I was responsible for all of the daily transactions of thousands of skus. I audited our inventory every day to ensure product was in the correct sku and location. I also developed procedures to make this process more efficient and accurate. It involved learning all aspects of both diamonds and gemstones. I spent several years in this position where I acquired a vast knowledge of the merchandise side of the business, as well as, the importance of accurate inventory control. I decided I was ready to venture out. I wanted to learn about the business side of how we source stones, and have the opportunity to work directly with customers.
I joined the gemstones team in 2012, and it’s been a whirlwind of learning experiences. I have had the opportunity to attend several industry tradeshows, such as GJX in Tucson, and the JCK show in Las Vegas, where I was able share what Stuller has to offer with our customers.
As a product manager, I assisted our Senior Product Manager, Gary Venable on a buying trip to our Thailand office in Bangkok. That was probably one of the most amazing experiences I have had since beginning my career here. I was able to see and do things I would have never dreamed of.
After 20+ hours of travel, we arrived in Thailand. I really wasn’t sure what to expect; I had never traveled much before, let alone outside of the United States. The culture in Bangkok was amazing and I found many unexpected similarities between it and home. The people were so friendly, and they were always offering me food to eat. The city was full of energy with taxis and these little motorized rickshaws they call Tuk Tuks constantly going and honking their horns. The streets had little booths set up and were selling everything from roasted corn to traditional Thai printed pants. It’s unforgettable.
The next day, we hit the ground running, well more like walking (jet lagged). When we arrived at the office, we had a very busy day of visiting vendors and reviewing tons of stones. I had never been to a vendor’s office to buy before, so I had no idea what I was in for. We walked in, sat down, and were offered a beverage. Then, we gave the vendor our buy list. Next thing I knew, five people walked in with box after box of parcels containing hundreds of stones. And that’s when the real fun began. We started searching through all of these beautiful stones to find just the right ones we knew our customers would love. The whole trip was beyond memorable. I can’t wait to go on the next one at the end of this month.
Reflecting on my job at Stuller, there’s no other place I’d rather work. I enjoy what I do every day. Stuller has given me the opportunity, to travel and meet people and learn all kinds of new and exciting things. This is just the beginning of my diamond and gemstone journey. Bringing beautiful gems to our customer’s hands is my goal. Making sure that we have the right selection of gemstones and pearls keeps me motivated. Whenever you buy a stone from Stuller remember there’s a lot of work that goes into getting that particular stone to you. That’s the magic of this place.