Feature Friday – Russell Brown
“My biggest tip to those in our industry: take pride in what you create.” – Russell Brown
At the age of 15, Russell Brown started in the jewelry industry with his father. In the early 80s, Brown’s dad bought jewelry from a family friend and began selling the gold at the Seminole Flea Market in Florida. Once he graduated high school, Brown opened another location at the Oldsmar flea market. After operating two flea market locations for a year or so, Brown and his father opened a jewelry store in Plant City, Florida in 1986. This is when Russell perfected the art of goldsmithing.
Opening a location in Plant City turned out to be the best thing for their business. Since both Russell and his father were Plant City natives, they had a built-in customer base. The two considered moving their business down the I4 corridor to Tampa, but soon realized they would miss their Plant City patrons. “I still have customers today that will come and tell me about the days when my father ran the store,” Russell tells. “It’s nice being able to hear the stories about him because it’s like a piece of him lives through Brown’s Jewelers.”
Russell has always worked behind the scenes. When he and his father ran the store, he would work in the back on his bench, fixing repair jobs and creating new pieces. He loves benchwork and the opportunity it provides to express his creativity. As with most small business owners, each day brings about something new. Russell makes sure to help in all areas of the store, leading by example and showing his employees versatility with each passing day.
“I really enjoy what I do. I’ve always been artistic, but working with gold and silver is a completely different field,” Russell Brown says. “I like being able to make something from nothing and create jewelry others are proud to wear.”
After 35 years of jewelry-making, it seems like working in any other industry wouldn’t satisfy Russell’s creative needs. Like his favorite part about the job, for example – creating new, extraordinary pieces out of old unwanted items. “I get excited when my customers bring items they no longer wish to have and ask me to make them something completely new,” Brown explains. “It gives me creative freedom without any boundaries.”
Straying away from cookie-cutter styles is what makes Brown’s jewelers different from all the rest. We strive to offer superior service to our customers, exceeding their needs while setting our store apart from the competition. As the Goldsmith, Russell Brown makes sure to sit down with customers one-on-one to discuss their wants and expectations. He also continues to learn all he can about the field, ensuring his customers receive the most accurate information. By keeping them well-informed, customers seem to return time after time.
Over the years, the jewelry industry has changed greatly, but Russell has stayed true to the trade by still creating items by hand. And while the laser welder has posed to greatest technical challenge to our store, this valuable tool has helped Brown’s Jewelers create custom designs and quality repairs more quickly.
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