Users of Matrix, a prior Gemvision product, often ask us about switching from Matrix to MatrixGold®, our newest software.
“The path to change is best traveled when we travel together.”
In the spirit of this quote, we sought out a Matrix user who would partner with us to create educational videos about transitioning to MatrixGold from the user’s perspective. Donna Kovalchick was the ideal customer to feature.
Meet Donna Kovalchick
A photographer by trade with 21 years of experience, Donna followed a unique path that led her to jewelry. What started as a part-time position as a photographer for a local jewelry store and helping with the website and marketing turned into so much more.
Years later, the business had grown, and the owner wanted to hire an in-house CAD designer. Donna was offered the role, and she jumped on the opportunity to learn something new. Next thing she knew, she was on a plane to Stuller’s headquarters to learn Matrix 9 from Jessica Smith, Gemvision’s training developer and instructor.
That was three-and-a-half years ago. As Donna recalls, “Learning the program was exciting. I did learn it pretty easily, and it was quite addictive.”
The Big Transition
Donna recently switched from Matrix to MatrixGold and described it as a game-changer, commenting on how the updates make her life as a designer easier. She has moved on from the small business jewelry store where she first started her career in CAD, saying, “I have realized my self-worth and that I love CAD. One-of-a-kind jewelry excites everyone, and I love being a part of that.”
As Donna begins the next chapter in her career, she is confident MatrixGold will further her interest and expertise in custom design.
Watch a video interview with Donna below:
To watch the full-length videos, login to MatrixGold Academy and go to the Designing with Donna tile. She is always looking for topics and loves suggestions from other users!
Want to hear more about MatrixGold? See more of our blog posts that share new features and customer experiences.
We can probably all agree 2020 has been a tough year. Lives have been turned upside down, work has been more stressful than ever, and the air of uncertainty is ever-present. However, even in the darkest of times, a light can be found for which we can be thankful.
Here at Stuller, we have much to be grateful for. Our customers have been so understanding and wonderful to work with. Our team members have worked so diligently and positively, and our community has provided us with support and encouragement. In a year like this where so much has been against us, it is important to take some time and reflect on those things – big or small – that give us a reason to have hope for the future.
We asked Stuller associates around the building to take a moment to reflect and share with us what they are thankful for. Meet part of our team and feel free to let us know what you are thankful for this year.
“It’s nice to pause and take time to be thankful for the important things. During stressful and overwhelming times, I am grateful and thankful for so many things. I am thankful for random acts of kindness. I am thankful to still have a job during COVID and still have the opportunity to help our customers and others. I am thankful for me and my family staying healthy and safe. I am thankful for the chance to slow down and share virtual moments with loved ones. Above all else, I am thankful to still have things to be thankful for.”
Customer Service Manager
“Due to all the craziness 2020 has brought, I am thankful to have had a college graduation ceremony! I am also extremely thankful to have a healthy family, great friends, and awesome coworkers.”
Diamond & Gemstone Project Specialist
“I am blessed and thankful for the health of my family this year and to be part of the Stuller team that has displayed tremendous teamwork, resilience, and attention to our customers’ needs during these challenging times.”
Chief Financial Officer
“This year, I am thankful for being able to spend more time with my family during the pandemic and thankful we are all alive and well. I’m also thankful I was able to return to my job so that I can continue to support such a wonderful and loving family.”
Stone Setting Master
“I am thankful for my family, the ability to be able to chase my dreams in this great country, and for the opportunity to work at Stuller for almost 15 years.”
“South Louisiana is steeped in a strong sense of both community and family. A mandated disconnection from any large social gathering afforded me the opportunity to focus on and appreciate the people closest to me and recognize their importance in myself. Similarly, I was able to recognize how much of an effect my surroundings have had on my development as a person. Social distancing in nature was simple enough, so I am thankful to be surrounded by swamps, bayous, and wide-open fields to explore that to which photographs and videos never quite do justice.”
Tools and Supplies Technical Specialist
“I am thankful for the safety and health of my family and coworkers this year. I am also thankful to have a job at a place that provides a healthy work environment.”
Wax Metal Mold Manifestor
“I feel like the luckiest person in the world to work with so many dedicated and talented people at Stuller. Yes, even in 2020!”
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Stuller!
Stuller Associates Reveal Holiday Traditions
This holiday season, Stuller is grateful for you, our customers, for allowing us to help you do what you do best all year long. Here’s a look at how members of our Stuller family celebrate the holidays.
My dad was not the biggest turkey fan, so he started the tradition on Christmas Day to enjoy steaks instead. For the last 30 or so years, that has been our Christmas feast! My whole family looks forward to this feast every year, and we toast to those no longer here.
Laura Hulin – Accounting
Chinese Food for Christmas
When I was younger, my family celebrated Hanukkah. So when Christmas Day rolled around, we always had the local Chinese restaurant in town all to ourselves.
Daniel Maldonado – Photography
Read in the New Year
Every year for Christmas, my parents get my brother, sister, and me each a gift card to Barnes & Noble. Then on New Year’s Day, we all go to the store as a family and choose books to read in the new year! It turns an everyday event into something special that my entire family enjoys.
Olivia Billet – Diamonds & Gemstones
Every Christmas, my family opens presents in the morning. My little niece and nephew go first because they are slower and will inevitably need help. After we open our gifts, we attempt to fit on the sofa together. Some quality family time happens during this struggle! After that, we all take our new gifts outside to test them out. A game of tag usually emerges during this time. Then we all help prepare food for the party that we throw for our extended family and friends that afternoon. I always have to grate the cheese and peel the potatoes.
Randy Boner – Packaging & Displays
I have always lived in the North, so snow is a big part of our Christmas tradition. Every Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember, my family would go outside in our pajamas and have a snowball fight and make snow angels. We would always be welcomed back inside by my Mom, who would have freshly decorated Christmas cookies and hot cocoa waiting for us as we watched “The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular.”
Since my son was born, we have continued that tradition: snowball fight, snow angels, cookies, and Rockettes. This year, our first year in Louisiana, we are looking forward to baking cookies, snuggling onto the couch to watch the Rockettes, and maybe even making cinnamon rolls first thing on Christmas morning. That’s the thing about traditions, there is never a wrong time to start a new one!
Samantha Larson – Gemstones
Believe in Santa
The longest-running tradition in my family is our sibling Santa photo. Yes, even as a full-grown adult, I still sit beside a mall Santa with my sister (who is 21) and teenage brother (15) to give my mom the photo that means the most to her every year. It’s always the one ”gift” she insists on getting from us each Christmas. She has every year’s photo showcased in its own festive frame lined up across her mantel. It feels silly sometimes, but I know this tradition means the world to her!
Brittany Boudreaux – Marketing
I join my boyfriend’s family in playing board games each year!
Morgan Boudreaux – Diamonds & Gemstones
Stuller’s elves worked hard this holiday season to ensure every little detail was perfect for you. From our family to yours, Happy Holidays from Stuller!
6 Stuller Employees Express Their Gratitude This Thanksgiving
There is always something to be thankful for. So, in preparation for this year’s Thanksgiving holiday, we’ve reached out to a few special Stuller employees to gauge their gratitude this holiday season—
Faith & Furry Friends
I am most thankful for my faith. Throughout my life, my strong faith has guided me in the right direction when I’ve felt lost or mislead. My faith has helped me accomplish so many astonishing goals that I’ve set for myself. I am also very thankful for my wonderful “children”, my four-legged furry pups Marley and Lulu. They seem to always listen and show unconditional love during our daily cuddle sessions.
Ysedria Batiste – Customer Care
Living in South Louisiana with my family is what I’m most thankful for. The people, the culture, and the outdoor-centric lifestyle have made it a great place for my wife and me to raise our three children. I’m also thankful for time alone in my kayak. Whether paddling down a remote Arkansas stream for some overnight camping, or kayak fishing in the marshes of the Louisiana coastline, it’s my favorite way to unwind.
Steven Domingue – Digital Experience
Becoming A Family of Three
This year, I am extra thankful to celebrate Thanksgiving as a family of three! My husband and I welcomed our firstborn son into the world earlier this year in August. So this Thanksgiving marks the first major holiday we get to celebrate with our son! Together with our dogs, our family, and our newborn son, we’re expecting an EXTRA special Thanksgiving this year.
Nichole Guillory – Communications
Rich Acadian Culture
I was born and raised in Chicago and have lived everywhere from Nashville to the Northeast to New Zealand, and there’s nothing I’ve experienced quite like the culture of South Louisiana. One of my first visits to Lafayette involved eating alligator sauce piquante hot enough to light my hair on fire at Festival International and loving every minute of it. Since then, I’ve tried to make it out to every type of festival I could (I’m looking at you, Scott Boudin Festival). I’m lucky to live in a place that values fun, fellowship, and — yes — food, and I haven’t even gotten into the Sportsman’s Paradise or cool folklore side of things. Acadiana is a truly special place, and I’m thankful to be a part of it.
Jason Peterson – Customer Relationship Management
Family and Spice
I’m always thankful for family, but lately, I’m feeling it more than ever. I got to meet my dad for the first time recently and along with him came the bonus of bonding with my older sister, Amanda, too! I now consider her one of the closest people in my life and am so grateful that I get to have two sisters now, along with my close friends who feel like sisters, too. And speaking of girl power, I’m also grateful that 4/5 of the Spice Girls have reunited and are touring again! Now if only I could actually see them live. But at least I can watch their performances online. (So, I guess I should give a shout out to YouTube, too!)
Carson Webb – Packaging & Displays
I’m originally from Washington State, so I don’t get to see my family very often. But over the past few years, we’ve made a new tradition of meeting in Las Vegas for Thanksgiving. It gives us all a chance to leave home, make new memories, and enjoy the holiday in a new city with the ones we love most!
Alisse Gregson – Chain & Religious
A Puppy Proposal to Celebrate National Dog Day
What happens when one of your employees wants to get married? You’ve likely dealt with this scenario once or twice before, so we all know how this scheme pans out. Coworkers join forces to investigate her ring preferences. Pinterest pages are painstakingly analyzed. The subtle interrogation begins. “What do you think of this ring? Emerald or Princess cut? I love this ring box, don’t you?”
In honor of National Dog Day on August 26th, we’re featuring Erica Geoffroy, Stuller’s Content Specialist, and her tail-wagging engagement tale. Spoiler alert: it involves her dog Pistache, a few crafty coworkers, and a customized Stuller engagement ring.
It all started in November 2017, when Grant (Erica’s now-fiancé) reached out to her coworkers about creating a custom engagement ring. He had a hint of what she liked, but like most guys, needed extra help with the details. Luckily, with a little calculated teamwork, Erica’s cohorts were able to subtly probe her. The survey began: “What kind of metal do you prefer? Four prongs or six?” Since Erica loves rings and stones, these trick questions never seemed out of the ordinary.
Meet Erica Geoffroy and Grant Fleming
The ultimate setup
One December day, Erica’s fiancé was invited to Stuller’s Diamond Department to select the perfect stone. He met with Blaine Latiolais, Stuller’s in-house diamond expert, to pick a winner. He examined five different stones, each with different color and clarity combinations. But how could Grant be certain he’d make the right decision? After all, as a Stuller employee, Erica insisted she had a keen eye for diamond details. Her heart was set on a G VS2 stone, and she wouldn’t settle for less. But could she even spot the difference?
Coincidentally, Stuller was in the midst of its Diamond Days of December Campaign— an initiative to promote Stuller Diamonds every day of the month on Instagram. So the team devised a fool-proof plan! They lured Erica into the diamond department to look at those same five diamonds Grant examined earlier in the day, pretending to gather shots for social media.
In a playful exercise, the team gave Erica a loupe and tasked her with finding the G VS2 stone. “Is this the one?” “No.” “How about this one?” “Nope!” She was bamboozled. So the fateful question remained, “If, just if, you had to choose one of these diamonds as your own, which would it be?” Low and behold, Erica chose a 1.51-carat H SI1 stone. She had no idea that she’d just selected the diamond of her dreams.
Finding the right setting
Now that her diamond was chosen, it was time to find the right setting. The team realized Erica had an affinity for gold for its timeless appeal. Yet, she wanted a platinum head for maximum security. Through sly questioning, Erica expressed her attraction to the ring on the right in the photo below. It was a perfect fit! A 14-karat yellow gold band with a 6-prong platinum head. At last, Erica’s dream ring was complete. And the best part— she had no idea.
The only thing closer to Erica’s heart than Grant is her precious pooch named Pistache (French for pistachio, pronounced pee-STAHSH). A ten-year-old boxer, Pistache was Erica’s best friend long before she and Grant started dating. And since Pistache is like a child to her, Grant knew he had to incorporate him into his proposal.
Starting when he was young, Pistache’s specialty involved posing for photos with various objects on his nose. His restraint and discipline is remarkable! He even has his own Instagram page: @pistache_on_things. And once, he was even featured on National Geographic’s Animals Doing Things special hosted by Howie Mandel. So naturally, Grant saw this as the perfect way to include Pistache in their special moment.
On Valentine’s Day, as Grant prepared to leave for a work trip, he knew he had to pop the question first. That night, he cooked dinner, bought flowers, and gifted Erica with a few special presents. The night seemed like a typical Valentine’s Day celebration.
Then, while packing up, Grant planted the ring on Pistache’s nose. “Erica, can you help me out here,” he called from another room. As she entered, Erica found a stunning engagement ring balanced on Pistache’s nose, with Grant down on one knee. And the rest is history!
All thanks to Team Stuller, Erica got her dream ring and the perfect puppy proposal! Don’t forget to hug your furry friends extra tight today. And if your dog has a cool talent like Pistache, let us know in the comments below!
Are you heading to Cajun country for a Stuller event this year? If you’re on your way to our headquarters here in Lafayette, Louisiana, you may be asking yourself all the typical travel questions: What should I pack? Where can I eat? What is there to do when I’m not at Stuller? No worries, we’re here to help!
What to pack
While a small part of the country experiences snow — yes, snow — on the first day of spring, temperatures in Lafayette stay in the mid-70s. As we head into the summer months, prepare for heat and humidity. So feel free to pull out those short-sleeve shirts, shorts, and flip flops! You may even encounter a pop-up afternoon shower (rubber boots, anyone?) Even our autumn months can remain a bit warm well into late-October.
What to eat
If this is your first time to Louisiana, prepare for a culinary delight! We highly suggest stopping at a restaurant (or two or more) that serves boiled crawfish anytime between January and June. While most out-of-towners run in the other direction, give crawfish a try. Don’t be afraid to pinch the tail and try a few! If you prefer a less hands-on approach to eating, give some of our other local restaurants a try. We recommend Blue Dog Café, Bon Temps Grill, Pop’s Poboys, or Johnson’s Boucaniere, just to name a few. After all, you are in the tastiest town in the South! Want to dine and dance? Visit Randol’s Seafood Restaurant for Cajun music and dancing. Or visit six restaurants and get your local history fix in one fun trip by taking a ride on the Cajun Food Tour (rated #1 by TripAdvisor).
What to do
Cajuns love music, fun, food, and family! This attitude is summed up in five words: Laissez les bon temps roulez! Yes, we love to let the good times roll in Lafayette, and there’s always something to do around town – whether it’s a festival or live music event! Check out Lafayette Travel for upcoming events, along with everything there is to know about visiting our sweet little city!
Have you ever been to Cajun Country? What do you recommend for other visitors to the area? Share your experiences in the comments section below!
A High-Performance Engagement Story
What makes a high-performance engagement? Is it purely based on function? Or could aesthetics contribute to such a title? What could looks have to do with performance? When done right, it’s the nature of successful design.
I come from a background in industrial design, the classical term for what most know as product design. Industrial designers are the creative minds behind nearly everything you see around you: cars, phones, shoes, kitchenware, watches, and in this case… jewelry.
Many product designers are trained on the notion that form follows function. In other words, this entire school of thought devotes itself to the idea that the product performance precedes and even trumps the need to look attractive. Successful design, at the highest level, presents a finished piece where form and function complement one another, working together to build a perfect union — a fitting thought when designing an engagement ring. For example, look at high-performance automobiles. Designers spend endless hours of time to ensure that every crease, slope, and feature, however flashy, has a fully functional purpose.
I started working as a designer at Stuller just a year before I proposed to my wife. I truly wanted to surprise her with the proposal and didn’t want her to know when or how it would happen. So I could not involve her in the design process. However, early in my design career at Stuller, we looked through Stuller’s catalogs together. Other than this initial perusal, which offered few specifics on my wife’s design preference, we never discussed what kind of engagement rings she liked. She had expressed two things to me: she wanted it to be unique, but not extreme, and she needed something functional — something she was comfortable NEVER taking off. This gave enough footing to create her high-performance engagement ring.
My wife is an elementary school teacher and uses her hands all throughout the day. In addition to her day-to-day activities at school, she is very active, loves the outdoors, and does not shy away from… well… anything. She needed a high-performance engagement ring that shared her traits: strong, clever, elegant, beautiful, brave, and one of a kind.
Before putting pen to paper, I could see the design in my mind. I visualized the ring, growing from the ground up. As the base of the shank pulls up around the finger, it thins and slightly creases as it climbs, creating a moderate euro-shank base and working to keep the ring upright through any and all activity. Halfway up, the shank splits and the tendrils spiral up to bypass and suspend a diamond center. Each split is adorned with channel-set genuine blue sapphires, graduating in size as they approach the center. This spiraling climb of the shank and the graduated accents work together to draw the eye to the focal point—a brilliant-cut diamond. The diamond appears to float just barely above the finger, tension set among the spiral. Here is where the cooperation between form and function must be perfect for my concept. The diamond appears to be tension set. But in reality, a hidden gallery rail tucked neatly just below the stone’s girdle supports it, only visible with a detailed inspection of the piece.
I designed her high-performance engagement ring around a diamond that I hand-selected from Stuller’s incredible Red Box Diamond® inventory. Chuck Bowman, a senior designer at Stuller and master in the industry, aided me in choosing the sparkly rock. After I narrowed down the selection, Chuck shared these final words, “In the end, ignore the paperwork. Don’t think about the numbers or the grading report. Choose with your eyes. Choose with your gut. Which diamond speaks to you? Which one attracts you the most?” This helped immensely, and I have since passed these guiding words on to many who have embarked on the same thrilling venture.
After choosing the diamond and putting my vision on paper, my excitement grew. However, it was still just a vision. I needed to transform this concept into reality. I pushed onward to create the CAD production model, utilizing a hybrid approach that incorporated both Stuller’s proprietary parametric design software and the more traditional Matrix software. As the high-performance engagement transformed from a figment of my imagination to a fully-functioning 3D model, I was able to adjust portions of the design on the fly, finding the perfect scale and emphasis in every aspect of the piece. Finally, the design was ready to become a reality. A ring for my wife. A symbol for our future.
Stuller’s talented teams of model makers allowed me to see the piece at every stage, keeping me in the loop. This team treats every piece they touch as if it is their own. They are the best, and they produce the best.
In the end, everything I put into the design shines through. As for the big question? The proposal went perfectly (but THAT story is for another time). More than six years later, my wife still loves the design. It has every bit of the uniqueness and elegance she wanted. As for functionality, it never catches on clothing nor impedes her work, adorning her hand through every adventure. From submerging through the deep reefs of the Pacific to repelling from the towering timbers in the mountain valleys of Colorado, her ring continues to stand the test of time in both form and function—a true representation of the union she and I share now and forever more.
Team Stuller Celebrates Thanksgiving!
This Thanksgiving holiday, amid turkey and togetherness, don’t forget to leave room for dessert and appreciation for life’s simplest treasures. We here at Stuller are most thankful for you, our customers, for allowing us to help you do what you do best. Behind the scenes, a few unique personalities in the Stuller family have a bit to share about what they’re most thankful for.
This is how Team Stuller celebrates Thanksgiving with gratitude:
Donna Lancon • Stuller First Representative
Smells & Music
This year, I am thankful for smells and music. It amazes me how a distinct smell or the beat of a familiar song has the ability to transform your mood in the blink of an eye! The fact that sights, sounds, and smells have the power to transport you from your current situation to a time of remembrance, peace, or uplifting fun is wonderful and cherished! Sweet smells and nostalgic tunes are how Team Stuller celebrates Thanksgiving!
Chris Leonard • Merchandising Content Manager
A few years ago, I decided to leave my home state of North Carolina to pursue other career opportunities. Growing up fishing and hunting, it was important to me to settle in a place where I could continue this passion. When I heard Louisiana was the Sportsman’s Paradise, I had to check it out. There’s no question that this term is spot on! From hunting turkey, squirrel, deer, and hog in the Basin to slammin’ specks and reds in the Gulf to blasting ducks in the rice fields – Louisiana truly has it all! I am very thankful to enjoy these hobbies in one of the most beautiful and bountiful places on Earth. This year, Team Stuller celebrates Thanksgiving with wild game on the dinner table.
I am thankful for my best friend, Pistache. Because of him, there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t laugh. Whether chasing a squirrel or performing balancing acts (#pistacheonthings), he finds fun in life’s simplest things and encourages me to do the same. His happy attitude in the morning — “this is the best day of my life!” — sets the tone for the rest of my day. It seems impossible that by not doing anything, he still manages to do so much. Just the fact that he exists somehow makes life better. Team Stuller celebrates Thanksgiving with their most precious pets!
Charlotte Lafleur • Customer Care Sales Associate
Healthy & Happy
I am extremely thankful for my health. I had a cancer scare just a couple months ago, but after two surgeries, I am now healthy and happy! I’m thankful for the wonderful doctors who took care of me and my supportive family and friends who were by my side throughout the journey. Full-fledged family time is how Team Stuller celebrates Thanksgiving!
Lindsey Prewitt • Gemstone Product Manager
We sometimes forget the simplest pleasures we’re afforded in life. I get up several times in my work day to fill up my water jug, which is a privilege that many across the globe would love to have. Countless people worldwide do not have that simple convenience that we take for granted. I stay grounded by taking a step back to give thanks for everything in my life, even the simplest things like clean water. Check out this special jeweler who chooses to do more and give back to those in need.
Michael Gauthier • VDS Designer
Tennis + Music
There are so many things to be grateful for, but the simple things, I feel, are the most important. I am so fortunate to have a life filled with family, friends, and love. I’m thankful to have the ability to participate in and enjoy activities like competitive tennis and playing music. Tennis is an important part of my life. It keeps me active and continues to create new relationships with truly amazing people. I’m so thankful to have music in my life as well, as it connects me with creative minds and channels good vibes and high spirits! Team Stuller celebrates Thanksgiving with tennis and the coolest tunes.
Cassie DeRouen • Fulfillment Manager
I have an eight-year-old son whose life revolves around baseball. The sport has taught him to strive for greatness both on and off the field. Baseball has brought so many great people into my son’s life, creating lasting friendships. The sport has taught him the importance of school, how to handle failures and successes, and that nothing is given – it’s earned. My son is turning into a wonderful young man one home run at a time, and I am forever grateful for that. This year, Team Stuller celebrates Thanksgiving with a different kind of diamond!
From our Stuller family to yours, wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving and a busy Black Friday!
Feature Friday – Jett Pesson
“I stay inspired by looking toward the future, envisioning where this company is heading, and realizing my role in getting it there!” – Jett Pesson
After working in the oil industry, I began looking for a career with more stability, and I felt the jewelry industry had just what I wanted! When I was younger, the sheer size and aesthetic appeal of Stuller’s headquarters always sparked my curiosity. As I got older and realized that I needed to start looking for a career and not just another job, I began talking to people who worked at Stuller. This led me to view Stuller as a company with room to grow and the opportunity to establish a lifelong career. Looking toward my future, I applied for an entry-level position in the Fulfillment Department. I figured this would help to get my foot in the door and get a feel for the company from the ground up.
Jett Pesson: User Support Analyst
To broaden my knowledge and build my skill set, I helped in every department in the building as needed. I would start my day in Fulfillment, and then lend a hand in Shipping and Tools when work started to pile up. Later in the evening when things began to slow, I’d end up on the manufacturing side, helping PPM pull wax molds until the building closed.
Once I really started to get a feel for the Stuller process, I began helping the IT department in any way I could. Anytime we experienced system or equipment issues, I tried to troubleshoot as best I could. In doing so, I learned a lot! I’ll never forget the moment I received the call from the IT department for an interview; I couldn’t have been more excited! Suddenly, I realized that my hard work at Stuller hadn’t gone unnoticed. I secured the position in IT, making it my first and only full-time department move since starting at Stuller.
Jett Pesson catches a keeper!
Currently, I’m still hard at work in IT as the User Support Analyst. My role consists of troubleshooting, Oracle testing and development, giving tech support to anyone who needs it, and everything in between. Nothing feels better than being presented with an issue and solving it or hatching an idea that will better the company, then follow through to make it happen. I love technology and its role in the jewelry industry, which grows exponentially by the day. The incorporation of tools like 3D printing and robotic automation into our company is fascinating. I love the technological growth I’ve seen in this industry, and I’m honored to be a part of it.
In my daily job, I strive to make our employees’ jobs easier, which in turn, creates a better experience for our customers. I stay inspired by looking toward the future, envisioning where this company is heading, and realizing my role in getting it there. Looking at Stuller, I’ve seen daily routines change for the better. While these individual changes can seem small, collectively, they make a huge impact. I’ve also seen a positive change in customer care with dedicated employees working hard for our customers.
Jett Pesson, his girlfriend Stephenie, and their pup Penny explore Lake Fausse Pointe
On my time off, I love going to Lake Fausse Pointe, a local state park, fishing, and playing video games. I also really like woodworking and tinkering with anything that has a circuit board.
If I had the opportunity to change anything about my life, I wouldn’t; I don’t think I’d give my younger self any advice, even if I could. I’m happy with the way things are going, and I wouldn’t change anything for the world. After all, Doc Brown wouldn’t approve of altering the timeline!
Alix was a part of the Come Home Louisiana campaign in 2014 – an initiative from the State of Louisiana to get natives to return home to find career opportunities.
Big City Dreams
In 2007, one year after graduating from Loyola University in New Orleans, I decided to take a leap and move to New York City. I moved without a job and only had a place to live for six weeks.
Although it was a scary plunge, it was extremely exciting! I had to force myself in an unfamiliar place and work hard to make my way. My first job in New York was with a small jewelry company. Although we sold to large retailers like Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, we had a very small operation, and I learned a lot in a brief period of time.
From there, I eventually went on to work for Alexis Bittar, a high-end costume jeweler known for his hand-carved Lucite jewelry. Working in the NYC’s fashion industry taught me strong work ethic and introduced me to the world of wholesale jewelry manufacturing. I was the Product Development Manager within the design department, acting as a liaison between our designers and local factories abroad. Annually, we released three full collections with over 300 styles per season. I loved being a part of an amazing design team that produced innovative work every year.
Back to Cajun Country
After living and working in the jewelry industry for almost five years, I had no plans to leave the big city. Although I loved Louisiana – my home state – I didn’t see the career opportunities available. It was not until one of my best friends, Maren Rosen, introduced me to Stuller. Maren had recently moved back from NYC to Lafayette to begin working at Stuller. She raved about the company and all it had to offer, eventually persuading me to visit Stuller’s facility.
Upon entering the building, I knew it was a great career opportunity. Four months later, I moved home to Lafayette and began working at Stuller within the Fine Jewelry Merchandising Team. I was able to continue the jewelry career I loved while living nearer to my family!
I started off as the Director of Diamond and Gemstone Fashion. After almost three years, my responsibilities expanded to include managing all of Fine Jewelry. I found that merchandising was the best way to get the lay of the land at Stuller. As a merchant, I was involved in all aspects of product life: from pricing, inventory, product development, and buying to marketing.
Watch Alix Gonsoulin in Stuller’s PD&D Department Overview
Alix Gonsoulin: Creative Design Director
After four years, with my solid foundation, I wanted a new opportunity and landed back in the design department. My true passion has always been creating product, so stepping back into the design world was refreshing. I now help to guide our design team as the Creative Design Director. In this role, I help take concepts all the way through the product development path at Stuller.
Our mission within the Product Design and Development department is to produce a consistent flow of new products for our Findings, Bridal and Fine Jewelry teams. We are responsible for producing manufactured products that are on trend and relevant to our customers. And I absolutely love what I do! I am extremely lucky to see product progress from concept to finished pieces, then eventually sold to our customers.
My team here at Stuller truly inspires me. I’m surrounded by some of the most talented conceptual and CAD designers in the industry. Not only that, an amazing manufacturing team supports. They transform our digital concepts into stunning physical pieces. Everyone on the team brings different skills to the table, and I love seeing how our visions and effort form into pieces of jewelry.
As someone who heads the Product Design Department, I’m directly responsible for making sure our customers have a variety of products to offer to their customers. I want them to be able to service anyone that walks into their store by providing exactly what they need. This means continuously developing products, especially in our more versatile 3C product offerings.
Home Sweet Home
As much as I love to travel and explore new places, I also love Louisiana and all it has to offer. Louisiana is a magical mix of sincere people, creative communities, delicious food, and never-ending liveliness. I often find myself with family and friends, enjoying the communal festivities. Whether we’re on a boat ride, at a local festival, or watching one of my favorite Cajun bands, there is so much to do that is unique to our area. Another amazing thing about being back home in Cajun Country is my proximity to my huge family. My mother is one of 17 kids – so you can imagine how far my family tree grows.
Alix Gonsoulin and her siblings
Sweet, Sweet Memories
For my 30th birthday, about 40 of my friends and family gathered dressed as our favorite Louisiana festival kings and queens. We celebrated the Shrimp and Petroleum Festival, Rice Festival, Crawfish Festival, Frog Festival – the list goes on and on! I’ve always loved dressing in costume. And to gather a group of friends together, all in costume, was a blast! We toured Cajun Country on a bus, stopping at local bars and music venues along the bayous and rivers of our community.
Nearly 40 friends gather to celebrate Alix Gonsoulin
The biggest change I’ve seen in the jewelry industry is digital innovation. As an industry, we have made leaps and bounds over the past 10 years discovering how to be more efficient at making jewelry. And what’s most impressive is that I don’t see that momentum slowing down anytime soon. We constantly challenge ourselves as a company and an industry to come up with the next widget that will help to serve our customers.
So Here’s My Advice
Always listen, learn, and ask questions. Take as many risks as you can and don’t be afraid to fail!