Gary Baines, Executive Director of Product Design & Development, has a super-focused mind, a whole lot of energy, and an awesome British accent. He spends his time navigating between designers, product managers, and production as he oversees the birth of each new design.
Born and raised in Leeds, England, he’s a long way from home but closer than ever to the passion that brought him into the jewelry business at 17, when he became apprentice goldsmith.
Design is his realm, and within it, he has many areas of expertise, including virtual design. Naturally, he’s at the heart of our flexible 3C products that are having a big impact on our industry. I sat down to chat with him about 3C’s power.
Elizabeth Raffel: I love our 3C product. Tell us about it.
Gary Baines: For starters, it’s a fantastic sales tool, something jewelers used to dream about. They can make real-time design changes while the customer watches — metal quality, stone shape and size, and stone type and color. With each dynamic change, they have the immediate power of dynamic pricing, which is a huge asset.
The jeweler can show customers different styles in many different configurations until they find the combination they love. Then he submits the order to our CAM Services department. Ten days later, the jeweler receives the customized design.
ER: In other words, all this can be accomplished in one visit.
GB: This is a crucial point because any time a customer leaves your store, there’s the possibility she’ll buy something elsewhere. With 3C product, the customer sees how the customized style will look, knows the price. and gives approval.
ER: You said the magic word: customized. That has a new importance in today’s market.
GB: The truth is that the custom option has always been a highly attractive. The issue was affordability. Our 3C designs bridge the gap between the desire for a custom ring and its affordability.
ER: Millennials really lucked out. They want to express their individuality.
GB: That’s true. Our 3C collection meets their need to create their own unique look.
ER: I find the number of variations in each style mind-boggling.
GB: It truly is. Each one represents well over 1,000 variations.
ER: Before this technology, accomplishing 3C would have taken how many masters?
GB: At least 1,000 for each style. That’s a whole lot of masters, especially when you consider how quickly the collection is growing.
ER: So what makes 3C tick, or will you have to kill me if you tell me?
[We both laugh]
GB: I can tell you it’s powerful propriety technology that does amazing things. I helped develop it, and I’m still fascinated to watch the re-configurations appear in a matter of seconds. It’s really a jeweler’s playground; drawing customers into the design process, letting them participate. The best part is combining this incredible technology with Stuller’s high-quality metals and production abilities. The whole process flows together.
ER: And it’s just part of how Stuller.com works, so it’s free, right?
GB: Absolutely. The 3C collection meets a jeweler’s greatest needs. It lets him say yes to just about every customer request. Let’s put it this way: The 3C experience is at the vanguard of our industry. Other companies are trying to do it, but no one does it as fully and effectively as Stuller.
ER: So will Stuller’s future be dominated by 3C?
GB: No. It will play a growing role, but traditional manufacturing will always be strong simply because some designs require metal mold or casting. Look at the new diamond accented bands and our Next Generation halo-style designs. They’re from our metal mold team, and they’re really exquisite.
ER: I love both of those collections. They’re very sophisticated, distinctive looks.
CB: Well that’s another factor in choosing the 3C approach. Does the style have potential for broad appeal? Or is it more focused on a particular consumer?
ER: Do you want to say anything else to our customers about 3C?
GB: If you haven’t used 3C yet, jump in and try them. See all the combinations you can achieve. And show them to your customers. It’s a service you can offer them. It helps them discover what they want. And for customers who want more customization, all 3C styles are available in CounterSketch® — but that’s for another conversation.
ER: I’ll definitely get back to you about that. I can’t keep you from your work any longer. Thanks.
Need more information on 3C? Check out this video below, or click to view our website: