Feature Friday – Annette Kinzie
“We love this business because it combines the opportunity to work with beautiful jewelry in a great industry while serving our community!” – Annette Kinzie
I began working in the jewelry business for Mr. Leonard in high school and throughout my college years at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. After graduation, I worked for Everts Jewelers in Dallas, Texas before returning to OSU for my Master’s Degree. Once again I worked for Mr. Leonard’s store while pursuing my degree, and then moved to Baton Rouge to teach at LSU. During my time at LSU, I got engaged to a man who is now my husband, Kent. He was a business entrepreneur in Stillwater. After we announced our impending marriage and established our home in Stillwater, Mr. Leonard began talking to us about his retirement and his wishes for us to purchase Leonard Jewelry.
Sure enough, his wishes came true. In 1984, we bought the store, and we didn’t change the name. Mr. and Mrs. Leonard continued to work alongside us for ten years. This allowed Kent and I to further our jewelry education and travel overseas to purchase diamonds and gemstones. Those first years are some of our favorite memories. The nurturing time with the Leonards and their vast experience, allowing us amazing opportunities!
We love this business because it combines the opportunity to work every day with beautiful jewelry, to participate in a great industry, and to serve our friends, family, and community! With the rich heritage of our 53-year-old store and our continued zeal for the future of the jewelry industry, we feel blessed and honored to continue learning and growing!
My husband Kent and I use our personalities and strengths in different aspects within our store. His strengths are working the numbers, accounting, and inventory, while I am responsible for the buying, personnel, store layout and merchandising. My passion is for colored gemstones and custom design. While working side by side for over 30 years, having differing job descriptions keeps our marriage happier. Kent takes a very active role in our community, serving on many committees that promote growth and development. We both love and support our local agencies and organizations that are the backbone of our city and state.
Five associates help to make our store unique in everything from our jewelry and watch repairs, custom design creations, specialized inventory of many one-of-a-kind color gemstones designs, and our Oklahoma State University collegiate jewelry collections. Each of our children also contributes their talents to our organization. Our son, a recent OSU graduate, is learning sales and design, while our daughter manages our social media and website.
Mr. Leonard founded Leonard Jewelry on jewelry and watch repair. We continue to strengthen this aspect of our business with new technology and customized offerings. Our repair and custom design shop utilizes both Matrix and CounterSketch as two options for creating jewelry. The support team from Stuller is awesome, offering tech information and hands-on learning. Although we have partnered with Stuller for many years, our associate that attended the CounterSketch training was thrilled with her learning experience. It’s been a great and valuable sales opportunity for our entire staff!The retail climate is always changing and new challenges affect our industry, yet we feel the future is bright! Being able to work with gorgeous gemstones, radiant diamonds, and fun personalities both from our staff and friends makes us excited to continue to embrace each day with grateful hearts!
The retail climate is always changing and new challenges affect our industry, yet we feel the future is bright! Being able to work with gorgeous gemstones, radiant diamonds, and fun personalities both from our staff and friends makes us excited to continue to embrace each day with grateful hearts!