Jim Leeds’ Journey with Jack Lewis Jewelers
After working at the same retail store for years, I started a career with Jack Lewis Jewelers. I began strictly making sales. Then, after a year, I transitioned into a new role as a custom jewelry designer. For the last five years, I’ve held the position of Sales Associate and Designer. While almost all custom work gets filtered through me, I got my start selling diamonds, so I still enjoy helping bridal clients find the right piece to signify their love. On any given day, you can find me sketching or drafting 3D models at my desk on the sales floor or behind a counter showing my favorite finished jewelry pieces.
There’s something about this industry that’s an interesting mix of science, technology, and fashion — all of which appeal to me. The opportunity to dream up a design, then use the technology to bring it to life is my favorite part of the job. All the while, I get to create something cherished by my clients!
Creating with CounterSketch®
CounterSketch design software sparked my interest because it lets me design a piece of jewelry in front of clients. I can instantly render them in a realistic state, provide a quote, and order all in one sitting. The foresight involved in creating such a user (and customer) friendly software is unparalleled. The simplicity of the entire process offers a flawless sales presentation. And while not every project I stumble across is a CounterSketch job, I use the software as much as possible.
CounterSketch has given Jack Lewis Jewelers an upper hand in communicating design concepts, along with quick and easy ordering. These capabilities have allowed us to take CounterSketch to the next level. Beyond using the software as a sales presentation tool, we have created a weekly Facebook marketing campaign entitled, This Means War! Here, we feature two CounterSketch-created bridal designs where our customers vote for their favorite style for a chance to win a gift card prize. Not only does this tactic showcase our creative capabilities, it reaches countless people far beyond our geographic market. The clever campaign has a life of its own!
Why is Custom Design So Important?
We conceive most bridal concepts on CounterSketch, and I use CounterSketch as the proof-of-concept for my client, even if the design is unfinished. There are many facets to our custom design processes. After all, each job is different! I use several avenues of production — each with different facilities — to specialize for the task at hand.
As much as I love CAD/CAM, I still specialize in hand-drawn concepts. I started my art career as an illustrator and painter, so this duality of creative expression allows us to stand apart. We are blessed to have some great companies within our network that have excellent execution on the production side, and we have fantastic goldsmiths on-staff to ensure each job gets handled with care, so every detail reflects our best effort.
More About Jim Leeds
One of my favorite jobs was a non-secret anniversary gift for one of my good clients. She was upgrading her diamond and wanted a new wedding set created to house the stone. With nearly an unlimited budget and no creative restraints, the job was easy and fun for me. I worked very hard to come up with something original that I knew she would love, and the finished product brought her to tears. That WOW-factor never gets old; you’ve got to love those moments!
I have an amazing wife and two incredible daughters. I am a total goofball and nerd. I grew up reading and drawing comic books and have a few industry friends, so that still interests me. Music is another significant part of my life. I played in indie rock bands and worked for an independent record label in the past. I am also an avid Super Smash Bros Melee fan and enjoy their competitive scene. See, I told you I was a nerd! I love life and try not to take things so seriously. Simplicity while remaining passionate seems to work best for me.
A Final Word from Jim Leeds
My advice to other jewelers would be to approach your job from your heart and remember why we do what we do. Remaining true to your virtues and working hard applies to both personal life and business. Though it sounds corny, it’s absolutely true. Life will most certainly reward you in the end.