Janet Rothstein gets JobShadowed about her career as a jeweler.  You can find her and her business at www.rothsteinjewelers.com.  You can also find her on her Twitter feed in the sidebar.  

What do you do for a living?

I own a jewelry business.

How would you describe what you do?

I would describe my job as more customer service than sales… sometimes creating the jewelry of their dreams, or fixing their old jewelry they don’t want to or could never replace. We solve people’s problems, including when they need money (by buying their gold).

What does your work entail?

Ok, ready?? This is what I actually do:
Buy jewelry and supplies for the store.
Help customers choose jewelry from the showcases or order from catalogs.
Test, analyze and buy old gold jewelry from people.
Jewelry appraisals, including taking the photographs.
Help customers with repairs.
Much of the designing, repairs, re-stringing, stones replacement.
Drill holes into pearls.
Hand-wire necklaces & earrings.
Ear piercing!
Change watch batteries & bands.
Answer emails & phone calls.
Send photos & estimates to clients.
Work with our repairmen & engravers downtown.
Create necklaces for charity events.
Fly to Chicago and exhibit in the Trade Shows.
Ship packages across the USA.
Create & manage our website.
Post on our Facebook Page & Twitter & yelp.com, and update other internet listing sites.
Answer an advice column Blog on MerchantCircle.com regarding ear piercing issues from people all over the world.
Listen to life stories from our customers, many of them into their 90’s!

What’s a typical work week like?

We work 6 days a week. I go to the store at 9:30 am where my partner has already been there since 6:30 am. I prepare pick-ups or shipments for customers, while doing all of the above things. I try to leave for downtown by 3 pm for all the harder repair-work and for purchasing supplies. If I finish by 7:30 I’m lucky. Sometimes I also continue to work at home at night, on jobs or on the computer.

How did you get started?

I started selling jewelry door-to-door, but got hired by my boss to travel to Jewelry Trade Shows. I met my future husband at one of the shows, and we formed our wholesale jewelry company. Then we opened up a retail store. Times changed, and now we are mostly retail.

What do you like about what you do?

The things I love the most:
Seeing the joy on people’s faces when I have done a great job.
Getting thank you’s for the work I have done, whether it’s creating something for them, or fixing something that they love.
Reading the great things people write about us on yelp.com or other web sites.
Piercing the ears of all the amazing kids!!
Working with diamonds, pearls and gemstones.

What do you dislike?

I dislike 4 things:
Running out of time to complete a job.
People who are hard to please & keep changing their minds!
Repair-men who make mistakes!

How do you make money/or how are you compensated?

People pay for their jewelry or services. Or we get commission on selling their jewelry.

How much money do Jewelers make?

Jewelers can earn from $10 per hour, (appx. $21,000 per year) to upwards of $80,000 if you are lucky enough to get famous or get in with entertainers (a friend of ours did). I have had net operating losses, but have weathered the storms & come out ahead. The better your reputation, the more referrals you get, & the more money you can make.

And your brand or name could become so famous you could make millions, like David Yurman or Judith Ripka.

How much money did/do you make starting out as a Jeweler?

I started out at $10 per hour, and now sustain the business. (See above.)

What education, schooling, or skills are needed to do this?

What helps most in this business is: math skills, artistic talent, hand-eye co-ordination, some economy classes, psychology skills, & a great “bedside manner” including patience. I have a Bachelor’s degree from UCLA, but have learned a lot “on the job.”

What is most challenging about what you do?

Doing all of the above and finding time for myself & getting enough sleep.
What is most rewarding?

Getting the gratitude & compliments from my customers. (Sometimes they even bake for us!)

What advice would you offer someone considering this career?

Choose this career if you love what you do; if you have passion for jewelry and “people skills”.
You will never stop learning! You will need patience, creativity, and flexibility in thinking. Scroll down to my last answer….

How much time off do you get/take?

Now I get one day off a week. When I had more helpers, I used to take vacations.

What is a common misconception people have about what you do?

People think that all we do is sell jewelry out of our showcases. (LOL) Nobody knows about everything behind the scenes!

What are your goals/dreams for the future?

I would like to get our business so successful that I can sell it to someone with more employees who will love our customers as I do. Then I would work for the new owners part time. I would finally be able to enjoy traveling again & spending more time with my family.

What else would you like people to know about your job/career?

My job is hard because I own the business. You could work in any facet of the jewelry world, and enjoy doing just that part of it:
You could be an employee in a store & love handling the jewelry itself & making your customers happy.
You could be a designer & show off your talent.
You could do just the repair work and take pride in performing miracles on people’s jewelry.
You could just do ear piercing well & have Mom’s thanking you.
You could travel to other cities or countries, buying or selling merchandise.
You could just do “Cash for Gold” and see all the interesting old workmanship.
You could create and manage websites and learn all about marketing, which is a skill you can take with you anywhere.