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Last updateWed, 29 Mar 2017 1pm

Howard Kelrick

24 Karat Corner - News and Views from the 24 Karat Club Southeastern U.S.

Why I never cut in line

One hundred years ago this month, my grandfather stepped off the boat from Russia.  Like all the other young men in the line, he spoke no English and had no money or skills.  His father, who he left behind and whom he would never see again, swept chimneys for a living.


24 Karat Corner - News and Views from the 24 Karat Club Southeastern U.S.: If it’s not perfect...

I went to a charity luncheon yesterday afternoon.  It’s not my normal weekday routine, but I was asked by a close friend, it was for a good cause, and it was being held at one of those hot, trendy places that you could never get a reservation.  So, I was excited to attend.

Usually, the food at these things is pretty boring.  But, because the place was known for its lively, cutting-edge dishes, my table-mates and I were excited for a fun meal.  Unfortunately, we were terribly disappointed as the food was bland, boring, and resembled the stuff they used to serve on airplanes.

As I got up to stretch my legs, I recognized the manager.  He was a guy I had known for a long time, so I felt comfortable going over to him for a little conversation about the food.

After catching up with him for a few minutes, I couldn’t wait any longer.  “So, what was up with the food today?” I asked without any hint of subtlety.  “I’ve been looking forward to eating here since you opened, and this was not what I had expected!”

“Listen,” he said, “You know how these things are.  They give us a very limited budget... its a charity... we’re not making anything on it... and the people don’t really care about the food at these things...”

“Oh, sure, of course,” I said, gently letting him off the hook.  Why waste a Marketing 101 lesson when the damage was already done?  Over a hundred people who could afford to take an afternoon off, plus buy a ticket to the luncheon, and now every one of them thinks the food at this place stinks!

Sometimes we just have to say, “No, I can’t do it at that price.” To try to “make it work” or to accommodate a good customer, and produce something that you are not proud of, or is not representative of your true quality and workmanship, may often do more damage to your brand and reputation than the job was worth.  It is hard to say no, but just think of the harm done at that poor restaurant!

One of my friends has a big sign over the door leading from his shop into the show-room.  It says in big, bold letters:  “If its not perfect, don’t even bring it out!”  The message is obvious:  let’s not jeopardize our reputation with a product that may disappoint our customers. 

Obviously, we can’t always be perfect, but that should be the goal.  And, as we talk about these things at The 24 Karat Club clubhouse (which also serves as the bar at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel, venue for the Atlanta Jewelry Show), one theme keeps repeating.  What can we do as an organization to improve the business and careers of our retail jeweler friends?  And, how can we get them as close to perfect as possible in the eyes of their customers?  As always, we welcome your thoughts and suggestions.

Tomorrow, as usual, I’ll be having lunch at my desk.  A chicken salad sandwich on multi-grain, which I made myself.  It’ll be perfect.

Howard Kelrick is President of Finger Mate and a  board member of The 24 Karat Club, SEUS.  Finger Mate manufactures and installs expandable ring shanks and sells to retail jewelers throughout North America. Contact Howard at 954-458-2700 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

24 Karat Corner - News and Views from the 24 Karat Club Southeastern U.S.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday.  The gift decision is easy.  There is only one choice - jewelry.  Sure, flowers and candy are nice, but they are only the side dishes to the main course, which has to be a piece of jewelry.  Show up with anything else, and it might be, and deservedly so, your last Valentine’s Day together.

24 Karat Corner - News and Views from the 24 Karat Club Southeastern U.S.

Swimming with the sharks!

The day before the last Atlanta Jewelry Show, I took my good friend and customer Scott for a swim in the shark tank at the Georgia Aquarium.  You have to sign up for it months in advance, and sit through a ninety minute orientation, but eventually you get to squeeze into a wet suit, strap on a tank, and walk to the edge of a stadium sized fish tank filled with whale sharks, rays, and other potential man-eaters.

24 Karat Corner: News and Views from the 24 Karat Club Southeastern U.S.

Most influential people?  Really?

Time Magazine recently published their list of the world’s 100 most influential people.  They named the usual suspects: politicians, movie stars, athletes, rock stars, etc.  And, while I admire  the skills of the marathon runners from Kenya and the courage of the Chinese dissidents, with the exception of those knuckle-heads in Washington, I’m not  sure how much influence anyone on the list really has on me.  I’m not sure I even recognized half the names on the list!  Although I must admit, I do often dress like LeBron James.  No, not the fancy English Laundry  shirts he wears, just the baggy gym shorts and sweat suits.

24 Karat Corner: News and Views from the 24 Karat Club Southeastern U.S.

Where does this stuff come from?

The other day we needed a small piece of green gold (yes, it comes in green now) and a custom-cut fancy shaped diamond to finish a job for a customer.  Two phone calls and three days later we had both, completed the job, and shipped the ring off to the customer.  It was so fast and effortless for us to get two of the world’s most precious items (to say nothing of the special ways in which we needed them) that sometimes I forget how truly rare and difficult it is to find and produce the items we trade in every day.

24 Karat Corner - News and Views from the 24 Karat Club Southeastern U.S. : Father of the Bride

My daughter got married recently, so that gave me the pleasure of being the Father of the Bride.  It was a very special experience, and I highly recommend it if you ever get the chance.  But, there were a couple of things about the process I just didn’t understand.

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