The Personal Touch

Excerpted from a speech given by Joan at the 2007 National Rally


Without friends, I would think my life was not complete. Our friends become real treasures. A perfect definition of friendship is this: “Turning complete strangers into friends is what friendship is all about—for all of us.” Isn’t that cool?  We all begin as complete strangers and by keeping it personal, we make lasting friendships. That is the personal touch.

Women need women at all stages of their lives. We all need that personal touch.We need other gals to come alongside and speak our language. We learn from each other while not realizing that or understanding it.

There are several ways for us to build personal relationships into
strong friendships.

  • Foremost is personal contact—enjoying each others company
    face to face.
  • There is the personal phone call. So much is communicated by the voice. I am sure you have all heard volumes in the words spoken. My friends will say, “You sound so tired today.” Or, “Wow, you must have had a wonderful day.” Or, “Is there something going on…I can tell by your voice.” We can hear so much on the phone.
  • There are handwritten words where much is communicated, but not as solidly as hearing the voice personally.

Premier Designs is different and unique. There are several reasons for that. When the Southwest Entrepreneur of the Year award was presented to us they made mention of the different business culture we had built. We were pleased to hear that and gave God the glory for all the commendations we received.

That different culture was easy for us to identify. One of our purposes is to honor God. The Lord is in our business. We believe He raised up Premier Designs for such a time as this. I also am convinced that the difference between Premier and other companies of similar size is that we have a purpose of enriching lives and serving others. That is the real personal touch!

My personal mission in Premier is very simple. I have committed to keep the culture of Premier on a personal level from top to bottom and from side to side. I am asking each one of you to help me to Keep It Personal.


Keeping It Personal…By Design

tim_horner2014My mom and Premier’s Queen Mother shared many times that her life’s mission was to “Keep It Personal.” Her passion for sending handwritten notes is widely known. She never hesitated to pick up the phone to call and check on a new Jeweler to encourage her in her business.  Premier strives to continue this legacy of focusing on personal relationships. Email and the internet are great tools, but there is nothing like being with one another, face-to-face, in person. Time spent laughing and sharing together develops relationships and enriches lives and there’s no better place to do this than at one of our exciting Premier events.

Recently, many of Premier’s Leadership experienced one of those events as they traveled to Canada. Over 700 Jewelers and family members spent five days in Quebec or Vancouver doing exactly what has been modeled to them by Mom throughout the years—building relationships. Peggy and I were excited to be able to join them. We had a great time sightseeing, snapping pictures and even hugging and taking pictures with many of our Premier Family. We also were honored on different evenings to have several of our Leadership join us for dinner, including: Gina & Sandro Irizarry, Sherrell & Duane Smith, Jackie & Tommy Whitley, Betsy & Mick Jansey, Sherrie & Jeremy Hoy, Kim Day, Renee & Ryan Greenwood, Lana & Lacy Privette, and April & Michael Millender.Read More »

My Personal Webpage – Chelsey Knapp

Just a few months ago, we launched our Personal Webpages, and Jewelers using this tool are expressing their great results.  In fact, 98% of our 1,000 Top Retailers and Sponsors have chosen to set up their own Personal Webpage!

Meet Designer from Brandon, Mississippi, Chelsey Knapp

momThis May will be my 4th anniversary as a Premier Designs Jeweler.  I joined Premier when I was 23 years old to supplement my full-time job.  In June 2013 God called me to leave that job and go full-time with Premier, at the ripe old age of 25.  My why is two-fold.  First, I use my business as a ministry to love on women and offer them amazing opportunities.  Secondly, I’m committed to building my business now, so that when I have a family of my own, I can be a wife and mother who is always available.

I set up my Personal Webpage almost as soon as it was announced (I wanted to win the drawing!). It was super easy to set up, so easy in fact, I haven’t even had to walk any of my team through it.

How I use my Personal Webpage in my business

I love that our catalogs are online. I had been asked for years when that would happen.  It’s a great service we can offer to our Hostesses/Customers to help gather more orders with ease.  Every Hostess is given my webpage for outside sales and for out-of-town family/friends.  It’s also included on the save the date invitation we send out to guests so they get a sneak peek and are even able to order if they’re unable to attend.  I also share my link at my Jewelry Shows so the Customers know they can view online and order from me anytime.

Keepingchelsey knapp christmas It Personal

I love that there’s a direct link to me and my story on my page.  Hostesses and Customers always have access to my webpage and my contact info to share with their friends.  So I really think it’s helped to extend my reach and allowing others to get in contact with me.  I Keep It Personal by making myself available for them to contact me anytime!!

My Hostesses/Customers love the access to online catalogs!  It’s helped them attain outside sales for their shows and given them something to share with all their guests, not limiting them to local friends.  I also feel they would say it’s more professional since my face, information, and story are all accessible.

Having a Personal Webpage has impacted my business

It’s given me confidence that we’re staying current as a company and adapting “Premier-style” alongside our internet-driven world.  I love being able to share that we’re accessible online but that you still need a Jewelry Lady to make a purchase happen.  I love that we can still Keep It Personal that way!  Also, the online catalog has cut down on my postage costs tremendously, as well as, the amount of catalogs I purchase to mail around the country.  Now working Premier full-time, I appreciate every option to be a memphis roundbetter steward of my finances!

I think every Jeweler should have a Personal Webpage!  It’s your storefront and landing page for your business.  Hostesses/Customers need access to your smiling face and your contact info so they can share with their friends!  They need access to online catalogs to increase their show sales and decrease your postage expense.  The evites are incredibly designed and being able to manage guests, send reminders, thank you’s, etc. is just a whole new service to help our Hostesses get involved and connect with their friends. The Personal Webpage is cost-efficient, better serves our Hostesses/Customers, and makes us credible/professional. For less than $10/month, there is NO reason not to have your very own page.

Chelsey Knappfam

We Are Premier – Gretchen Julius

Our interview with the talented Gretchen Julius, Design Director for Premier Manufacturing.

gretchenHow did you get into this field? Have you always wanted to design jewelry or did you stumble into it?

Ever since I was little, I’ve always collected sparkly things. Growing up in a family that appreciated works of art, my mother and I constantly painted and composed mini architectural projects. I was constantly creating and immersed in the art of craft. In my early teens I took my first jewelry class at the Toledo Museum of Art and fell madly in love with the idea of putting small works of art together.  Not long after, I began working in my father’s orthodontic lab where I mastered the use of small tools, casting and polishing.  After that, I was hooked. I wanted an art degree. By the time I enrolled at The Rhode Island School of Design, I had already experimented with ceramics, glass blowing, architecture and furniture, and decided to set my sites on jewelry and light metals.

You used to work at Liz Claiborne; have you always been in fashion jewelry?

Liz Claiborne was actually my first introduction to the fashion jewelry industry.  Before that, I had worked only in fine jewelry.  And although I’ll always appreciate real diamonds, I’ve fallen for faux diamonds too.  I want every girl to feel special and believe you don’t need to spend a fortune to look amazing.  This is one of the many reasons I love Premier Designs.

You travel to Asia annually. What do you do there and how long are you gone?

Asia has a large presence in jewelry development and manufacturing.  For me, a typical trip is about two weeks, but with all the various travel locations and vendor meetings, it often feels much longer!  Premier has a committed partnership with the manufacturers and we communicate daily.  By traveling to Asia, I’m able to meet with contacts face to face, grow our friendships and keep it personal.

Where does your inspiration come from?  Do you go to Asia with a plan, or is it more fly by the seat of your pants?

I am a girl with a plan! Before I leave, our Design Team at Premier Manufacturing puts together a wish list.  We brainstorm as a team, researching trends via blogs, fashion magazines, trade magazines, found treasures, etc.  Then, I’ll compile a list of all the new beads, colors, materials and ideas I want to see when I’m there.  Before my departure my binder is packed with images, trends, and colors.  This is very helpful when I’m at the market shopping beads or working with our partners on new development concepts.

BUT… I’m always looking for new ideas.  So while I may leave the country with a full agenda, I always keep an open mind and am ready to explore and think creatively.

Do you bring anything back?

Definitely!  After every trip, I bring home new treasures for our design teams to transform into one-of-a-kind pieces.  We then source the markets and work with our vendors on new concepts and techniques.  Our focus is to keep Premier ahead of the trends and our Jewelers equipped with fabulous pieces you won’t find anywhere else.

Can you give us a sneak peek at the Spring Collection?

COLOR!  LAYERING!  DETAIL!  VERSATILITY!  Premier Designs is setting trends; we have styles for everyone and every budget.  Each piece in this new collection is thought out – down to the smallest detail.  The Spring Collection fully embraces a mix and match vibe, plus you’ll find amazing new pieces to coordinate with the favorites you already own.  Anyone who knows me, will tell you, I LOVE versatility, and believe a great piece should offer more than one look.  With the amount of versatility in our designs, you’re guaranteed more bang for your buck.  You absolutely can’t go wrong – we’ve designed this collection to make sure you’ll get more.  So, go for it!  This will definitely be the season to accessorize!

What makes Premier Designs different than other jewelry?

We design with our Premier Jewelers and their customers in mind.  We want to serve them with the very best product.  As a company, we care deeply about the details and how each piece will best represent the Premier Designs Family.  We’re blessed to get feedback straight from our Jewelers.  We review and discuss every comment.  Having one-on-one feedback with the Jeweler helps us to continuously improve our jewelry lines and stay flexible to foster the growing markets.  This interaction makes us different from most design houses.

As I’ve mentioned before, we take great pride in creating extra details and versatility for our jewelry.  Versatility means more options.  And we offer fantastic designs that bring functionality and style.  I haven’t seen any brand with designs that do so much!  Versatility is key!

How do you feel about your chosen career path?  What advice would you give someone who is interested in designing or selling jewelry?

I am a driven designer and have been blessed to work with some of the best jewelry professionals in the field.  I’m also blessed to be able to do what I love every day!

My advice: Don’t be afraid to give your dreams a try.  It may not always be easy, but with hope, faith and strong work ethics you can do anything!