This article is part of our effort to showcase one Tulsa area entrepreneur for each day of Global Entrepreneurship Week, be sure to check out the rest!
J. David Jewelry
Mankind has been wearing jewelry for thousands of years. It has always been used to give people social cues, to convey status, and simply to look beautiful. The craft of making jewelry has been refined by many different cultures and their methods and styles are as varied as the pieces they create.
While working for a large jewelry company J. David Wiland couldn’t shake the thought that he was helping the industry sell a mass produced and average product, when people should expect more. That business model bothered him, but he saw an opportunity. J. David Jewelry was founded in 1994 to produce and sell higher quality jewelry that would last a lifetime at a better price. He purchased stones directly from the cutters and manufactured all his own jewelry, achieving the quality and price he wanted.
Many people would assume a successful jewelry business could only be built by someone starting with a large amount of capital. Many people would be wrong. Mr. Wiland started the business with three rings, $500, and high standards. What he lacked in capital he had to make up for in hard work, “there are one hundred and sixty-eight (168) hours in a week, you can work one hundred and twenty (120) of them. Success is not achieved in a forty (40) hour work week.”
That hard work has paid off and J. David Jewelry continues to make customers happy more than twenty years later. The only thing to do now is to try to make even more customers happy. Mr. Wiland explained that his company “works in a 6,000 year old industry that has been doing the same things the same way for too long. I believe we have created a duplicatable model that will change the way that jewelry stores run today.”
What was an unexpected challenge you face as an entrepreneur?
Taking one step at a time and not getting ahead of myself. I had to learn to stay focused on the task at hand and not get distracted by the next thing.
Going into it, what did you feel was the biggest risk?
I went into this with almost nothing to lose financially, the biggest risk was the stress level on my family, as well as taking the time away from the family needed to succeed.
What are people’s biggest misconception about being an entrepreneur?
That you work when you want, but even more so that you are your own boss. Your customers and employees are why you became successful in business. You are serving them. They are the boss.
What advice would you offer to someone wanting to start their own company?
Plan, learn, listen, and read. Take steps, not leaps. Read even more. Never stop.