First, thank you. For being right here. For reading these words. You could be in a whole of other places. And somehow, you're here. Thank you for that.
JATW came about, not because of a grand plan on my part. Call it luck. Call it God. Call it whatever you want. Perhaps, like you, it seems the work found me, more than I found the work. The calling. The passion.
I started this business on a wing and a prayer back in '95. I was lucky. Things hit right away. I was working at the time at Simon Golub & Sons, whom many of you know very well. But my time with them was coming to an end. I had about 3 weeks, and I was out of a job.
I had planned for JATW for a few months. I had written copy. Envelope copy. Worked with all kinds of names. What should I call this thing? Jewelry Ads That Work is boring, really. But it says what this business is about. Giving you -- this is about you -- ads that work.
I did a mailing. And I got customers. I had no idea what would happen. I just had an idea for a business that I believed there was a place for, a need for. But I had no idea where it would go.
I did everything back then by mail, and phone. I sent out thousands of letters to jewelers. And the response was good. I counted my blessings then, and I count them now.
I began with just print. Back then, there were no digital images. Even the ads I did for the first year didn't have any images in them. Just the frame of the ad, and the headline.
In 1996, I began writing radio copy.
In 2000, I joined IJO. It changed things in a lot of ways for me. IJO is a top-notch organization. I give thanks for IJO.
I got into wide-format printing in 2001. Bought a 36-inch wide printer. And I began printing and selling posters. And banners. Boy, did they sell.
Somewhere in there, I started writing thank you cards. Boy, did they sell, too.
I could tell you more about the history of JATW, but like your story, it's been a story that, in the end, you give thanks for. You gave thanks to whatever God or force you believe in. You give thanks to the countless people who joined with you. Who believed in you. Who stuck with you.
Jerry Miller owns Wink's Fine Jewelry in Brookings SD. He was my very first customer. He's still with me, 19 years later. Thank you, Jerry, far more than these words say.
JATW really is all about love. We don't talk about love enough in business. Business is nothing more, and nothing less, than people. Yes, it's about having products and services that people need and want. It's about a whole bunch of things. But business, done right, in my thinking, is about loving the men and women that we work with. It's about me loving my customers, and you loving your customers. It's about, somehow, finding ways to put more love into this world. And mostly, we do that one at a time. You do it with the men and women who walk into your store. The way you greet them. Listen to them. Share with them. Help them. And while you get mighty tuckered out a lot of times, you carry on.
We talk about love being the greatest force in the world. I believe that. Love. Kindness. Gratitude. Forgiveness, for others, mostly for ourselves.
So as you go through things on the site, I hope you enjoy what you see. I hope you feel what you see. The idea is to touch people. To make them think. To make them feel. To make consider you, and your jewelry. It's to make them go ... who is it that talks to me this way? The idea, really, is for this advertising to reflect who YOU are. And let people see and feel and sense who YOU are.
Years ago, I was at an IJO show. It was one evening after the show. I think it was in Dallas. I was by myself. I was standing a distance from the hotel bar. It was packed with jewelers. They were laughing and loud and talking and having fun. Great fun. And I'll never forget what I thought. I thought, These are the men and women that I work for, and with. Beautiful men and women. Men and women who work hard, who care, who play hard, who are passionate about what they do.
If you're with JATW now, know that I am grateful for you. You put bread on my table. Clothes on my back. You keep a roof over my head. I know who butters my bread. If you're not with JATW yet, I hope we get a chance to talk. I hope we get a chance to know each other.
My job is to help you build your business. To do whatever I can to help you reach customers in ways that these men and women respond to. I want them, when they see or hear your message, to lean in to you. To want to know more. About you. About what you sell. I want them to WANT to do business with you.
And fortunately, I've created all kinds of way to help you make that happen.
Thanks for being here. And as best as we can, let's change the world with love, in everything we do.