Since February is this the month of love, I wanted to write a little more about celebrating our fortieth year in business in 2016. It seems to me, you don’t get to celebrate such a milestone without a healthy dose of love in the mix. Love, combined with hard work and determination, has made us who we are today. In 1976 my parents, Larry and Armen, opened Epperson’s Jewelers. My brother Chris, was 6 and I was 4 when, in our basement, it all began. Since I don’t have many memories of that time, I thought it would be fun to interview my mother about those early days and 40 years in the jewelry business…
EW: What do you remember most about those early days? You had a new business, a new house, and 2 small children. Were you afraid you wouldn’t succeed?
AE: We were busy, both with the shop and with our family, so it was A LOT of hard work. It was fun. We were young and our employees were young and there was a great amount of energy in the shop. Yes, I was always afraid, but your father never was. He never stopped to think that something could be a failure. He always felt that if something didn’t work out we still would have learned from it. His tag line was “I can do that”, and he could.
EW: What is the key to doing this and doing it well for so many years?
AE: Get up every morning and do your job the best you can. I think that is what makes us stand out. We have always understood that every piece we make or repair is personal. We handle every piece like it’s our own, knowing that it leaves here with our name and reputation with it.
EW: What are some changes that you’ve seen in the jewelry business over the years?
AE: Technology! The actual way that jewelry is made is very different from when we started out. I thought he was way out there when your father wanted to buy the laser welder and CNC machine, but when the industry changes we change with it. Also, branding has very much changed the business. While there have always been popular brands, there wasn’t always such an accessible pool to choose from. When the price of gold went up, it made room for the silver lines by David Yurman, Pandora, etc. to mainstream. Now women often choose to buy several trendy pieces rather than select fine jewelry items, let alone, custom pieces. We’ve had to make adjustments to stay current and relative.
EW: What are you most proud of in the business?
AE: That we’re still here! Also, our reputation. Most of our business comes from personal recommendations from our customers. We have many 2nd and 3rd generation customers. That is a huge compliment! I’m also proud of the talented people who work with us, our jewelers and designers. We have always understood the importance of that craftsmanship.
EW: What is your favorite piece of jewelry? I ask this knowing the answer. The Eppersons are nothing if not sentimental. She has many incredible pieces that my father made, I just wanted to see what might stand out.
AE: My wedding ring (cue tears in both of our eyes). Everything that Larry made me is special. I love the diamond crosses that he made for each of us girls in the family. I also cherish a gold coin that my grandmother brought when she came to this country.
If you know my mother, and if you don’t you should, you know that she is kind, beautiful, gracious and steadfast in her faith. She is also smart, resilient and the backbone of this company. My father was always the one in the spotlight; my mother is and has always been the heart and soul of our business. My parents were fortunate to make a living by doing what they love with the people they love. Not a bad business model.
I had such a good time reminiscing with my sweet mother. She had plenty of fun memories, so I’ll write more about those in future posts.