SBDC @ Santa Fe Community College
2016 Star Client
All That Glitters is Not Gold – But This Company Is!
Santa Fe Jewelers Supply (SFJS) was founded in 1987 by Stephanie Harp, her sister Kristin Chancellor, and Kristin’s husband Steve. Stephanie had observed the need for a local supplier in Santa Fe where there is such a high concentration of artisans. At that time the internet was not the resource it is today and traveling to Albuquerque or Gallup was the main way for these local artisans to source their supplies. Kristin and Steve were ready to leave their corporate careers and return to Santa Fe for the quality of life they missed, and this resulted in a perfect storm of opportunity that has lasted over 28 years.
The combined vision of this family has always been to promote the success of artisans while providing a comfortable, family-oriented and service driven shopping atmosphere. Since their humble beginning as a three person operation, SFJS now employs 16 people. The advent of a website and printed catalogue skyrocketed national and international mail order sales, necessitating a move to a larger facility in 2006. Presently, 30% of their sales are made to out of state buyers. The company is in the process of re-engineering its website and they hope these user-friendly improvements will boost this number significantly. Over the years SFJS has developed important exclusive relationships with manufacturers, fabricators and prestigious distributorships (like 3M), and has sourced custom stone cutting and casting services that provide products unique to SFJS. SFJS holds an annual jewelers swap meet and hosts several educational seminars throughout the year. The founders firmly believe that each of their customers is important, and that their success is SFJS’s success, so they develop products and services that are tailored to their needs. They employ local artisans and teach them to deliver excellent customer service. Although Stephanie has since sold her stake in the business, she remains on staff as expert gemologist and their chief buying agent in the Stones Department.
Fluctuations in the precious metals market have made this a challenging business, especially during the recent recession. In 2013 the crisis peaked for the company when it experienced its first financial loss due to a 40% drop in the value of their inventory. Many of their long time suppliers and customers were unable to survive. SFJS was able to turn this around in 1 year through careful inventory management and overhead reduction. In 2014, net profit bounced back 300%. This past year, SFJS implemented bar coding for its 10,000 skus further enhancing inventory management and streamlining the sales process. They are on track to reach $2.75 million in sales in 2015.
Steve and Kristin first met with their consultant, Debbie Collins in 2007. They have worked together over the years on HR issues, inventory management, marketing, product development and exit strategy. Kristin says, “We would recommend the services of the SBDC to both start up and existing companies to assist in clarifying their mission, devising and executing a business plan, and identifying resources available to them in pursuit of these goals. Debbie Collins has been an invaluable counselor and resource to growing and managing our business. Her acute listening skills, broad knowledge of available resources, and genuine interest in the success of her clients is instrumental in identifying key issues, formulating action plans and executing them. In addition, her consistent follow up and follow through keeps her clients ‘on task’ and accountable for results.”
As for the future, Kris and Steve aren’t ready to retire yet, but this family affair has another generation waiting in the wings. Daughter in law Starla Broughton and their son, Reese Chancellor are learning the business from the ground up as Head Cashier and Warehouse Manager.