David Saad here from Skyjems.ca.
Thank you all for joining me.
This is my message to you and everybody else in the jewellery and gemstone industry, about COVID.
I know a lot of you are freaking out.
Any of you who have retail stores are definitely having a hard time.
I know a lot of you rely on gem shows and trade shows to make your living.
Whether, you know, big dealers who are travelling all over the world doing a different city every week or two.
Bangkok, Hong Kong, Basel.
Bangkok kept on going but it might as well have been cancelled.
Basel's cancelled, which is, I mean, almost unbelievable.
Hong Kong show was cancelled.
Everybody's having a bit of a hard time and the world's kind of had the pause button hit.
Every major market has been more or less closed.
The physical markets.
Bangkok, Sri Lanka, they've all been closed.
We're now in a place where we all have to look at our businesses and plan for the future.
Don't worry about the future; you need to plan.
Worrying does nothing.
Planning is how you get to where you want to be.
And I think most of us have road maps, you know, where we want to go.
If you don't, it's definitely time to make that roadmap.
COVID almost certainly–
You know, if we're going to talk about it being a roadmap, gave you a flat tire at the very least.
If you drive it's–
Like I said, it's a flat tire.
It's a temporary thing.
It's something that is going to be fixed, but it's not going to be fixed by you and it's not going to be fixed by me.
So instead of worrying about COVID itself, I want you to think and plan and strategize what you're going to do.
Think about your business and how you're going to move forward.
If you have a store, you are now an online retailer.
You have no choice but to go out and get online payment options set up.
You know, PayPal, Square, whatever else it is in your local areas.
These are not an option.
This is a must.
So, for some people who may have been kind of holding off on that, you know, hadn't committed a lot to their retail presence–
You know, for their online retail presence, this is the time to go ahead with that.
If you don't know how, there are tons and tons of resources online.
Google will find you the way to move forward.
I can't tell anybody how to best move forward with their business because you're the expert on your business, not me.
But like I said: you are an online retailer now.
There are some interesting advantages that many of us, and pretty much anybody who's going to be watching this have.
Anybody who is a smaller retailer or an online-only retailer, or even if you're somebody who goes and just does weekend shows, right?
You do 15, 20 weekend shows a year.
You are now on the same footing as Tiffany, and Van Cleef, and Cartier, and Graff.
Because they no longer have their stores.
And I mean these are stores–
If you haven't been to some of these stores, I mean these are stores where they have 2, 3, 5 million dollars in renovations and decor.
They have staff who are very, very well-trained to be in-person staff.
They're constantly giving these people–
Spending a lot, a lot of money on these people for training.
Sales training and whatnot, which is something you really need to be doing yourself.
Right, and again, you can go find something else on YouTube, besides me, to help you with your sales.
And this is something that, again, like I said.
This is an opportunity for you to re-balance yourself, reset yourself in some ways, and grow in new directions.
Just because one direction has been closed, it does not mean that all roads are closed.
So there are some very good opportunities out there.
You might want to look at some of the auction houses that are going to be doing more online auctions.
Sotheby's and Christie's have already said they're going to be doing more online auctions.
Skinner, Phillips as well.
So those are some that you can look at and say, "Oh, well I have this and this and this. Maybe I can send it to auction and see how it works out with that."
There are marketplaces that you can find to sell on, and now is the time to do that.
Right, again, online is now absolutely key.
I'm primarily in the online business and it's working out–
You know, so far it's not working out great because people just aren't spending money.
Although I'm starting to see wallets open up just a little bit more again.
People are realizing that this is not the way it's going to be forever.
People are realizing that crazy things happen in life.
Warren Buffet put it really well when they asked him about COVID.
And he said, "Well, you know, I always say that if you're in the markets for long enough you'll see everything, and it took me to 89 years of age to see this."
So that's how unprecedented this is.
And that's how creative we're going to have to be.
Events like this breed creativity.
And as much as I don't like to put it this way, there's going to be winners and losers on the other side of this.
Whether it's 3 months or 6 months or however long it takes, there's going to be winners and losers on the other side of this, and you need to figure out how you're going to make yourself and your business on the–
Be on the winning side.
Like I said: small operators like me and like most of my clients actually have a big advantage here.
Now, you know, like I said, Tiffany and Cartier are now on the same footing as you and I.
So because Tiffany and Cartier are now on the same footing as you and I, it means we have the ability to kind of catch up, right?
We have the ability to say, "All right, Tiffany and Cartier's clients. This is what Tiffany and Cartier has. This is what I have."
We're also looking at moving into a time where people are going to be a little bit more money-conscious.
So it might be a great time for you to look at some of your older stock and say, "Okay well, I've been sitting on this for 2 years or 3 years or 4 years. I don't mind just blowing it out at my cost."
Some stuff, maybe even, you say, "Okay well, I've had it for 4 years, I already sold half of it. I'll blow the rest out at 10 percent, 20 percent below my cost."
Right? This is the time to do that.
People are going to be price-conscious for sure.
And getting, talking about people who are price-conscious, people that are my clients that are selling coloured gemstones, again.
We have a major advantage.
What you get.
You know, a $5,000 sapphire versus a $5,000 diamond.
$5,000 sapphire blows a $5,000 diamond out of the water pretty much every single day.
9.99 times out of 10, right?
The coloured gemstone business actually has a bright future ahead of it, in my opinon.
People are still going to be getting married.
There was already a shift towards using coloured gemstones in engagement rings.
I've been making 2 or 3 engagement rings a week for the past couple of years with sapphire, emerald, ruby.
So, because of this there is, like I said, a lot of opportunity for us to go out and acquire clients who may have gone elsewhere.
Acquire clients who–
You know, if you had, just as an example, if somebody had 50 million dollars going into COVID, and I'm not talking about–
I'm talking about people who had money.
You know, have and had money.
If you had 50 million dollars going into COVID and now that 50 million dollars is worth 20 million dollars, you are not so keen on spending 250 thousand dollars on a ruby ring at Tiffany.
But you may be very interested in coming to me, David Saad or Skyjems, and getting something...
I mean, a 250 thousand dollar ruby ring at Tiffany is something that we know we can make and sell to our clients for 40 to 75 thousand, and give them at least as good of a product.
And people are going to be looking for that today.
And going forward.
And this is going to be–
Thrift and frugality are going to be the way of the future.
But that doesn't mean that people are going to stop wearing jewellery.
People have been wearing jewellery for 100,000 years.
I wear my jewellery.
So this is another thing, actually.
And you see I'm wearing a decent shirt, I shaved and all that.
If you're stuck at home, shave every day.
Shower every day.
You know, do all your–
You know, get dressed.
Put on your jewellery.
Do yourself up.
And, like I said: strategize.
Don't think, don't worry.
When you're thinking, don't let it go towards the worrying.
Plan what you're going to do.
We have a bright future ahead of us.
This is a bump in the road, but the trip is definitely not over.
And the ride is not–
The ride only ends when we die.
And, as I say, and I've said so many times around being a gem dealer.
You know, people ask me, "When are you going to retire?"
I say, "When I die."
That's still, that's still my intent.
That I will retire when I die.
So until then, I'm going to keep on strategizing.
I'm going to keep on planning.
And I'm going to keep on pushing forward.
If you have questions, comments, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can even call me on my mobile: 416-587-2112.
I'm not even trying to sell you anything.
You can, like I said, tell me to go fuck myself because you think I'm full of shit.
If you're angry, I understand.
That's kind of part of this process.
So, reach out to me and tell me your thoughts.
I'd love to hear your plans.
I want to hear your big plans, for sure.
That's the thing I really want to hear.
I want to know how it is that you are going to get through this and come out not just okay on the other side, but stronger and in a position to move yourself and your business forward.
Thank you all so much for watching.
Bye for now.