Billy Smith named to Independent Jewelers Organization board

Published 10:46 am Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Billy Smith of Smith Jewelers in downtown Franklin was recently appointed to the Board of Directors for the Independent Jewelers Organization — an international organization that, for more than 47 years, has been dedicated to helping retail jewelers work smarter and compete in their marketplace.

According to an announcement by IJO President and CEO Jeff Roberts, “Billy was chosen from among 750 retail jeweler members, which really says a lot about his leadership abilities, and the confidence the membership as a whole has in him.

“I’m excited to be working with Billy in this new capacity, as is the rest of the board. The IJO Board of Directors is composed of nine retail members and two supplier members.”

One of the ways the IJO helps retail jewelers is by enabling them to buy at group savings and pass those savings along to their customers. IJO also provides the latest education and information on product knowledge, marketing techniques, trends and styles to its members. The board position will involve Smith acting as a liaison between the membership and IJO management, and him helping to form ideas for the betterment of the overall operation of the IJO.

“Billy will be a great asset to IJO’s Board — he’s been an active, contributing member since the moment he joined this organization 30 years ago, and we’re privileged to have his input,” said IJO’s director of member services, Penny Palmer.

“Being associated with IJO represents integrity, quality and trust, and I’m proud to be able to give back to this organization that has helped my business in so many ways,” Smith said. “I look forward to serving my fellow members in any way I can over the next three years.”

Smith Jewelers has been located at 105 Second Ave., since 1958 when Smith’s father first owned the business. Smith has been a full-time jeweler since he graduated Randolph-Macon College in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and business.

“I heard about IJO from colleagues in the jewelry business and I thought it would be a good idea to see how other jewelry businesses operated,” Smith said when asked why he first joined. “I knew this was a non-competitive environment. I also thought it would be cool to meet manufacturers face-to-face and meet the owners of companies I deal with so I wasn’t just an account number. They could put a face to that account number. It worked quite well.”

When asked what he felt it takes to succeed as an independent jeweler, Smith said, “You have to have guts. You have to take calculated risks and be willing to fail every once in a while — everything you do won’t work. You just need to keep plugging and [be] willing to adapt to changes in the economy and business environment. What worked five years ago may not work now.”

Smith added that he is proud to be located in downtown Franklin.