Saturday, March 7, 2009
An American Trader Story from Durango, Colorado
I have been a silver and goldsmith in Durango Colorado since 1973. I have a beautiful Log Trading Post that I personally built in 1975-76.
My wife Estell and I ran the Trading Post dealing in antique guns, old Indian items, vintage cowboy items and our Jewelry unti
In 1990. I started making old cowboy Jewelry designs in silver and while showing them at the Denver Gift show I landed a giant Japanese account. In 1992, I was informed by the U.S. Dept of Commerce that my company was one of the top 10 Jewelry exporters of the United States, we were shipping over 23,000 piesces of Jewelry to Tokyo per month.
I became interested in importing jewelry so I took my family to Bali, Indonesia for about 5 weeks and worked with the Jewelry manugfacturers to develop a line of Jewelry using my stones. I brought it back to the States and it was a hit. I sold thousands of pieces wholesale as well as retail.
In 1995, I decided I wanted to start up an International Trading Company - On the Internet. My friends son had just graduated from a tech school with a degree in programing and Jim Weber helped me to develop a site at GlobalArts.com. Together, Jim and I developed one of the first file reduction programs on the net. It reduced digital photos from millions of colors to 256 colors that came up quickly on the Internet. I went on to build one of the first online stores on the Internet and it did not take long before sales were unbelievable! In 1996, the media provoked a credit card scare and Internet sales came to an end immediately.
Jim Weber and I went in partners on Durango.com in 1996 as well and we started developing an online travel reservations system for Durango, Co. We got it up in 1997 and the sales were unbelievable. We built our first online storebuilder in 1998 and started IndianVillage.com, I worked very hard trying to get the Indian Traders and community going on the Internet, but, I was really ahead of my time.
We then went on to build SouthwestDirectory.com taking reservations for over 250 cities and I really believed I was going to be a billionare, business was growing so fast - it was truely unbelievable! We had landed Laughlin, Nevada (Gambling Town) and did so good for them we got the bid on Las Vegas and had just signed a contract with the city (Las Vegas Chamber - LasVegas.com) when I woke up to the Twin Towers financial center in New York City being hit by airplanes. Well, our nation took that blow really bad, people freaked out! I had 23 employees plus a large marketing team and the whole business went out the door in a matter of about a month. I was fortunate in being able to sell Durango.com and a bunch of other holdings to break even with my losses.
In 2002, My son Dillon came to me and asked if we could get back into the Jewelry business and teach him what I knew. We opened the Trading Post back up shortly after in 2003 and have been running Durango Silver Company since.
I will type a continuing blog soon about the Jewelry business, old and new - soon!