Barbara Oliver…in My Own Words
While growing up in Tonawanda, I discovered my lifelong passion for gemstones. While my friends played with dolls and dressed up, I immersed myself in gemological books and learned about precious stones. While I can’t say this made me the cool kid in school (I was clearly a little before my time on this one), it laid the foundation for what it is we do now. I just knew that one day I would be a jeweler, and I consider myself blessed to be doing what I love doing best.
My father, Jerry, was the consummate sales professional, and I learned a lot from him as I launched my career. I honed my sales skills early on selling all sorts of things – clothing, real estate, cars, postage meters, even commercial lighting. Under dad’s tutelage I learned the art of being a sales professional; discovering the buyer’s needs and desires, overcoming objections, and closing the deal.
It was all good stuff, but there was an overarching lesson which he stressed constantly – to be successful in business, you have to be able to build relationships. He told me it’s not about leading someone to your way of thinking, it’s about listening carefully, asking the right questions, and finally, when you have real understanding, sharing relevant information. Dad said if you’ve done your job right, they’ll discover the reasons for themselves as to why they should do business with you. And if you do your job really well they’ll come back again and again. And he was right. It’s like instant karma.
After a few years of selling other things, I revisited my early dream of being in the jewelry business and became a Graduate Gemologist through the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Having that formal and rigorous training in diamonds, gemstones, and precious metals enabled me to get a foothold in the jewelry business. When passion meets opportunity good things happen, and I thrived. I worked for other jewelry stores for a number of years, and I learned a lot about the jewelry and gemstone industries. During that time I also observed some business practices that were not customer focused, and on occasion, unfair and dishonest. I realized that the way I wanted to do business would only be achieved if I had control over the jewelry shopping experience from start to finish. So in 2003 I started Barbara Oliver Jewelry.
I was blessed that my customers from over the years followed me here to the third floor of an office building. Sometimes people comment that our location is genius, and I laugh and tell them the reason we selected this location was so if I didn’t make it, no one would ever know. Now, of course, our location makes perfect sense – it allows us to focus on delivering exceptional customer service and building an intimate and personal shopping experience. We don’t get any “walk by” traffic, but once people find us, they keep coming back. Plus we don’t pay high retail rents, which reflect in the value we offer all of our customers.
For most people, buying a piece of jewelry is an act of trust. Educating yourself can be hard; there are significant variations in the designs, the metals, the size and quality of the stones, the workmanship, and the degree to which the people selling you will stand behind their product. I hate to say it, but there’s also a lot of misleading or outright false information in our industry. So, it always comes back to trust. Which is where we excel.
Our commitment to quality, to providing expert knowledge, to sweating the small details, and to treating everyone with integrity and respect are the cornerstones of what we do here at Barbara Oliver Jewelry. We hope you’ll visit us and find out for yourself how we create a “jewelry shopping experience like no other.”