Welcome to The Forum’s Business Owner Highlight Series! Meet our incredible business owners through these insightful interviews sharing how their business originated, its specialties, and personal anecdotes. Enjoy!
1. What is your full name, title, and the name of your business?
Brad Bass, Owner of Lumina Gem
2. What is the background story of your business? What was it that inspired you to start it?
Being an Art Major at ECU in 1997 I had to choose a concentration. At first, I chose Communication Arts and after sitting behind a computer for many weeks I decided I really didn’t like graphics as much as I thought I would. I took some Metals Survey classes and really enjoyed the energy in the studio and loved creating 3D objects made of semi-precious metals. I changed my focus, took a class at Penland for ECU credits, and graduated ECU with a BFA in Metal Design in 2002. From there I moved to Carlsbad, CA where I attended the Gemological Institute and graduated with a Business Principles Module Diploma and received the industry’s prestigious Graduate Gemology Diploma. I worked various jobs including repairs, custom jewelry, and sales with a few different jewelry companies before branching out and starting Lumina Gem in 2009. At first, I operated solely out of an office in Lumina Station and my garage for the 1st year and a half, then partnered with Home Again near the end of 2010. In March of this year, we moved next door from where we were into a beautiful new space and I’m now 100% owner again. Come check us out!
3. What does your business specialize in?
We are a full-service jewelry store doing sales and services. We sell new and estate jewelry from well-known designers. Our services include custom jewelry, repair, appraisals, watch batteries, consigning, brokering, and gold buying. We can handle just about any of your fine jewelry needs. We just opened our newly designed store and now offer on-site CAD design, introduced designer handbag consignments, and offer a section of jewelry, gemstones, and sculptures that are all locally made.
4. What brings you the greatest joy in managing/owning this business?
There are so many things that I love about this business, mainly that many customers have become good friends over the years.
As the owner, I also love watching my staff learn and grow over the years. Their success is ultimately my success so I always keep that in mind.
As far as customer interaction goes, seeing how thrilled someone is when they pick up customized jewelry that was redesigned from a worn or broken family heirloom piece brings a great sense of accomplishment because every project like that is completely different. There is usually lots of emotion involved. I love not saying a word, handing them the finished piece, and watching their expression. I’ve seen quite a few tears of joy over the years.
5. What’s one fun fact about your business that most people don’t know about?
If the store gets empty towards the end of the day we love to crank up the music, pop a bottle of wine, and jam out to whatever kind of music we are feeling that day, especially if sales were good. For me, it’s usually Reggae, but I enjoy a variety of music.
6. Why do you believe it’s important to shop local?
It’s important for all of us to have that sense of community, a good support system. People buy from us, we spend with other local businesses, and so on. Never feel like you’re just “spending money” when you buy from a local business. When you buy local you’re making an investment in your community. Here at Lumina Gem, we also give back by donating items, money, and time to several local charities.