About Eric Phillips

The services I offer to jewelers, both those given freely in the names of vendors whom I represent, and the training and consulting services which I offer independently, are based on nearly forty years in the retail jewelry industry.  My experiences running groups of fine jewelry departments in upscale department stores were different from those running my own store, where we focused on parts of the business which chain stores could not hope to do as well.   Yet my experiences in each clarify those in the other.  The analytical, management, display and training tools which I had acquired while working in complex corporate environments were honed by putting them into practice in my own store.

Through my work on the board of MN. / N.D. Jewelers’ Association, I campaigned for truthful advertising, proper disclosure of enhancements, and insistence on proper trademarks.  When JA decided to revise their code of ethics, I wrote the initial proposal (based largely on the Caux Round Table Report) which, with minor modifications, became the new JA Code of Ethics and Rules of Professional Conduct.  I also helped to facilitate a BBB project, funded by JA, to confront certain large corporations over deceptive pricing in their advertising.  Although the FTC ultimately declined to enforce our findings, we set some precedents which can still be used today.  This led to my serving twelve years on the board of directors of the MN. – N.D. Better Business Bureau, where I worked to encourage the BBB to keep its focus on its original core mission of proactive ad review.

After closing Carats early in 2011, I decided to focus on helping jewelers in the upper Midwest to improve their business, through consulting, training, mentoring, and helping them to access some exceptional sources of merchandise and support.   I am particularly proud, in this effort, to be associated with Eric Braunwart, of Columbia Gem House, who has done more than anyone in the world over the past thirty years to encourage ethical and transparent sourcing of gems, and full disclosure at all levels.