Walking The Talk
I'm currently at the 2019 Tucson Gem Show. A few days ago I almost quit my business, but I've decided to keep at it. Rather than quitting, I'm committing to being the change I wish to see in the world.
I know what I need to do.
If you’ve been following my adventure this past two weeks, you know I came to a crossroads while at the Tucson Gem Show and realized that I either needed to take ethical sourcing more seriously or else get out of the crystal business altogether.
I chose to dive in deeper and signed up for a conference about sustainable sourcing in the jewelry industry. In the week between that decision and the conference itself, I had numerous encounters with my sources where I asked hard questions and got a sense of where the industry is at. I wrote about those encounters here and here. Now, I'd like to tell you a little bit about that conference itself and an important realization I had while I was there.
The conference lasted two full days, with panels of speakers, Q & A sessions, and regular opportunities to mingle and make business connections. It was an intimate gathering, only about 60 people attended, with slightly more women than men. I’m not a wallflower, so I approached anyone who caught my attention.
Some of the attendees introduce themselves to me by saying their office is “on 47th street” (that’s the diamond district in New York City) or told me they're a second, fourth or sixth-generation jeweler. People made references to their “time on the hill” (Capital Hill, in Washington DC) or their work with multi-million-dollar companies. There were many CEOs in that room, as well as jewelry designers, jewelry store owners, gem dealers and the founders of NGOS dedicated to bettering the lives of miners in some of the poorest regions of the world.
Yet, they welcomed me – a healing crystal lady – into their midst. Even though I don't deal in gold and diamonds. Even though, I don't even make or sell wire-wrapped healing jewelry.
They welcomed me because the jewelry industry is large, yet relatively few people are actively concerned about ethical sourcing. From what I gathered, most of the major players in the United States who care about ethical jewelry, were either in that room, or have attended similar gatherings in recent years. It’s a small club. So anyone who sticks around is soon known to all.
Now Julie of Moonrise Crystals is on their radar. Isn’t that delightfully odd?
But perhaps, it's not so strange. After all, passion calls to passion. We’re all activists and rebels, challenging the status quo. Some of us take a harder line than others, but all of us share a bright spark to be good and to do better. While I did learn a few things and made some interesting contacts, the main thing I got from the conference was validation.
I’m definitely approaching sourcing in the right way. I’m building a grounded, smart and heart-centered business that I can be proud of.
Over and over, for two days, the main theme was simply this: know your source and track your supply chain.
A Flash of Insight
As the conference went on, I stopped thinking about myself and started thinking more about all the other healing crystal shops. All those wonderful local and small businesses, run by people who love rocks and have good hearts. People just like you and me. I thought to myself, I bet many of those little healing crystal stores would like to ethically source.
They either just haven’t thought about it or else they don’t know how to do it.
Thinking bigger, beyond the sellers, there are so many goodhearted people who buy healing crystals. Sure, some people only care about a cheap price. But many others sincerely care about ethics. We eat organic food, buy fair-trade coffee and donate to charities. We want to thrive and we want other people to thrive too. We spend money in a way that reflects our values.
Buyers need empowering tools to help them shop more wisely.
Unfortunately, there's nothing out there that helps people ethically source healing crystals. It's a glaring hole in our industry.
What if there was a guide? What if there was a free online resource and a physical book that helped people to ethical source their healing crystals. What if it didn't matter whether someone is brand-new to crystals or has been working with earth magic for years?
What if it didn't matter where they were shopping; online, at a show, at their little local crystal shop? What if the guide was easy to use and made an overwhelming challenge feel manageable? What if it was specifically written for our community, those of us who feel energy and love the earth?
Such a guide would be useful. Someone should create that.
In fact, I’ve already have half of that information written on my website right now. I was already planning to overhaul how I talk about sourcing for each type of stone and be more transparent. It would be relatively easy to tweak a few things so that other people can do what I do.
But wait - shouldn’t I be focused on making money? The all-holy-dollar must be courted above all. I should hoard my knowledge so I can do better than my competitors and leave them in my dust. That's what I should do. The only problem is…. that sounds really boring to me.
I’d much rather be inclusive and raise the vibration for all.
The End of the Show
After the conference ended, I meet with one final source, to buy a few more crystals before flying home. This source actually owns a mine in Peru. You can’t get more direct than that, unless you dig it out of the ground yourself. It was dinnertime and we had both worked hard for many days in a row. He said,
“Hey Julie, do you like Peruvian food? Yeah? You ever tried a pisco sour? Yeah? Let’s go to dinner! Come on, it’s time to relax.”
So we boxed up my stones and we covered up his tables, full of beautiful crystals. We closed up his tent and piled into one car. Off we went - to laugh, to eat, to celebrate, and to get to know one another better. It's important to know your sources.
It was a perfect ending for this Tucson show.