The Maker’s Row team had the pleasure of starting out a new editorial series with a visit to downtown Manhattan. We were invited to spend a day with the leader behind All Jewelry Contracting, Dion Smith. Dion was recently featured in our February feature, Black-Owned Factories. He is contradicting stereotypes about factory owners and is hopeful about the future of manufacturing in America as more factory owners embrace technology.
This is the first of a series of “A Day in The Life” of factory owners, where we are going beyond the workshop, and getting to know the factory owners on a personal level: what motivates them, what they do for fun, etc. We were really happy that Dion agreed to be the first of our series, and honestly, we didn’t know what to expect. Despite our early arrival, Dion was energetic and happy to see us–and in athletic wear. As he gave us a quick tour of his apartment; the minimalist design and clean space was most noticeable. It made sense knowing how organized he is at AJC. We noticed his large windows that illuminated the room and overlooked Chelsea. Dion shared “I love the city. It motivates me.”
Dion lives in Manhattan about 3 blocks away from his factory. He recently moved closer in order to better run his business. “It has always been my dream to live here and be living in the heart of NYC. There’s no feeling like being close to your work.” Dion credits the city and his son as his greatest motivations in his life.
At the beginning of the day, Dion’s already on the phone with his vendors, making sure everything will be at the shop when he arrives. His morning routine includes gym, juice, sitting on the couch and going through emails until it’s time to head to work.
Running the Family Business
By 8:30, he gets into the shop that he manages with his father. Dion and his father run All Jewelry Contracting (AJC), a full-service manufacturer of fine jewelry. AJC works directly with clients to develop the most efficient way to produce their jewelry line and products based on materials, production size, schedules and most importantly, the desired price point.
Around the Clock Service
He doesn’t care how late or how long his days are. He sees the difference in companies that close at 5 PM sharp vs. those that are always available. Dion describes a recent client that was so impressed by his responsiveness: “she sent me an email at 2AM and I happened to be up, since I don’t sleep a lot. She said ‘ tomorrow can we go over an invoice?’ I just emailed her immediately and said ‘I have it up now, let’s go over it now.’ It just blew her mind. For me, it’s not a 9-5, it’s a ‘how can we help?'”
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