Lew Pacheco talks fast. Asked about the issue of time, his eyes twinkle. And he starts talking even faster. You get the picture that is probably how he works at the bench—quick, efficient, laser-focused, and with a palpable excitement for what he does:

“The girls who work for me laugh because they say I count minutes. I do. I count minutes. I count footsteps. I count time!” As the owner, bench jeweler, and jewelry designer at Pacheco Fine Jewelry and Gifts in Taunton, MA, he needs all of the time he can spare. With more than 40 jewelry stores in close proximity, he knows that “if I can’t meet my customer’s needs, there’s 30 or 40 other guys who can.”

Pacheco’s fascination with time and efficiency may come from a previous career in banking and finance. Like all savvy businessmen, he knows that financial vigilance and attention to time go hand in hand.

“People who don’t think time is money are wrong,” he says. And while he likes making money, he points out that it’s not the only reason that he wants to keep time on his side: “The less time it takes to do things, the more time I have for myself. As I’m getting older, I realize there’s less and less time.”

Money, in fact, wasn’t what lured him into the trade. His wife worked for a jewelry store, and he found himself gravitating to the craft of jewelry making because he found it interesting and relaxing. He primarily taught himself, using YouTube and Stuller tutorials.

Over the years, he’s maintained a businessman’s focus on productivity and innovation. The jewelry business is changing, he explains, and jewelers who can’t keep up with the pace of change will end up doing what he calls “the dinosaur dance”—a kind of ungainly, twitching flail that afflicts business models on the verge of extinction.

We all know what happened to the dinosaurs, but Pacheco keeps finding ways to beat the clock, oftentimes with Stuller at his side. He points in particular to a cluster of Stuller products and services that work together to keep time from slipping away when he needs it most. He describes CounterSketch Studio™, first of all, as a home run, because it’s allowed him to customize and buy mountings while avoiding the tedious task of setting melee:

“Most of my clients don’t care about all the little diamonds,” he explains. “They just care about the main stone in the middle being set in-house. When I order through CounterSketch, it’s done. I just have to take 10 minutes, set the stone, and off I go on to the next project. That’s been a godsend to me.”

He also gives credit to his laser welder, which he has actually timed in action on a series of tasks, determining that it is 33-35% faster at doing every repair that he does.

More than anything, he relies on the powerful trinity of Stuller.com, next-day delivery, and Stuller First—which combine to help him lower inventory and boost cash flow, even considering that he usually orders three to four times per week from Stuller (and every day during the holidays).

“Stuller First was a no-brainer. Just a complete no-brainer. I had more clients than I had time and couldn’t do it all. I tried looking for another bench jeweler, but it worked horribly. So I said: ‘Let me see if I can do things much, much faster.’ I started training my staff on Stuller.com. They’ll take in the repair and if I say it needs a medium lobster or a small lobster, they’ll go right to Stuller.com, put it right in the cart. We’re not worried, because it’s $6.99 to ship it. The cost is irrelevant, because the shipping cost is so low. And it means we don’t need the $25,000 ‘giant wall of findings.’ We can invest that in inventory that will move and equipment we need.” As the holiday approaches and with it hordes of new consumers with very different, dynamic expectations, it’s tough to say precisely what will sit in the showcase and what will sell. And who truly knows exactly what will be standing where the giant walls of findings once stood or what will flourish when the last dinosaur dance is done? For now, maybe the best answer is (to put it in terms that a time-sensitive businessman like Mr. Pacheco would appreciate): only time will tell.

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