Back to Blog April 16, 2016
So this was my first lesson in the school of hard knocks. I was a very green entrepreneur and had a family member recommend an advertising agency. And did the agnecy see me coming! Green and unexperienced, bright eyes and looking for help with some cash for advertising. Wow, was I ripe for picking and the company picked the fruit off the tree
I was originally wholesaling chain and charms in Alberta. I was one of the first wholesalers to introduce those diamond cut eagle charms, floating hearts, nugget bracelets and the extra fine twisted serpentine chains, that just about everyone wore at the time. All of those items were sold to stores by the gram weight of the items. A store would pick what they needed and I would weigh up the order and based on the cost per gram, bill them for the items. It really wasn’t much different than selling meat or produce at the grocery store, except a pound would be a fortune. I figured that stores in Calgary, Edmonton and surrounding areas could do better, so I had the idea to start a store. I won’t get into how naïve I was and how unprepared my business plan was but I started the store.
It was a rocky start with construction issues and being severely undercapitalized. I also had no idea on marketing. So along comes the ad agency recommended to me. I met with them and my recollection now is something like a flock of vultures devouring a carcass on the Serengeti. They said I needed a logo and a name, and of course advertising. I was planning on selling by the gram like so many similar start up jewellers in Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Edmonton. Calgary had none like that yet. I gave my pitch and idea to the agency and they went to work. A few weeks later they came back with some ideas.
They realized that all precious metals are weighed in a special weight system. The system is the Troy system. And that is pretty much the way our name became a reality. So the name is not based on any owner, though I do get called Troy a lot. And the number of times people call us the “Toy Shoppe” has been frequent but the store is still going since 1980.
For our name, our logo and the work to place one quarter page ad in a glossy magazine came to $10,000. That included the cost of the ad placement which was about $2500. Back then the name was as costly as gold itself. A big lesson learned in a very hard way. I no longer keep in touch with that family member that recommended the advertising agency. And where is the advertising agency? They are long gone. I wonder why?