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Finding Kate

Finding Kate

By Ellen Fruchtman As I sit here on April 12 with the task of writing an article, it seems impossible for me to think of much else other than my friend, Kate Peterson. Perhaps everyone has had their say about this tragic loss. But, here I am. Today, it doesn’t seem quite right to pen something else other than to speak about this amazing woman. Especially for an e-newsletter called FINDINGS. Kate found me. Kate found our company. Yes, we had been in business since 1981. Our very first retail jeweler was Harold Jaffe Jewelers located in Toledo, Ohio. Our only retail jeweler. At the time, we were a typical advertising/marketing firm that didn’t specialize in anything. We handled everything from Subway Franchises to automotive dealerships to steel companies. If memory serves me well (and for those who know me, it doesn’t), this is going back to around 1999. At the time, Kate also served as a consultant for Harold Jaffe. As part of her work, she would review marketing and advertising. Our work was pretty breakthrough at the time. We never showed a piece of jewelry in a television ad. We very wisely recognized, even back then, that jewelry was an emotional purchase. It had nothing to do with the actual piece of jewelry. Get their heart and you will get their wallet. The campaign won several Advertising Awards, but the greatest award of all is that it was noticed. By one Kate Peterson. Kate invited both Michael and me to come to our first jewelry show in Las Vegas. I recall vividly where her booth was positioned. Right on top of the escalator and stairs. She set up a monitor in her booth. She insisted we show the television commercials we created. She introduced us to the litany of people that stopped by to chat with her. That very first year, she introduced us to people like Bill Sites (who has become a lifelong friend). I met some guy that wore a bow tie. I knew no one. I knew nothing. In fact, I didn’t even know at the time I could actually go onto the show floor! I thought we were relegated to the upstairs lobby! Kate sent me in. Of course, I couldn’t find my way out. True story. Michael had to come in and find me. The next year, the invitation was extended again. Mind you, she would not let us pay! After the third year, we insisted. And, thus started our long-standing relationship of not only sharing a booth, but Kate sharing her knowledge and expertise. Kate found us. Kate found us clients. Kate found us new friends. More importantly, Kate taught me. Literally everything I know about this business, I know from her. Sure, we had our Alpha female issues. But, at the end of the day, we both would step back and let everything go. As the years went by, we opted to share a home in Vegas during JCK. Know what else we found? That we loved making “Big Steak Night” together. Drinking way too much wine. She always ate 5 bites and saved the rest for the middle of the night and breakfast. Sometimes, it accompanied some frozen Hot Pocket-type breakfast. Writing this as my “Finding” article is apropos. Finding a friend and business associate like Kate is rare. As rare as a steak on Steak Night. Finding someone in the jewelry industry whom you can respect more will be difficult to find. Finding the person who would always have the electrical cord for the booth (because are you kidding, she would never want to pay for it) will not happen again. What I need to do is find a reason for something this senseless to have happened. I have a feeling it will be a long, long, search.
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