'Work hard, love life, value beauty and never give up on your dreams!'
Moose Jaw, is a city in south-central Saskatchewan, Canada, located on the Moose Jaw River. Situated on the Trans-Canada Highway, as such, Moose Jaw has become an industrial centre and important railway junction for the area's agricultural produce. Moose Jaw gained its name by the course of the river; the rivers many directional changes resembling the jaw of a moose. Cree and Assiniboine indigenous people knew this area as a great hunting spot; a place where you could find refuge from the cold winter prairie winds.
Moose Jaw made the news back in the 1920s, when a number of tunnels were discovered underground that connected buildings. The tunnels were used by rum-runners to make and store product during the US prohibition days. As a result, Moose Jaw became historically connected to famous nefarious characters such as Al Capone.
I grew up a few hours away from Moose Jaw. We never heard much about that city. The only time I recall Moose Jaw making news was when a couple of kids hung a pair of basketballs to the derrière of Mac the Moose. Mac is a large, famous sculpture that sits astride the Trans-Canada highway-in all types of weather-inviting tourists into the city.
The lack of news doesn't mean ‘Moose Jawians’ are asleep. For example, at 88 Saskatchewan Street East in Moose Jaw, you can find the headquarters for Fifth Avenue Collections. Fifth Avenue is the love child of Jay Butler and family. Jay now in his 80's had a hobby as a younger man-his hobby: cutting and polishing gems. The Butler family built demand for their luxury gemstone product, to the point that they renovated their home basement to accommodate the needs of his blooming jewelry manufacturing business.
Today, three generations of the Butler family work in the business of luxury. The Fifth Avenue Collection has become a dynamic international direct sales company, selling high quality, affordable fine jewellery to men, women and children. While it is a private company, estimates are that Fifth Avenue reports $14-$15 million a year in revenue. If true, that gives Fifth Avenue an enterprise value close to $50 million. A not too shabby performance for a hobbyist (with roots in south-central prairie town Saskatchewan).
Arriving outside of Fifth Avenues’ renovated historical building, you never taste luxury. Inside is a whole other matter. Upon entering Fifth Avenues’ Moose Jaw office, one immediately transports to the affluent districts of Manhattan-upper east side, soho, tribeca. Therein is the home of all sorts of sparkling things. The Butler family moved from manufacturing as the core of business, to distribution of luxury gemstones. Jay realized the potential of multilayer marketing and established representatives across North America for his product. If you're looking for another career, as a retiree for example, you can register with Fifth Avenue and offer their beautiful product to your friends and family. Some criticize this approach as a 'dumbing' down of the luxury gemstone business, however, it's difficult to argue with the financial results of Jay's company. Earlier than most, Fifth Avenue recognized value in relation to the price point of Swarovski crystals, and they appear prominently in his jewelry line.
My dearest Aunt loved fancy chandeliers and what some call 'costume' jewelry. It was a natural fit for her to represent Fifth Avenue for over a decade. Faithfully, she loaded her car and went to her weekend house parties, revelling in the 'awes' as she featured subsequent product lines from the jewelry genius of the Butler family. I love my Aunties business savvy, and go-getter spirit, even into her later years; you never see moss growing under that ladies boots.
I appreciate a good entrepreneurial story, such as Jay Butler and his Fifth Avenue Collection. Furthermore, I'm a big fan right now of the 'wealth for generations' investment return found in the business of luxury gemstones. This idea (of ‘wealth for generations’) is especially prominent apropos this Kiplinger population growth chart, showing the Asian middle class growing 32.6 times to Americas 5.8 times.
As the Asian and for that matter the middle class grow worldwide, their spending in luxury goods follows. As a matter of full disclosure, one of the companies I founded is involved in the business of luxury gems, if you would like to know more, message me for additional details.
Buttler’s hobby-his dream- created amazing value for a small town in Saskatchewan. It's not a public company-they don't beat their drum and crave attention-they simply conduct good business. We learn from Jay and his families’ example - work hard, love life, value beauty and never give up on your dreams!