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Gem of a Life: A Journey through the World of Jewelry


Welcome back to the Establishing Your Empire show. Today’s episode is a unique and indeed an extraordinary one for me. My guest is someone who’s had a profound impact on my life, my career, and my understanding of what it takes to build a successful business from the ground up. He’s not just a mentor, but a lifelong friend who’s stood by my side, shared wisdom, and taught me that creating a business is not just a dream, but a possibility within everyone’s reach.

His name is Eric Wagner. Eric isn’t your average businessman; he’s a true empire builder. Over three decades ago, he founded Showcase Diamond Jewelers in a small town of just over 20,000 people in the middle of Kansas. Today, despite its modest location, his store generates over seven figures in revenue, proving that success isn’t just about where you are, but what you do and how well you do it.

Eric is a master of his craft, and today he’s brought along some high-end pieces from his collection, stunning pieces of jewelry, interesting coins, precious diamonds, and luxury watches, to make this episode a visual treat for us.

For the first company I ever created, Eric was right there, teaching me, guiding me, showing me the ropes. And today, it’s my honor to welcome him to the Establishing Your Empire show.

So sit back, tune in, and get ready for an inspiring journey into the mind and heart of a true empire builder. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome my mentor, my friend, and a jewel in the crown of entrepreneurship, Eric Wagner.

Listen on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | YouTube | Pandora

“Stick with your vision and keep working on stuff… someone else is going to do it if you don’t… Use your imagination more and more. It’s not just about being an entrepreneur, it’s about being a gritty, dynamic person that survives chaos.”

Key Topics Discussed:

  1. Business and Money: The conversation begins with a discussion about the influence and challenges of money in business settings. It emphasizes the need to be aware of financial dynamics and their impact on business objectives and problems.
  2. Strategic Partnerships and Community Building: The speakers delve into the concept of creating an “information pack” in business, focusing on the importance of strategic partnerships, community engagement, and the role of investors and advisors in scaling a business.
  3. Business Goals and Revenue Generation: The dialogue touches upon the balance between focusing on future goals and the necessity of revenue generation in business ventures. The importance of having clear, achievable goals is highlighted.
  4. Team Dynamics in Startups: The discussion shifts to the significance of assembling the right team or “pack” in startups, stressing the need for diverse skills, clear communication, and aligned expectations among team members.
  5. Educational Transformation through Technology: There is a significant focus on the transformation of education through AI and blockchain, discussing personalized learning experiences and the potential for these technologies to revolutionize the educational landscape.
  6. Personal Entrepreneurial Journeys: The speakers share their personal backgrounds and experiences, providing various perspectives on entrepreneurial journeys and the lessons learned along the way.
  7. Equity and Startup Partnerships: The conversation explores the complex topic of equity distribution in startups, addressing the challenges of aligning contributions and expectations in partnerships.
  8. Blockchain Technology Potential: The potential applications of blockchain technology are discussed, particularly in education, emphasizing the need for innovative applications beyond its current usage.
  9. Writing and Publishing a Book: Michael Devellano shares insights into his process of writing and publishing a book, including challenges, strategies, and the importance of marketing and promotion.
  10. Advice to Younger Individuals and Entrepreneurs: The speakers provide personal advice for younger individuals and budding entrepreneurs, focusing on perseverance, vision, risk-taking, and the importance of learning from failures.
  11. Future Plans and Aspirations: Devellano talks about his future plans, particularly in the fields of AI and education, with a strong desire to provide mass-customized education and contribute positively to these sectors.
  12. Reflections on Personal Motivations and Legacy: The episode concludes with reflections on personal motivations for writing and contributing ideas, along with thoughts on the legacy and impact one hopes to leave, especially in entrepreneurial and technological spaces.

Devellano’s perspectives provide a blend of practical advice, personal anecdotes, and forward-looking ideas, particularly around technology and education. The conversation is engaging, informative, and offers valuable takeaways for anyone interested in entrepreneurship, technology, and personal growth.

00:00:00 – 00:10:00:
Daran Herrman introduces Eric Wagner, a jewelry store owner from Hays, Kansas, and his mentor. They discuss Wagner’s background, the buying habits of their local community, and the importance of investing in precious metals.

00:10:01 – 00:20:00: Eric elaborates on the possibility of the US dollar declining value and how assets like precious metals can maintain their value. He discusses how he entered the jewelry industry, despite having no experience.

00:30:01 – 00:40:00: The conversation shifts to the topic of mentorship and its role in their respective professional journeys. They discuss the impact of mentors and share anecdotes about the advice they received that shaped their careers.

00:40:01 – 00:50:00: Eric talks about the challenges of running a jewelry store during economic downturns, and how even during recessions, jewelry retains its value. He speaks about his customer interactions, especially regarding their choice between spending on travel or buying jewelry.

00:50:01 – 01:00:00: They discuss the evolution of the jewelry industry with the advent of technology.

01:00:01 – 01:10:00: The conversation moves to entrepreneurship, where Eric shares his perspective on startups. They chat about how starting a business today seems easier due to technology but warns about authenticity and transparency in the digital era.

01:10:01 – 01:20:00: Eric shares some of his interesting sales experiences in the jewelry business and discusses how the sentimental value of the jewelry he sells creates an emotional bond with his customers. He also talks about being part of significant moments in people’s lives, which he views as rewarding.

01:20:01 – 01:13:00: As the interview comes to an end, Eric expresses his desire to be remembered for his role in creating sentimental memories for his customers through his jewelry. Daran appreciates Eric for being on the show and acknowledges their shared history and experiences.

Lead Cast

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