Ross Nacht: Making His Own Mark
Ross Nacht is a confident young professional. He’s a fourth generation employee at his family’s business, Bernard Nacht & Co. His great grandfather Bernard Nacht founded the company in 1906. However, Nacht’s confidence is not defined by his family’s legacy. He made his mark through his consistent determination to absorb as much knowledge as he could, so he can make his own impact on the jewelry trade. That is what makes him stand out from the crowd.
Nacht’s journey did not begin with an interest in the jewelry business. After graduating high school in New Jersey, he attended the University of Michigan to study communications and political science. His summer internships were with PR agencies, working on various brands from New Balance to the U.S. Open. “After graduating college, I didn’t initially want to go into the family business. I knew I didn’t have the drive and passion my father had when he graduated college. I wanted to try something different,” Nacht explains. “Therefore, I decided to pursue a career in public relations and got a job with Emanate PR working on the Bank of America and Celebrity Cruises accounts. It gave me a great foundation in the business world and taught me how to work with customers, clients and different vendors.”
After two years working in public relations, Nacht was ready to join his family’s business. “Before I was offered the job, I would go in to the office with my dad and he would teach me about estate jewelry. Each Saturday, we would cover a different topic, for example, one day we would focus on sapphires, one day we would focus on Victorian jewelry, etc. This helped me see if being part of our business was something I would enjoy as a career.” He joined the company in May 2013.
Nacht loves that every single day working with his family is unique. “It’s a nice change from my previous job.” He explained that each day is framed around individual circumstances, for instance, if the group just came back from a show or is about to leave for a show. “We always evaluate our inventory levels based on our show sales and non-show sales. My day could be filled with going out and buying jewelry, selecting jewelry for purchase or inventorying jewelry in house. We do this all while continuing to keep healthy business relationships with our clients and offering them our assistance.”
Bernard Nacht & Co. is a small nuclear company, but functions successfully by “running a tight ship.” “Everyone has their own role, which is obviously the most important for any team,” Nacht comments. “It’s me, my mom and dad and our co-worker Nancy, who is a close family friend. We also employ a bookkeeper and a runner. It’s a lot of fun working with my parents. My dad steers the ship – he’s terrific. He really understands the industry and loves it.” While some children may be unable to work side-by-side with their parents, Nacht says that they “gel really well.” “When we go home, we can still have separation between work and family.”
Recently, Nacht has been spearheading an exciting new project. “Back in December, I was searching through our safe and unearthed my great grandfather’s original jewelry models from the 1920s and 30s. I approached my father with the models, hoping to strategize something we could do with them.” The company decided to start manufacturing under the name Vintage Brilliant™. The collection includes rings, pendants and earrings and is made from Nacht’s great grandfather’s original models. “It’s the perfect array of pieces for people who like the vintage style with filigree and engraving, but don’t want to wear pre-owned jewelry. So far, the line has been very well received and people have been inquiring about it.”
When asked what he likes most about working in the jewelry industry, Nacht answered enthusiastically. “It’s exciting, especially in my part of the business, because every jewelry piece is unique and different. Based on what we do, we’re basically treasure hunters looking for beautiful and rare merchandise available today. You’re constantly searching for that Kashmir sapphire, Columbian emerald or extraordinary Faberge piece.”
Young professionals entering the jewelry industry can experience a significant learning curve that can feel mind boggling at times. Antiques Young Guns U.S.A. is a program that engages young dealers, offering opportunities for them to network with their peers, learn from veteran dealers and promote themselves through various channels. Nacht was one of the first jewelry dealers to join the program.
“Antiques Young Guns is a really great program. As the current dealers are getting older, eventually they won’t be able to continue their business. In order for people to know and stay excited about the antiques world, for me in particular estate jewelry, you have to stay in the forefront and keep your business relevant. The only way to accomplish this is to be a part of an organization that supports those goals,” he says.
While Nacht’s career in the jewelry trade may still be in its infancy, he has the background to impart some vital words of wisdom on to young dealers. “I would definitely say have lots of patience. It can be a bit overwhelming if you try to become an expert quickly. As you continue with your business, you’re constantly learning bit by bit to one day become the expert in your chosen field. If you have a passion for it, continue to pursue your career and eventually the knowledge will start to stick.”
For more information on Ross Nacht and his upcoming projects, visit www.bernardnacht.com
Visit www.AntiquesYoungGunsUSA.com for more details on the Antiques Young Guns program and how you can become a member.