My name is Kat and for the past 17 years I have lived in the jewelry paradise (or so my gold-digging friends say). My husband, Peter, is the founder, owner and the creative mastermind behind OroSpot – a jewelry company located in the Bling Capital of the Universe: New York City’s Diamond District.
People who are rich enough to have a house start their business in their garage. Peter started OroSpot in our rented, one bedroom apartment in Astoria, Queens. It was 2006. Before that he had worked in the Diamond District for close to 9 years, paying his dues and steadily climbing the experience ladder in one of the biggest jewelry companies in New York.
He got into the jewelry business by a complete coincidence: he was a 19-year-old immigrant sick of working in an elevator factory, and he wanted a job, ANY job, that had nothing to do with elevators (he hates them to this day). During the interview Chris, his future boss, looked at him from across the desk, shook his head skeptically and asked: You want to make jewelry with THESE hands? The man had a point. Peter is 6’4″ with an athletic body, and he does have huge hands. But for whatever reason, Chris decided to hire him and it quickly turned out that this kid had some serious talent: had extraordinary spatial intelligence, could visualize what customers had in mind, saw the piece in his head and carved its 3D wax model (creating a wax model is a first step in producing jewelry. I will write about it more in my next posts).
When I met Peter in 1998, he was 22 years old and on a mission to never have a boss.
Fast forward 8 years and he no longer had a boss. But he turned our bedroom into his home office and into a complete mess. Half melted pieces of carving wax were everywhere – stuck to the rugs and floors so stubbornly that only sharp knife could get them off. Air in the apartment was a thick mix of soot from 33rd Street traffic and sticky wax dust from Peter’s work bench. He had more and more clients and since he didn’t have an office, he became a fixture in the 48th Street Dean&DeLuca cafe where he met them to discuss the projects. On weekends Peter and his best friend and a co-founder of OroSpot, Paul, worked tirelessly on getting the website going. Our bed served a photo booth support, a display case, a storage area and a dining table.
And then came THE PRINTER.
Peter quickly realized that hand-carving models in wax would soon become obsolete and 3D printers would take over. I remember him spending endless hours in front of the computer, learning how to “draw” three dimensional pictures in one of the 3D design programs. He then had them printed on someone else’s printer. To this day I watch in speechless admiration how a two dimensional sketch becomes a multifaceted digital object Peter turns around on the screen with ever-so-slight movements of a computer mouse.
That was when he got obsessed with buying his own printer and I could not hear the end it. After a year or two he finally convinced Paul to scrape every dollar they had saved (back then it cost close to 40k – to us it was more money than God had) and bought the machine. Of course, before that happened he had to face me and all my practical questions: Where is it going to stand? How big is it? Is it noisy? Is it messy? What I got in response was A SERIES OF TOTAL AND COMPLETE LIES.
Printer was supposed to be the size of a a small fax machine (it turned out to be about 3 times bigger).
It was supposed to be quiet (he forgot to mention that the vacuum machine sucking out the dust went on LITERALLY EVERY 2 MINUTES).
It was supposed to be clean (it spat out melted wax and covered everything around it in thick, greasy dust).
And the worst of all – it was so big and bulky that the only place it could sit was inside of my only one, precious, minuscule, teeny-tiny closet.
When he brought it home I think I cried. And then I cried some more. I wish I could say that after a while I got used to it and stopped crying, but it would be another lie. I bitched about the printer every single day. I hated its monotonous humming regularly interrupted by violent suction sounds. I hated that it made my clothes dirty and that it scared the Bejeezus out of our cat.
But it made OroSpot grow in leaps and when the company was big enough, Peter got an office in the City. On January 1, 2011 I got my closet back.
OroSpot was out of my bedroom. The wretched 3D printer was gone. The cat and I were happy.