Whether fate or a happy accident, a sixteen year-old Matt Stuller, intent on avoiding the library, wandered in to a downtown Lafayette, Louisiana jewelry store.
Interested in purchasing a ring for his girlfriend at the time, the jeweler allowed him to set up a teen account that he could pay off, which he did by working in the store: sweeping the floor, taking out the trash, and cleaning cases. It wasn’t long, however, before his natural curiosity for how things work led him to forge a bond with the bench jeweler, where he began learning the craft of making jewelry. Having experienced the obstacles and trials faced by a jeweler every day – and being admittedly impatient by nature – Matt noticed that the industry was lacking two things: excellent customer service and fast delivery.
By 19, he had commandeered an 8×8’ space in his father’s orthodontic office where he began casting and polishing findings. His father wasn’t thrilled, but Matt had a vision that wasn’t to be deterred. From there, he took his business on the road – literally. First in his Nissan 240Z, then in his Winnebago, he drove Southern roads going door to door with a tackle-box full of product, selling and delivery his product from the trunk of his car.
It was during this time that his deep love for the independent jeweler was forged and his passion for the industry solidified. Every jeweler that he met bought at least one thing from him, supporting his young business and encouraging his work ethic. Many jewelers invited him in for dinner. Some even took him fishing. These relationships, strengthened by mutual trust and respect, were at the forefront of his mind when he established Stuller’s corporate headquarters in his hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana in 1970. His philosophy hadn’t shifted. He believed that if Stuller could “just take the customer’s order in a friendly way and get them a quality product in a reasonable amount of time it would probably be a pretty good business model.”