JCK Talks: Ben Smithee

Ben Smithee is the founder and CEO of The Smithee Group (TSG), a business consultancy that specializes in strategy and social media.

TSG’s team is made up of individuals with diverse experience and exploratory mindsets to help other businesses achieve goals through detailed analysis, brand architecture, content creation and daily management.

With such an impressive background, JCK is excited to introduce a half-day intensive Social Media Bootcamp – powered in partnership with TSG – for jewelry retailers and other business owners. Learn more and register here – seats are limited so grab your spot while it’s still available! Admissions are $99 per person.

Before meeting them at the show if you haven’t already in past years, we’d like to introduce you to Ben Smithee. We got the inside scoop on his background in the jewelry industry, his role as CEO of TSG, what he believes will be the biggest growth opportunity in the jewelry industry and much more:

Describe your day in numbers
24 hours; 2 double espressos; 1 rockstar team; 1 creator.

What was the last item you splurged on?
I just bought a new snowboard rig for next season #PowPow Who’s coming with me?

What is your background in the jewelry industry, how did you get your start?
I fell into my love of jewelry like most of the industry that didn’t get born into it. I was running my first consulting firm in 2011/2012 when I got a call from my first jewelry client (which turned out to be one of the largest retailers in the industry), and when I started TSG in 2014 I wanted to really focus on changing the industry and evolving it into the digital world! Jewelry is a marketer’s dream space!

What is your favorite type of jewelry to wear? Do you have a special piece of jewelry that you always wear?
My wedding band is custom from my good friend David Alan. (there is nothing out there like it!), and my daily Cartier Roadster GMT is my road-tested wrist bling. I also LOVE my lion signet pinky ring from Isa Foxx.

Tell us a bit about your responsibilities as CEO of The Smithee Group.
I believe my core responsibility as a leader and CEO is people. Our team and our clients are the first and last things I think about on a daily basis. I am truly blessed to lead the absolute best team of rockstars around. Along with Alex Brown, who leads our operations, I am responsible for the business development and the overall vision and strategic direction for TSG. But, I repeat, my most important role is to care for our team and clients and lead them well.

If you could recommend only one social media platform for budding retailers to establish a presence on, what would it be and why?
I don’t think it would be a single social platform, because the platforms are simply a channel that could change at any given time with the consumer attention. I would say focus on content overall – create content, document your work and educate and entertain the consumers more than ever. Now is the opportunity!

Where do you see the biggest opportunity for growth in the jewelry industry?
Digital Relevancy – most retailers are still not all-in on the future and some are still betting against it with their dollars. Invest in the future…it is already here!

First word that comes to mind when you think of JCK?

What are your most memorable moments from one of our JCK events?
The first was walking the show floor my very first show and seeing the scale and feeling the friendly vibe and energy – it was amazing. Second was JCK Rocks the Beach – I wore linen pants my first year and rolled up my pants to hang with my friends under the stage in the water….rookie move!

What are you most looking forward to at JCK 2019?
Seeing all of my friends at the most epic gatherings of the year!

What’s in store for The Smithee Group in the future?
SO much! Education is the top of our list and we are just getting started. We are fully launching The Digital Directive which provides affordable marketing education for even the smallest of brands and entrepreneurs. We are launching a new project called, TSG Concept Y, which provides retailers with the chance to come to NYC and take guided custom experiences with some of the best brands in the world, and then sit with our key team members for customized consulting. Our goal is to be able to reach every single person in the jewelry industry from our content, our education, our events and our services – I believe this truly will come to life.

Where does your inspiration come from?
My parents (My Mom’s heart of compassion and my Dad’s work ethic), and Psalm 37:4

What TV show are you currently binge watching or what is the last book you read?
Oh man…don’t tell anyone…but I literally watch 0 TV shows since friends aired circa the early 90’s….but I saw Avengers End Game – EPIC!

What can you tell us about Social Media Bootcamp at JCK Las Vegas 2019?
My goal is to make it so valuable for the attendees that it alone would be worth the trip to Vegas this year. We are giving it all away! Best in class knowledge about content, ads, strategy, campaigns, web, search! You will not be able to beat this amount of education!

What lessons do you hope attendees at JCK will learn by attending JCK Social Bootcamp?
I want people to not only be inspired but activated. I want them to move forward with simply 1 or 2 of the things we teach and put them into play the next day. If they commit to the things we talk about it will 100% grow their business. We have seen it time and time again.

Can you share with our readers a small glimpse of the topics and conversation that you think will prominent during JCK Las Vegas 2019?
Digital, lab-grown diamonds, blockchain and the future of retail.

Any fun plans while you’re in Vegas this year?
Outside of teaching – blackjack with my friend Russ, steak dinner with Niveet and the Omi crew, TSG family Dinner, partying at Tao…the rest is on the fly!

Learn more and register for JCK Talks Social Media Bootcamp here.
View the full JCK Las Vegas 2019 Schedule of Events
Not registered for JCK Las Vegas 2019? The show is only 2 weeks away!
Register here today.

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