…Further, with the pandemic, we as a society have become hyper aware of hand hygiene and you can’t have clean hands if you wear dirty jewelry. Some people have taken to not wearing their jewelry, but we have created the solution that lets people continue to wear their cherished jewelry and keep themselves and their families safe.
As a part of my series about “Big Ideas That Might Change The World In The Next Few Years” I had the pleasure of interviewing David Bellman.
David Bellman is founder and owner of Bellman’s, New Hampshire’s premier retail jeweler. Bellman’s has won over 30 awards and has consistently been voted the state’s best jeweler. David is also the inventor of GemSpa™ by kathy ireland® and CEO of Bright Innovations, Inc. It is his invention of GemSpa™ and his discovery of Jewelry Hygiene® that just might change the world.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Sure. I have been engaged in the retail jewelry business for over 35 years and what struck me right from the beginning of my career was how in desperate need of cleaning my customers’ jewelry was. The once brilliant diamonds were now dull and lifeless. I quickly came to realize that most people are not in the habit of cleaning their jewelry. For example, a woman will receive an engagement ring, put it on her finger and forget about it. Then day after day, month after month, this ring collects dirt and grime from everything she touches throughout the day.
Our research shows that just after 2 weeks, enough dirt, grime and bacteria builds up to levels that are considered dangerous. Pretty scary when you think about it. I originally set out to create an at-home jewelry cleaning system, but in the process of invention, when I learned about just how unsanitary jewelry was and that unclean jewelry could potentially transmit harmful bacteria and viruses, I made the sanitization standard a requirement for our product.
I worked with my team for over 2 years perfecting the design until we eventually had a system that left jewelry sparkling clean AND sanitized.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
While visiting Los Angeles, I was unexpectedly introduced to Stephen Roseberry, the CMO of kathy ireland® Worldwide. I took that opportunity to immediately pitch him on the idea of us becoming brand partners of kathy ireland® Worldwide and also having Kathy Ireland be the brand ambassador for the new jewelry cleaning and sanitizing product. Before leaving for my trip I had just completed the test marketing for the jewelry cleaner and had realized that having the right brand partner was critical to our success. My team and I were in the beginning stages of developing a list of possibilities. The serendipity of that chance meeting made me believe more than ever that somewhere out in the cosmos we are all interconnected and when our intentions align with our goals anything is possible.
Which principles or philosophies have guided your life? Your career?
Definitely Honesty and Integrity. In the retail jewelry business, your customers must trust you to be honest about the product you sell. The differences in quality of one diamond or colored gem from another could be every so slight and yet the difference in value could be significant so at the end of the day it’s all a matter of trust. Another core principle is appreciating the value of relationships, the personal connection. And really, to me, honesty and integrity are vital to creating these relationships of trust with everyone from customers to personal friends. In the diamond business when two diamond dealers agree on a price and close a deal they simply shake hands and say “Mazel” — which in hebrew means “With Fortune & Blessings,” a verbal contract more binding than a written contract.
Ok. Let’s now move to the main focus of our interview. Can you tell us about your “Big Idea That Might Change The World”?
My big idea was the discovery of harnessing the cleaning power of your home dishwasher, to clean and sanitize your jewelry. The dishwasher has all of the same elements that professional jewelers use when cleaning jewelry — steam, hot water and soap. In essence, the GemSpa gives the user the ability to turn their $1000 dishwasher into a $1000 professional jewelry cleaner. We designed a device that would hold jewelry safely while the cleaning elements of the dishwasher clean and sanitize fine jewelry with professional results.
From the high grade polymer plastic to the patented design of the stainless steel diffusers, every design detail enhances the cleaning ability of the dishwasher. This also includes the addition of our anti-bacterial gel that boosts the sanitization level to 99.9% of all bacteria and viruses. In addition, the GemSpa by kathy ireland, is simple and easy to use and requires only 3 minutes of your time. Unlike most jewelry cleaners that require setup time and rely on a watered down cleaning solution and a vibrating tank, GemSpa cleans your jewelry with your dishes.
Simply remove your jewelry and place it in the GemSpa, add a small amount of antibacterial gel, and place the GemSpa on the top rack of your dishwasher. When the cycle is complete your jewelry is professionally cleaned, sanitized and ready to wear.
How do you think this will change the world?
Currently, 95% of the population is wearing some type of jewelry and are unknowingly carrying around with them jewelry contaminated with bacteria and viruses. Here’s an alarming statistic — in the US alone, 1 in 6 Americans contract food poisoning every year. That’s nearly 50 million people. We know jewelry carries extremely high bacteria loads and touches the food we prepare and eat. By sanitizing jewelry, I believe we could reduce this number significantly.
Further, with the pandemic, we as a society have become hyper aware of hand hygiene and you can’t have clean hands if you wear dirty jewelry. Some people have taken to not wearing their jewelry, but we have created the solution that lets people continue to wear their cherished jewelry and keep themselves and their families safe. Finally and most importantly, in this moment and when we do start to return to normal again, whenever that is; I want everyone, when they put on their clean jewelry to remember why that piece is important to them and to feel like they are taking care of their cherished memories.
I want them to think about who it reminds them of; what event does it commemorate. We as a society imbue our jewelry with emotional significance and I want to be a part of making people feel good, happy when they put that piece, newly cleaned and properly cared for, back on.
Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this idea that people should think more deeply about?
To be perfectly honest I cannot see any downside to cleaning and sanitizing jewelry, especially when it is that easy to now do at home…Maybe the brilliance and sparkle of jewelry can become distracting during a conversation? (chuckle).
Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this idea? Can you tell us that story?
For years I had been frustrated by the fact that there didn’t exist a home jewelry cleaning product that worked as well as cleaning jewelry in my store. My ah-ha moment happened several years ago, one night as I was coming home from work late, I noticed that my girlfriend had left her ring and bracelet on the dishwasher. In a bit of a daze, I thought to myself, did she clean her jewelry in the dishwasher? That was it! I realized that the home dishwasher had all the same cleaning elements as my jewelry store cleaners. All I needed to do was design a way to secure the jewelry safely while the dishwasher did all the work.
What do you need to lead this idea to widespread adoption?
I think that educating people about Jewelry Hygiene is key. Our studies showed that the average ring carries more than 3 times the bacteria found on a public restroom seat. Whenever you’re dealing with behavior change, asking people to form a new habit — like cleaning jewelry on a regular basis — there’s a hurdle to get to the commercial success tipping point. 120 years ago, people didn’t brush their teeth, now people brush their teeth 2–3 times a day. How did that change happen? A revolutionary product, mint flavored toothpaste, made brushing your teeth more appealing. Today, not brushing your teeth every day is unthinkable. We hope to make not cleaning your jewelry just as unthinkable.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
Success doesn’t necessarily come overnight. When I first started my expectations were so high, the product worked so well I just assumed the moment I began selling it people would just buy them up as fast as I could produce them. When you have an innovative product some people won’t get it. It’s ok, this is normal, just keep going!. When you’re asking people to do something new, understanding the psychology of adoption is everything. When you develop an innovative product, you know your product best. You will be getting millions of opinions from people on how they think you should sell it, but you have to trust your inner voice and go with your gut. Get more sleep.
Can you share with our readers what you think are the most important “success habits” or “success mindsets”?
Well, in addition to getting the aforementioned sleep, I am a follower of New Thought thinkers like Neville, Joseph Murphy and Napoleon Hill. All of whom believed that to be successful in life and business, one must believe in their subconscious mind that they are in fact successful. And by manifesting these thoughts with a firm belief of success, then that which you desire will come to you. Over the years, I noticed that some of the most successful people I know have this mindset, whether it was developed or whether they were born with this ability.
Some very well known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)
The first thing I would say is, “Tech is not the only way to build a revolutionary 10x company.” And if they are still listening, I’d say, “We’ve done everything we’ve needed over the years to prepare our company to be an “overnight success”. We have all the ingredients: a category defining product; world class product design; a tested and proven manufacturing process; and a brand partner in Kathy Ireland and kathy ireland Worldwide that is second to none. We are turnkey and ready to scale. The only thing we need is to invest in inventory and building brand equity; which we are already on our way to doing.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
For more info about the product they can go to: www.mygemspa.com, and our social handle @MyGemSpa on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.
WRITTEN BY Fotis Georgiadis
Passionate about bringing emerging technologies to the market Authority Magazine Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech.
Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.