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When it comes to jewelry here in our home state of Arkansas, there’s no better place to shop than Sissy’s Log Cabin. This family-owned-and-managed business has grown from one small store to four stores in prominent locations — plus, their jewelry is to die for (which we metaphorically did during our visit). We got to talk with Sharri Jones, the executive secretary, daughter-in-law of Sissy, and a member of the board of directors, about how they built their jewelry empire, how she manages to keep track of everything, and how much fun it is to work with diamonds.
Name: Sharri Jones Location: Little Rock, AR / Pine Bluff, AR Title: Executive Secretary + Member of Sissy’s Board of Directors Company:Sissy’s Log Cabin What it is: A high-end jewelry store Educational Background: Bachelor’s in elementary education at University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
How did you get into the jewelry business?
[My husband] Bill’s mother, Sissy, started the business in 1970 as an antique store. Then she started selling jewelry on the side for her friends and for the bank when there would be a big trust come with jewelry that they didn’t know what to do with. Sissy would handle all of the estates. Then Bill went to gemology school and the rest is history.
I love that it’s a family business.
We have our son William in the business, our son Wyatt works here. He’s going to gemology school in January, so he’ll be in the business. And we have another son who’s the assistant manager at the Jonesboro store.
Is Little Rock your main store?
This is where we are most of the time, yes.
And is it the biggest of all of them?
It’s the busiest. The biggest store is in Pine Bluff because we also have a gift shop there, which is wonderful.
If you could have given yourself a piece of knowledge or advice when you started, what would that be?
Learn to be more patient. We all need to be more patient.
Would you do anything differently?
No, because I have a saying that everything you do gets you to where you are. So if you change one thing your whole life would be different.
Sissy’s is easily the most popular and esteemed jewelry store in Arkansas. How did you establish yourself as the authority on engagement rings?
My husband Bill worked on branding. When you see the blue bag, you know it’s Sissy’s Log Cabin. When you see a store you know it’s Sissy’s Log Cabin. Our style of jewelry, our blue…and Bill has made sure that all of our stores are well inventoried with jewelry for brides, as well as everyone else.
What are your hobbies? What do you do when you’re not working?
We have a cabin down in South Arkansas, and we go every weekend. Our kids are there, our family is there, and that’s where we ride horses, we deer hunt, duck hunt, we have a sandbar that we go to, we ride Jeeps. We just have a lot of fun. We’re out of the city. You go through the gate and you just decompress.
How do you balance your work with your personal life?
We kind of have an unsaid rule, Bill and I do, that we don’t talk business at home. Now we might say “we need to have a sidebar, I need to discuss this with you,” but for the most part when we are out with our friends or with our family we avoid talking about work. Just because we need a separate life. It’s easy to juggle if you have that attitude, because Bill and I are together every day; so it’s very interesting to say the least.
How do you define success?
Success is being blessed, being happy, and being appreciative of everything. Never losing sight of “where did I come from.” I know where I came from. We came from a little log cabin in Pine Bluff to four stores with our family. That’s success in my life.
What’s next for you?
More stores. Bill and I are building a home in Pine Bluff that hopefully will be finished in April, and our oldest son, William, and his wife, Dawn, are having a baby in March and we know it’s a boy. He’s William Murphy Jones the 5th. So we’ve got a lot of wonderful things ahead of us!