A third-generation jeweler, Berge Abajian is the President, CEO, and Head Designer of Bergio (OTC PINK: BRGO), a global leader in jewelry design and manufacturing. He established his brand in 1995 and quickly grew it to become globally recognized for being a purveyor of rare and exquisite treasures. Known for his bold designs he also has made big business moves. He took the company public in 2008, recently acquired Aphrodite’s, a popular jewelry e-tailer, and just announced the intent to acquire GearBubble, a B2B e-commerce fulfillment platform.
Where did the idea for Bergio come from?
As a third-generation jewelry designer, I have always been surrounded by creativity and a passion for design. You could say it was my destiny to be in this industry. I launched Bergio 25 years ago with a vision to create innovative jewelry for a classy woman with discriminating taste who valued quality and craftsmanship. We have always aimed to create designs ahead of the trends, incorporating extraordinary diamonds and precious stones. Our perfectly curated collections have gained global recognition and established our brand as a highly sought-after purveyor of rare and exquisite treasures from around the globe.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My day always starts with a nice cup of coffee as I review the numbers and profit loss report from the previous day. I then always have a phone call with my manufacturing team to discuss what is in production, what is ready to be shipped to our main warehouse, and any issues of the day that must be tackled. I head out to my office to officially start my 9 am workday. My day will consist of numerous back-to-back Zoom calls to discuss strategy, growth, and next steps to propel our vision forward. While coffee certainly is a catalyst of my day, it is truly my passion for this industry and the company we have grown that gets me through each long day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Following my gut has never steered me wrong. It might sound strange to some as the foundation of bringing ideas to life, but it always works for me. My thought process begins with me thinking about my idea and planning how to make it happen. If it doesn’t feel right, I pull back and go back to the drawing board. But if it does feel right, I move forward with the idea and start taking action right away to make it happen. I am very decisive when it comes to these things.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The ever-growing trend of engaging video ads to share your message with new clients continues to excite me. With our recent acquisition of Aphrodite’s, a jewelry e-tailer best known for its experiential gifting experiences, we look forward to further expanding our footprint in the digital advertising space.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
In business, you have to make it a habit to celebrate your successes. I get up every morning and remind myself of all of the struggles I’ve gone through to get to where I am, and it motivates me to go even further with my business.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself to be more patient. When I was younger, this was an area that I greatly struggled within my professional life. I had to work hard on being patient when things took too long or if something didn’t go my way. If I had been more patient back then, I might have been able to make better deals or perhaps gone public even earlier. Patience is a virtue, and I think it’s the key to being a successful CEO.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Often, I can connect the dots before those around me. I can see what others at first may not. It happens pretty often when I am trying to push a project or idea forward, and not everyone can see the vision. But I find if you inspire those around you, it will help get them on board.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Success is in the follow-up. You always have to keep open lines of communication flowing both ways. As the CEO, you need to effectively communicate the vision and the pathway to reach your goals. And your employees should feel comfortable coming to you with ideas and suggestions. They are your boots on the ground and sometimes can give perspective and ideas that can positively impact your business’ day-to-day. not only affect the business’ day-to-day. By empowering them, you provide them with the power to only help your business flourish and grow.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Our strategy is to jump right into a situation when we get excited about the possibility of making it a big success. We don’t hesitate, and I’ll admit there have been times that we have jumped right into a mess. But that is okay. Sometimes you have to jump into the deep end with two feet and trust that you and your team will figure it out. We went through some scary moments when we first went public, but we went for it anyway. And eventually, we figured it out, and now it has all worked out great for the company.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
My most significant setback was selling in Russia. It actually started out quite successfully until their currency, the ruble, dropped drastically in value in a matter of a day. Just like that, we lost two-thirds of our equity. I had to quickly exit Russia and move all that business back into the United States. Not wanting to go back into the wholesale business, we pivoted into retail. It was a bold move, but I moved forward with opening my first retail store in New Jersey. Shortly after I was able to open our next store in Atlantic City. It has been a short 5 years later and everything on the retail side has really come together.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A great business idea would be to start a masterclass for business people within your industry. It is critical to learn from experts in your industry and peers alike. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t learned so much from many other knowledgeable people.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I recently spent was for a great cigar and cognac. At the end of a long day, I like to pour a glass and smoke a cigar to wind down. As I relax, it is a great time to analyze my business in a different state of mind and find areas to do better.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I love using all of the technology that allows me to communicate with my team better. There are excellent services like Slack and Google that help disseminate information quickly and efficiently. Everything is so instant, and this helps our business move forward.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I love to read and have always loved 1984 by George Orwell. While not a business book, it does expand your mind and help you think about the world in different ways. And in a way, that is business. Understanding that the world is constantly changing and evolving in new and unexpected ways – and then finding a way to mold your business to flourish in that environment.
What is your favorite quote?
“He who doesn’t go forward falls behind. A stationary position is the beginning of the end.”
- Following my gut has never steered me wrong.
- Patience is a virtue, and I think it’s the key to being a successful CEO.
- I find if you inspire those around you, it will help get them on board.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.