LIVING THE LESSONS: How to Develop a Sterling Reputation

September 29, 2012
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Mickey Rehm and Peter Bennett

Mickey Rehm and Peter Bennett

Don’t let the title, Life Lessons of a Harvard Reject, fool you.

At its core, Life Lessons is about achieving success, and no one epitomizes success more than Mickey Rehm, owner of Micky’s Jewelry and Design Studio in La Verne, Calif.

Her pedigree is pure Nordstrom, so you know she delivers ridiculous, over-the-top customer service – a value proposition she’s personified since she first opened her doors five years ago.

Mickey has always been a risk-taker, so her decision to leave Nordstrom to venture into business for herself wasn’t nearly as traumatic as one would think. She was ready to champion a new course. She had the guts to leave the ruts, despite the scary prospects of signing an expensive lease, remodeling the space, and stocking her display cases with eye-catching inventory.

Although the negatives of opening a business in a recession no doubt outweighed the plusses, she still decided to take the plunge, leaving the safe harbor of Nordstrom’s sterling reputation for the choppy waters of small business.

Equally important in Mickey’s mind was starting the right kind of business. She thought she would start a boutique, but her son Jon lobbied for a jewelry business, which had been Mickey’s area of expertise for more than 20 years. After attending a jewelry show, they were convinced that jewelry was the right choice.

“When we went to a show,” Mickey recalled, “Jon said, ‘Oh my gosh, all these people are so nice.’”

Mickey is also “so nice,” not to a mention a person of excellence, another success attribute highlighted in Life Lessons of a Harvard Reject.

“I don’t know that I had a particular dollar goal when I started out five years ago,” Mickey said. “But I definitely wanted the store to be unique and it has been.”

Her tastes and inventory reflects the neighborhood she serves. She carries items that range in price from $50 to $10,000. Again, she took her cue from Nordstrom, where she saw her customers purchasing not only expensive items, but also trendy more affordable costume jewelry.

“So, we’ll always carry both,” Mickey said.

And if you just come in to have Mickey exchange your watch battery for free, she’s not going to scowl, growl or bite your head off. She’ll exchange it for free and with a smile.

At the end of the day, Mickey is a focused business owner. She’s focused 100 percent on serving her customers and producing great customer experiences. When you work like Mickey, there are few risks in business you can’t overcome with hard work.

To learn more about Micky’s, pay her or Jon a visit at 2210 Foothill Blvd. in La Verne or call (909) 593-0748. To learn more about Life Lessons of a Harvard Reject, please visit

You can change your life when you decide it’s your time.

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