WBOC’S LEADING WOMAN: Jeannine Masucci
BY ALYSSA LAFARO | PHOTO BY CINDY BELL
Jeannine Masucci is a Women Business Opportunities Connection veteran. She may not have been there from day one, but she’s stuck around for the ride for the past 10 years. “Women come and go,” she explained. “I’m one of the older ones — I’m 61 now — at this point. But I am learning from the younger business people. They are so energetic and have great ideas. That’s what keeps me going after all these years.”
Many would never admit they can learn from their juniors, those who have spent less time in this crazy world. Jeannine, however, embraces youth and the newness that comes with it, and not just at WBOC, but in her business, too.
Jeannine owns Manlius Jewelry and Repair, along with her daughter, Lauren. She started the business 17 years ago, and her husband and daughter are creators of the brainchild. “My husband, a retired physical education teacher, was, at the time, selling jewelry on the side, oddly enough,” laughed Jeannine. “We have a really fantastic jewelry repair person in our town that we became close to. My daughter had spoken to her, and she talked her into going to Jeweler School. Basically, she worked for a jeweler for a few years, and then my husband said, ‘I think we should open a business.’”
For a while, all customers thought the business did was jewelry repairs because of the word “repair” in the name of the store. It took time for Jeannine to build a customer base interested in purchasing jewelry, making them aware that Manlius Jewelry and Repair offered that service as well. WBOC helped here. “We have had a lot of WBOC members become customers of ours. We, in turn, try to reciprocate that business. As we go along and meet new members from WBOC, we find out what their business is, and if we need a product they have, then we go to those people first.”
Jeannine and her daughter, Lauren, are in full support of sustaining local businesses. “People like the fact that we are local,” she said. “We even have a big campaign going on with the Manlius Chamber of Commerce that is in support of local business owners.”
People also like the fact that Jeannine and her daughter are women. This sounds odd, but Jeannine says this is a good thing, as it’s sometimes difficult to get customers into the store because of that fact. “In our business, there are not too many female jewelers. It’s a special thing. Once people got over that stigma, we started getting a lot more business. Women liked coming to us because they felt empowered. Many of the male customers appreciate a woman’s perspective, too.”
It’s a good thing the people of Manlius have accepted the Masuccis into their community because women will run the jewelry store for a long time. Lauren, Jeannine’s only daughter, is a graduate gemologist — something that is rare in the profession today. “Not only is she an expert in diamonds and colored stones, but whatever anyone needs to know she can tell them,” explained Jeannine. “She fixes everything, but also brings all this other information to the table. Most big jewelry stores don’t have a graduate gemologist, and not too many women are in that field.”
The future looks bright for Jeannine’s daughter, and perhaps, as Lauren takes over the business in the future, the WBOC torch will be passed down to her, and she will be able to utilize it and, eventually, become a veteran just like her mother.
The WBOC is a local non-profit organization that has been providing support to women and access to innovative events and workshops for 20 years. Whether running our own business, working for an employer or launching a new endeavor, women are connected through their entrepreneurial mindset. Syracuse Woman Magazine is a WBOC signature sponsor that aims to promote a common mission. For information on how to become a member, visit www.wboconnection.org.