The book on Monet jewelry could not have been written without the help of Martin Krasner.
Marty was very close to his two uncles, Michael and Jerry ( Monet’s founders ) and was an enormous help in running the company for many years. He was a great help to me, sharing some great stories and passing along a ton of family artifacts as well as pictures and documents from the past that got me off to a good start. Whenever I was stuck, Marty was there to help put all the pieces together… and it continued throughout the entire process.
I asked him to write down some of his thoughts on Monet and the work he did there for so many years. So in his own words – here we are:
Ali, I’m so happy that you are starting this new blog about Monet, and I am more than happy to help kick it off.
As you know, I was at Monet for over 20 years starting in the early 60’s. It was my first job right after graduating college, but I already had a lot of previous exposure to Monet. My uncles Jay and Michael Chernow had founded the business during the Great Depression, and because we were such a close family, the wonderful story of Monet was often a subject of conversation at family gatherings. Also, I had worked at Monet summers while in high school and college.
My uncles had created and built a remarkable business. At the time I started at Monet, it already was considered the No. 1 brand of costume jewelry in mainstream department stores throughout the country. It was performing so well in stores that the store buyers literally could not get as much as they wanted, and even though Monet increased production each year, the product continued to be rationed and allocated.
It was the highest quality costume jewelry on the market, and it had a very specific merchandising direction — “tailored jewelry,” meaning all metal without any stones.
A few years after I started at Monet, Jay Chernow passed away very suddenly, and Michael Chernow sold the company to General Mills, which at the time had just started a fashion division. Monet flourished greatly under General Mills, which provided the capital that was needed to build additional factories, while allowing Monet management a relatively free hand to continue managing the business. During the first ten years with General Mills, Monet’s sales grew more than tenfold, and Monet remained the industry leader.
During my years at Monet, I held positions of bookkeeper, product manager, director of sales, marketing, and president. In 1983, General Mills asked me to transfer to David Crystal (Izod /Lacoste), which also was owned by General Mills, to head up their accessories division and their golf & tennis division. In 1985 I left to start a new jewelry business. Even though I have been with this “new” company for over 30 years, I still consider my years at Monet to be “my career.” Over the years, I have kept in touch with many other Monet alumni who have gone on to other pursuits, and we all still considered Monet as the greatest company ever.