Our self-indulgent story time.
To understand the history of Jeweler Websites, Inc. you have to understand the history of the two principal officers that own it.
Matthew Perosi started his first internet company in 1994. He quickly realized that manually programming a website by hand was a repetitious task that could be automated. By 1997, he wrote one of the earliest "wiki" type of content management systems. It was called "Psiclopedia." In 1997, if you wanted to be a website programming company you also needed to have your own server room. It was in October 1997 that Matthew opened his first server room and acquired 1000 IP addresses.
By 2001, the Psiclopedia software was being used for ecommerce websites and one of the worlds earliest dating websites (NJ Singles). It also powered a few mobile websites of the time with the dot-mobi domain extension. Mobile websites of 2001 were not widely used since smartphones didn't exist yet. These early mobile sites were designed for small cell phones with color LCD screens. The threat of the Y2K bug crashing legacy systems was motivating businesses to move their business to the cloud, although the term "the cloud" wasn't coined yet. Many features were added to Psiclopedia that helped small businesses run in the cloud. In 2001 Matthew moved the business from a 1-room office/server room, into a larger office and moved the server room.
Being close to Ground Zero in New York City was an emotional and financial hurdle for everyone within 100 miles of Manhattan. That's where the 2001 recession started. During this difficult time Psiclopedia matured into a more secure ecommerce website system and an early social media platform used by a nightlife management company and the NJ Singles group.
In 2003, the Independent Jewelers Organization (IJO), under the forward-thinking guidance of Richard Sweatz, hired Matthew Perosi to use Psiclopedia to revamp their entire way of doing business and running their trade shows. A short time later, IJO had 5 different website properties that were used for membership management, trade show registration, hotel attendee management, and product data distribution to all their members. It was in early 2003, that Matthew Perosi first brought on George Blair IV to help with the IJO project.
Working closely with IJO allowed us to learn about and expand the functionality of Psiclopedia for the jewelry industry. The name of the software was changed from Psiclopedia to "Psiclopedia eBusiness Software" to better represent it's ability to manage several areas of business, online marketing, ecommerce, and a customer relationship management platform. It was during this period that Matthew began sharing his expertise as an internet expert at different jewelry trade shows.
The "eBiz" system was deployed for several hundred jewelry websites very rapidly.
In late 2006, Matthew and George moved the increasingly cramped office to a larger location to give our 9 employees more breathing room. With this move, a custom climate-controlled server room was built to house all the equipment.
By 2008, under the guidance of Matthew and George, their team had deployed more than 500 jewelry websites using Psiclopedia eBusiness System. As the Great Recession started to affect everyone, the jewelry industry took a huge financial hit since consumers were shifting their buying habits from expensive jewelry to low cost silver jewelry or jewelry made in alternative materials, like silicone and plastic. The jewelry industry was no longer interested in an elaborate website system that could power their digital footprint.
To meet the demand of the jewelry industry, the large Psiclopedia software was separated into individual modules. This modular system was renamed Psiclopedia Junior, or just "Junior" for short. This allowed the software to be sold in lower cost pieces, which made sense for the economy of the time. Around this time, the concept of do-it-yourself websites started to emerge. Matthew and George wanted to feed into the DIY education and started publishing a lot of information for customers who wanted to manage their own website using the Junior system. In late 2008, with the recession weighing heavily on everyone's mind and the new direction of the modular software, Matthew and George decided to break ties with IJO.
As the ripple effect of the recession forced more than 6,000 retail jewelry stores out of business the business focus for Matthew and George shifted from only building websites to including online marketing, consulting, and internet education into the mix of services. The modular Junior system continued to be expanded upon and improved. The newest features added at this time were a large set of online marketing tools.
For a short while from April 2012 to June 2012 Matthew and George entertained a buyout offer from one of our competitors. They were interested in our Junior software, its flexibility, and how easy it was for Google to read web pages created by Junior than their own proprietary website software of the time. After Matthew and George declined the buyout, that competitor abandoned their own proprietary platform and started selling Magento, Shopify, and WordPress websites along with their own modular solutions. This experience gave Matthew and George further motivation to continue with the Junior software and where it could take us.
Over the course of the next three years, Matthew was traveling around the U.S. as providing his internet expertise as an educator and speaker for RJO, KJA, LJG, BIG, JA, SJA, JCK, FIT, and MJSA. Working closely with retail jewelers, jewelry designers, and jewelry manufacturers allowed Matthew and George to expand the Junior modules with more efficiency as well as add customer requested features. Through this period, Jeweler Websites, Inc. was more of a consulting company rather than a website company.
The name "Jeweler Websites, Inc." as an operational name was replaced by the fancy name "Sapphire Collaborative," which better represented how Matthew and George were acting more like business coaches than website partners. Coaching was offered to several young jewelry designers to help them kick-start their brand. Working with new business start-ups it became obvious that the next major evolution of Junior was to bring it out of cyberspace and turn it into a usable point-of-sale system that new businesses could use in their retail stores, at pop-up shops, or at trade shows. The modular functionality of Junior was reconstituted back into one product and the name was updated to represent more modern and fun thinking. GlitterPaw Platform was announced in early 2018. GlitterPaw was given the designation of "version 15" to represent the 15th version of the software and all of the developments it's grown through since 1997.
In January and February 2020, it was decided that the collaboration and consulting should take a back seat in favor of pushing GlitterPaw as a unified platform that could manage a jewelry website, online marketing, and POS for jewelers. The name Jeweler Websites, Inc. was pulled out of the closet and dusted off for a reemergence as the website software company that has something none of our competitors have: a website and POS all-in-one.
GlitterPaw "version 16" was released on March 5, 2020 with some of the most sophisticated upgrades in many years. The new features all focused on being able to set up ecommerce swiftly. Matthew and George had been pushing the benefits of online product catalog and ecommerce as a great way to rise to the top of search ranking, and make a little extra money. Little did they know that less than 10 days from the announcement of version 16 the world would be brought to a halt by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the course of the next 90 days the rules of retail would change. For more than 45 days many retail stores were closed to the public and the only source of income was from ecommerce sites. Anyone with an ecommerce site was able to continue selling through the pandemic, and those without ecommerce sites were suddenly begging for them.
GlitterPaw as a website platform was starting to gain recognition.