The first step to being resilient is to remain laser-focused. You have to remain concentrated, and every time you are hit with a problem, to learn from it and keep moving forward. Another essential part of becoming resilient is having clarity on your future. If you don’t know your end goal, you cannot strategize your game plan to get there.

this interview series, we are exploring the subject of resilience among successful business leaders. Resilience is one characteristic that many successful leaders share in common, and in many cases it is the most important trait necessary to survive and thrive in today’s complex market.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Berge Abajian.

Berge Abajian is the President, CEO, and Head Designer of Bergio (OTC PINK: BRGO), a global leader in jewelry design and manufacturing. Established in 1995, Bergio’s signature innovative design, coupled with extraordinary diamonds and precious stones, earned the company recognition as a highly sought-after purveyor of rare and exquisite treasures from around the globe. With family jewelry roots reaching back to the 1930s, Berge is a third-generation jeweler, blending superior knowledge in design to create unparalleled collections. He took the company public in 2008, allowing the Bergio brand to grow, diversify and increase its global presence. Most recently, Berge led the acquisition of Aphrodite’s, a fast-growing jewelry e-tailer, for $5 million, and announced the intent to acquire GearBubble, a B2B e-commerce fulfillment platform, for $3.2 million.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?

a third-generation jewelry designer, I have always been surrounded by creativity and a passion for design. Every aspect of running a successful jewelry brand, from the design conceptualization to the manufacturing, all the way to the customer experience, was something I was obsessed with continually perfecting. In November 2009, we became a publicly traded company under the symbol BRGO. We created a marriage between a long history of design excellence and a keen business understanding of the jewelry industry. I wanted to forge my own path to success and have always taken big risks knowing it was needed to reach my vision.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or “takeaways” you learned from that?

Often, I can connect the dots before those around me. I can see what others at first may not. It happens pretty often that I am trying to push a project or idea forward, and not everyone can see the vision. About 25 years ago, when we were just getting started, I launched the Yellow Diamond collection. Everyone thought I was crazy. And while a complicated process, it was one of the most successful collections I have ever brought to life. About a decade later, I launched a semi-precious stone collection that was really difficult to get off the ground. And again, it was a top seller. I like to write the book when it comes to the jewelry industry and never be a follower.

What do you think makes your company stand out?

We have an unwavering commitment to designing original pieces. When I set out to design a new collection, I painstakingly make sure that each piece is particular and nothing similar has been made by anyone else. At Bergio, we make sure never to follow trends; we prefer to set them. Our collections are always at the forefront of the industry, whether it is our ultra-luxury yellow diamond pieces or our recent top-selling fashion jewelry line — the designs are always making a statement and setting trends in the industry.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?

There was not a single person I would point out in my entrepreneurial journey as the one who made all the difference. But rather, it was numerous people that contributed to my success, and I was able to pick up talents and skills along the way. They were all wise and significantly older, allowing me to gain a historical perspective and learn from their mistakes.

How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?

Being resilient means not to be afraid and to keep forging on the path you have set out, even when things get difficult. I knew I wanted to do things differently from the very beginning, and I accepted that others would not always see my vision. 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.

When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?

When I think of resilience, I think of myself. My business has been public for over 13 years, and I have made it my personal mission never to accept failure. No just means not right now, and a mistake is an opportunity to learn. So many people quit just short of reaching success, and I make sure never to make that mistake. I stay on course and keep moving towards my goal.

Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?

Everyone thought I was absolutely crazy when I decided to become a public company. Nobody understood why I was choosing this unique path for a jewelry brand. But the funny thing is that now after so many years of it working out, I have those same people asking me for advice on how to go public themselves. As a public company, I have raised millions of dollars without ever having to sacrifice the creativity of the business. So yes, some people might have thought and maybe still think I am a little unconventional with my ideas, but they have not failed me yet.

Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your most significant setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?

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 days. 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 five years later, and everything on the retail side has come together.

Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?

I have learned that you gain your experience as you go to business. After graduating college, I dabbled in several industries and learned a little bit from each one. At each company I worked in, I learned a little bit more about resiliency. Resiliency is built over time. You may be born with it, but you become better at it as you encounter different situations that you have overcome.

Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are ways that someone can take to become more resilient?

The first step to being resilient is to remain laser-focused. You have to remain concentrated, and every time you are hit with a problem, to learn from it and keep moving forward. Another essential part of becoming resilient is having clarity on your future. If you don’t know your end goal, you cannot strategize your game plan to get there.

Is there a person in the world with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why?

My favorite person in the world was Jack Welch, the CEO of General Electric. He sadly passed away in March of last year. He was and still is one of the only famous billionaires who I genuinely admire. His success didn’t come from luck; he was a fantastic businessman. His intelligence impressed me greatly.

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