Meet our staff – Leon Corn

Meet our staff – Leon Corn

My life started in July 1939 in Wellington NZ after my parents moved there from Melbourne.

It wasn’t long before the lure of Australia brought us back across the Tasman and we settled in Sydney.

My school days were dominated by sport (though somehow I did manage to get through to Year 12 and obtain a certificate to show that I had learnt something.)

In 1957 I won the Open 100 and 220 yards schools’ championships and the time for the 100 (9.8 seconds) was never broken, as metrics were brought in during the ’60s!

I started in 1958 in Sydney with my first job as an office boy in a paper-converting company. There I learnt the basics of printing before moving on to sales. This led me to ‘migrate’ to Melbourne (my Sydney mates thought I was ‘nuts’) where I continued in the same business. We first introduced printed carrier bags to Myers – and then the rest of Victoria followed.

A long-lost friend living in Melbourne introduced me to the world of advertising, and I joined one of the St Kilda Road agencies that had some well-known brands. One stand out was ACI, and we launched household names such as ‘pink Fiberglass batts’, the ‘glass can’ (later called the ‘stubby’) and Laminex. I also worked on the team that introduced the first drip-dry shirt (known as Gloweave) and the Polaroid instant camera – both of which were launched by the late Graham Kennedy on ‘In Melbourne Tonight’ in the early sixties. Other products in my group included the Beecham brands of Brylcream, Silvikrin and Eno.

A move back to Sydney for three years took place to further my experience in the advertising world. There I worked with Bryce Courtney (the creative director of McCann Erickson) on the Caltex, Mortein and Coca-Cola accounts. This was quite a fast-paced period, with daily deadlines – stress levels at least reduced by the ‘long lunches’.

A chance to move back to Melbourne came in 1965 to continue working on the ACI account and two years later I was introduced to a girl named Jill Abrecht. This certainly decided my ‘where-do-I-live’ dilemma and so began married life in Melbourne. Two sons later, I soon found that advertising and family life were not really a good mix for me. Thus, when a position in the family business became available, I offered myself as a candidate.

So began my career in jewellery. Eager to get my teeth into this ‘new thing’, I enjoyed the challenge of study, resulting in Diplomas of Gemmology and Diamond Technology. During this period I was gaining experience in the sales area of the business, including interstate trips (carrying our stock) to retailers as well as selling engagement rings to couples referred to us in our Little Collins Street office.

In the seventies and eighties I served on the Council of the Victorian Branch of the Gemmological Association (including one year as president) and held the position of Practical Lecturer in the Diploma of Diamond Studies for a number of years.

Following my time at the GAA, I moved to the Victorian Council of the Jewellers Association, where I was the convenor of their Grievance Committee for eight years, involving mediation in disputes between jewellers and customers throughout Victoria.

Although I’m cutting back on the hours (after nearly 50 years), I love my work and the way we are able to assist our customers with their jewellery needs – from a ‘check, clean and polish’ to a complicated remodel or a new engagement or wedding ring.

Hope to see you in the showroom one day and to help you with your jewellery requirements.

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