MEET THE TEAM
President, Bob Soltys, joined the Danecraft family in the winter of 1981. Prior to his time at Danecraft, Bob graduated from Bryant University with a degree in Marketing and then landed himself a position at the acclaimed Hasbro Toys where he worked for over three years. At the time, the jewelry industry was thriving in Rhode Island and Bob decided to move on to Wells/Benrus as their Director of Customer Service and Merchandising and eventually became their Director of Sales and Marketing. Searching for greater opportunities in the jewelry industry, Bob pursued a career for Automatic Chain to lead their Direct to Store division. A few years later and with his vast efforts and sales, his division was renamed PMJ, Precious Metals Jewelry.
As President of Danecraft, Bob believes it is an all-encompassing position. He says, “I have always attempted to be a conduit between product development, the sales force and our customers”. He is also directly responsible for forecasting production on thousands of replenishment styles and packaging on a weekly basis. Bob strongly believes in the values of team building, “I think of Danecraft as a team. Since I began in business I have hated the term ‘employees’ and try to always say ‘team’, or ‘teammate’. And, even better than that, I believe in it”. When it comes to working for Danecraft, Bob says, “I love the fact that nothing is handed to us. Each year we have to compete and start all over again with our retailers. We have to determine the best manner in which to exploit our strengths in the upcoming year, and we have to do that every year. I never tire of the competition and it is what drives me”.
Danecraft’s Vice President of Strategic Planning and Logistics, Carol Cooper, joined our team in the spring of 1998. After receiving her MBA from the University of Illinois and a GIA Certificate in Diamonds and Gemstones, Carol started her career in design and development in Chicago, Illinois working for Hallmark Jewelry Company, a large gold and diamond jewelry manufacturer. In 1986, she was transferred to the “Jewelry Capitol of the World”, Providence, Rhode Island. Carol traveled the globe for over thirty years directing and developing both precious and base metal jewelry. She also developed and sourced for brands such as Anne Klein, Givenchy, Tommy Hilfiger, Vera Wang, and Karl Lagerfeld. Carol oversees and directs Purchasing, Retail Compliance, Factory Compliance and Costing Teams. Her greatest success at Danecraft has been her ability to transition the company from manufactures and importers to one of the most well run importers in the jewelry industry. As for importing, her strategy is “becoming more important to fewer factories and, when we determined the best of the best, we dominated their production.” Carol has been involved in almost every facet of the business from offshore production and packaging to advertising and marketing as well as internal and external logistics.
Tony Buonanno became Danecraft’s Vice President of Operations in 1986. He graduated from Providence College and his career in the industry took off at Catamore Jewelry where he spent over fifteen years as Assistant Vice President of Manufacturing. Danecraft presented an opportunity for Tony to expand his involvement in all facets of the business, which he gladly accepted. Today, Tony manages daily operations and staff in Distribution, Order Processing, Customer Service, Quality Control, and IT. Tony is continuously setting goals and implementing policies company wide. When asked what he loves most about working for Danecraft, he replied, “The challenges. Motivating staff to work together to identify problems and implement changes to overcome those challenges.” Tony’s greatest accomplishment at Danecraft has been his proposal and management of a modernized internal ERP software and network infrastructure. The project focused on the integration of disparate computer systems, thus improving communications between departments, vendors, and customers.
Michele Masse, Vice President of Product Development, started her career at Danecraft in the summer of 2008. After graduating from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in Fashion Merchandising, she began her career as the Fashion Accessories Buyer for Parade Shoes. After four years, she moved on to Filene’s Basement where she quickly transitioned from the Jewelry and Watch Buyer to the Divisional Merchandising Manager who oversaw all accessories. After her experience in retail, Michele took the opportunity to work as a Merchandiser for Tanya Creations in 2000 where she helped build strong programs in metals, seasonal motifs, and boxed goods. Michele oversees the initial designs of all styles to the finalization of styles chosen by our retail partners. She explains, “By putting together relevant product assortments in costume and bridge jewelry we are able to provide our partners with saleable product which is right for their customers.” Michele’s favorite part about working for Danecraft is “the trust and the freedom to try new things while continuing to build strong core programs of fashion basics. Working with factories, customers and team members to accomplish this has been a great source of fulfillment for me.”
Our National Sales Manager, Jerry Sestric, joined the Danecraft family in the fall of 1996. Jerry graduated from Duquesne University in 1984 and became the men’s accessories buyer at Kaufmann’s Department store. He continued his career as a sales representative for Rolf’s small leather goods and from there he moved on to 1928 Jewelry as their regional sales manager for several years. With previous experience in the jewelry industry, Jerry was thrilled and determined to take on the prominent position of managing Danecraft’s national sales accounts. Jerry’s role consists of continuously working with our retailers to facilitate profitable orders for Danecraft. He simultaneously helps and supports our retailers to maximize the selling of our product in their stores. When asked what has been his greatest success at Danecraft, he replied, “the relationships with the people I’ve worked with over the years. A true family, caring environment while maintaining a total professional business approach, a rare combination.”