Plumb Club Program with FIT is “Shaping the Future” of Industry

Program Deemed a Huge Success by All Involved

New York – The Plumb Club’s “Shaping the Future” program with the Fashion Institute of Technology is now entering its fifth-year and. by all accounts, continues to be a resounding success. In a letter to The Plumb Club president Roger Forman and executive director Lawrence Hess, the institute referred to the program as “one of the greatest ongoing collaborations” and “a feather in the Jewelry Design program’s cap.”

Mark Acker

FIT students, who have taken part in the program, attest to the value that the program provided them in entering the jewelry industry:

  • “The Plumb Club presented me with a plethora of resources and a member was always open to helping me with any questions I might have had during my education”, says Mark Acker.
  • “Through The Plumb Club, I was able to connect with different industry professionals and learn more about how the jewelry industry operates. I wouldn’t necessarily be able to receive access to this information in a standard college environment,” adds Fean Manthachitra.
  • Marilena Marchetti sums up her experience with, “I’d use the word generosity to sum up my Plumb Club experience. Every member I spoke with graciously shared their insights, encouragement and good humor.”

The multi-faceted program was created by Michael O’Connor of The Plumb Club and Michael Coan of FIT to help give students enrolled in the FIT Jewelry Program exposure to, and experience with, some of the top companies in the jewelry industry that comprise The Plumb Club Membership.  To date, principals and key executives at various Plumb Club Member companies have been responsible for mentoring over 25 students. In addition, the program has offered student internships with companies, some of which culminated in employment after student graduation.

                   Fean Manthachitra

Further, each year the program grants 3 top graduating students with the opportunity to fly to Las Vegas to attend and experience the excitement of the largest jewelry show in the country, JCK. While at JCK, the students give guided retailer tours of the Jewelers Resource Center ( ) and help the association with social media. Each attending student is also given numerous daily opportunities to explore the show on their own to seek design inspiration, buy gemstones and tools, and network with attending companies. To date, 11 students have been awarded the prize of attending JCK.

Speaking on the JCK experience, Michael Coan, assistant adjunct professor at FIT says, “This has proven to be one of the greatest experiences our graduating students have ever had access to, and the statements from our students who have been the recipients are a testament to the incredible value of these interactions.

Marilena Marchetti

The majority of these students have professionally entered our industry with a greater sense of self-awareness and industry acumen. More importantly, they have started their careers with the understanding that to share and give back is as important to their success as material wealth and industry recognition.”

Kim Nelson, assistant chair of jewelry design at FIT had this to say about the program, “It is with pride and anticipation that FIT and The Plumb Club look forward to another great year of new mentorships for our freshman and returning sophomores for the fall of 2024. It is a renewal that occurs each year and exemplifies the outstanding commitment that The Plumb Club and FIT have undertaken together for the greater benefit of our students, providing opportunities that will bring a greater affirmation of and reinforcement for their passion for jewelry, while laying the foundations for a brighter future for our industry.”