Paving the way for the future of the jewelry industry.
If you have ever have gone to a mall jewelry store to purchase an engagement ring, necklace or even a watch. The minute you step into the showroom floor you are greeted by a barrage of salespeople with the bustling sound of customers "oohing" and "ahhing" over cases and cases of watches, earrings, necklaces and rings of all shapes, sizes, and stones. The lighting is perfectly situated to bring out the sparkle and brilliance of the stones, gold, and silvers that are perfectly staged within each case. It isn't until the customer is presented with the price tag does the sounds of the "ooohs and ahhs" turn to OUCH!
"Well, two local entrepreneurs have taken that concept of the big mall showrooms and the local upstairs jeweler concept and married them into one amazing business".
D & R House of Diamonds founded in 2013 by Dave Padgett and Rich Shaw has created a reputation of providing high-quality jewelry at affordable pricing. We asked what their secret was and how they could compete with the larger stores in providing the same or better quality diamonds but at a lower price.
"The answer is simple" stated Dave Padgett, co-founder, "Having been in the jewelry industry since I was 19, I have had the opportunity to see the changes of the industry over the years. Starting from the showroom floor to managing multiple chain stores. But my ah-ha moment came when I was working with a new jewelry chain that I was hired to open a new store in Atlanta Georgia. We were open for a couple of months and had people coming in but couldn't seem to close the sales. With my experience and background in the industry, I was finding this perplexing. As I was helping a client I bluntly asked him, "you like our store, you like our products, but what is stopping you from making the purchase?" He stated that across the street on the 17th floor there is a guy that all the professionals go to and you can't beat his pricing. Astounded by this, I finally garnered the courage to go over to the office to see what this guy was doing that we weren't. I walk into a small office environment with a couple of desks, receptionist and a vault. No fancy cases, no multiple hungry salesman there to service you, just the owner himself.
This is where the concept of the "upstairs jeweler" came from. I kept this image in the back of my mind in the likely event I ever decided to open a store of my own.”
D & R House of Diamonds opened their original office in 2013 at Tivoli Village in Summerlin. Starting the new niche of an office environment providing one on one personal service and affordable pricing. “This upstairs jeweler office niche allowed us to provide customized jewelry and affordable pricing,” states Rich Shaw, the co-founder. “By having the office concept of service we keep our overhead low by only providing the client the exact piece they want instead of stocking a huge showroom of pieces that may never sell. Because we offer personalized service and custom design we have a 90% return rate of satisfied customers and a 25% referral rate. This is unheard of in our industry. Larger chain stores may sell a customer the engagement ring but 75% never return to the same location to buy the wedding bands.”
Another aspect of their business model is creating relationships and not sales. "Both Rich and I both believe in educating our clients and not selling to them," explained Padgett. "By doing so we are giving them the information to make informed decisions but we also let them know we are not selling to them, but we are interviewing to be their preferred jeweler. This mission statement has garnered us a long list of referrals as well has allowed us to keep our pricing affordable.”
As with any business marketing and advertising can be a huge expense. D & R House of Diamonds has found alternative avenues to traditional marketing as well as targeting their core audience. "Unlike the larger chain stores our name is not always easily recognizable and that is why we both put time in to attending networking events," states Shaw. "Dave is a morning person and attends the morning events and I attend the late afternoon and evening events. This is a great way to build relationships and get our company name out there without having to break the bank with expensive advertising. Advertising is a great tool but can also add to the costs of doing business and is an overhead that can increase our pricing. So we choose only advertising avenues that are very targeted and will provide the greatest ROI. Because we are all about providing the best value to our customers.”
When we asked Padgett and Shaw where they see their industry going in the next few years, they were quite confident you will be seeing more of the larger chain stores downsizing due to the internet.
While both Padgett and Shaw both readily agree it is never a good thing to buy over the internet, it can be a useful tool to get a few style ideas before meeting with them for a consultation.
Other innovative changes to the industry have come from the creation of 3D-CAD software for designing custom jewelry. "This software allows us to help the client to design exactly what they want,” states Padgett. "We cannot copy an exact design they may see online, but we can do something similar. However, if they have their own design sketched out or in their mind, we can make it come to life in a 3-D rendering allowing them to see it before buying. Lastly, the latest innovation in diamonds is the lab-grown diamonds, while there have been imitation diamonds in the past, lab-grown diamonds are actually "real" diamonds with the help of science and technology and are as real as naturally created diamonds.