Columnists Amy Minnick Unique Settings of New York

Unique Settings of New York

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Saying "Yes" to special requests for 10 years

As Plato once said, "Necessity is the mother of invention." Unique Settings of New York knows first hand what it means to create solutions out of need. When four New Jersey retailers got together to discuss a ‘hole' in their supply chain, they left the meeting with a little more than they bargained for - starting a new company.

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Custom bridal jewelry specialists Unique Settings of New York understands the importance of custom sales to independent jewelers.

With frustration as fuel, the founders of Unique Settings of New York were tired of being told "No" when it came to special manufacturing requests. Caught between making a sale and the limits of their suppliers, the small group of retailers decided they had enough first-hand retail experience, as well as a comprehensive knowledge of manufacturing, to try it on their own. They took that knowledge and built a business around it.

When Unique Settings of New York opened its doors in 1999 it had one guiding purpose: helping the retailer say "Yes" to special requests. As retailers themselves, the founding members knew firsthand how important custom sales were to small independents, and they knew they could provide a better custom product in less time than the average manufacturer.
"Before we started Unique Settings we were very frustrated," recalls Joseph Ceylan, vice president of the company. "We were continuously told ‘No' when asking suppliers to change the metal or stone of a piece. But our customers wanted to customize their jewelry. That's why we were determined to become a superior custom supplier."

With manufacturing experience in the background of a founding partner, the group pooled their resources to start this new company. Starting with only two people and a 200 square foot office, Unique Settings began manufacturing custom pieces.
From the beginning the company was committed to designing and manufacturing everything themselves. They refused to go outside the company for any task or piece in order to retain complete control over the quality of the product.

"We do not design or manufacturer anything outside our own company. We do everything in house so we can control quality, meet deadlines and keep our promises," states Joseph.

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Unique Settings of New York's customer service staff works hard to ensure quality and accuracy - only three out of every 1000 pieces are returned.

Today Unique Settings of New York has more than 12,000 retail accounts. They operate out of a 45,000 square foot building and employ 150 people. Although they specialize in bridal fashion pieces (they offer the largest bridal catalog in the industry), their selection of pendants, earrings and bracelets make up a large part of their inventory. On any given day they process 1000 unique orders. And during the holiday season that number jumps considerably.

"We are able to process this large number of custom orders accurately because we have four different quality control procedures in place," states Joseph. "From the very first wax carving check all the way through to the pre-shipping check; we refuse to send out a product that hasn't been scrutinized thoroughly."

For the retailer this means quality and accuracy. Unique Settings of New York has an extremely low return rate, with only three out of every 1000 pieces returned. Add that to their production flexibility and ‘Just-In-Time' inventory system and their retail customers have a big advantage. Regardless of the custom change, Unique Settings can accommodate it. With unlimited choices in metals, finger sizing, stone size or use of customer's stones, this manufacturer enables retailers to say "Yes" to their customer.

"We are able to accommodate special requests because all of our products are made to order," states Joseph. "We do not ship from shelf stock."

Another point of pride for the 10 year old company is using environmentally friendly metals and conflict-free stones. Every gold piece manufactured by Unique Settings of New York is made from recycled precious metal, and they only use Kimberly diamonds and colored gems from ethical sources.

"We feel it is extremely important to manufacture in the US and do our part environmentally," states Mel Anda, president of Unique Settings in New York. "We are an ethical company and want to leave a positive footprint regardless of what we do."

Attention to detail could account for, at least, part of their success. While the rest of the industry struggles to minimize the decline of sales, Unique Settings of New York has experienced consistent year over year sales growth. While other companies are downsizing Unique Settings is hiring; all fantastic signs of a strong future.

Their latest program, called Unique Advantage, offers retail owners top selling bridal display pieces made with a precious metal alloy and cubic zirconium starting at $1500. These pieces won't tarnish and have the weight and feel of genuine precious metal pieces at a fraction of the cost. And, with their Just-In-Time shipping it only takes a few days to receive a custom piece. See page 42 for details about Unique Advantage.

For more information about this company or to browse their inventory visit their website at www.uniquesettings.com or call 800-466-4900.

 
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