For Rick Gouthro, president of Diamond Emotions in East Lansing, Mich., business is personal by design – and he intends to keep it that way.
“Diamond Emotions takes pride in building to suit every customer,” Rick says. “We build the custom setting; we do it all. We want to be their factory, their design studio. There are big names out there that do this, but when I think of the independent jeweler who doesn’t have the resources or the relationship with large vendors to do these things, we kind of become part of their staff.
“When they’re talking to us, it’s like they’re talking with someone right in their store. We provide postcards, flyers and handouts for their customers, actually made for their store. We’re small, but we’re big. We’re a small manufacturer/designer, but big in the sense that our independent jewelers depend on us for results, and we give them results. It’s as simple as that.”
Rick knows retail. He spent three decades as a store manager, district manager and director of stores for a major corporation, and also worked in a sales position for a major jewelry manufacturer, where he rose to vice president of sales and marketing. In 2009, his career took a major turn when he and his wife, Gerri, opened Diamond Emotions, a jewelry manufacturing company focusing on bridal merchandise for the independent retailer.
Personal relationships with retail customers have been key in Rick’s quest to keep the concept of “emotion” strong in the company. When a retailer calls his Michigan offices, either Rick, Gerri, or their son Justin is bound to answer the phone. And that customer can expect exceptional service.
“It’s more personal; we’re not so big that we forget our customers are our most important asset,” Rick says. “The independent retailer is the reason for our success, and we’re not going to forget it. We’re committed to helping the retailers build their business.”
Efficient & Personal
Because Diamond Emotions is dealing with customers one on one, the company gets estimates out within 24 hours, CADs within 72 hours.
“One of the big things we’ve been promoting that’s been very effective is free CAD designs,” Rick says. “We’ve also introduced custom color into our designs, and we have a new, updated website that’s been very effective. Justin has taken over as vice president of marketing, and he redesigned our whole website and design process. He is very involved in custom design.
“Customers love our website; they love our images,” Rick says. “Everything we produce, whether a custom piece or line piece, we provide high-resolution images. We offer to our customer private labels, so anything they order from us includes their logo inside the shanks of the rings. And we provide quality displays at no charge.”
customers, the company displays the individual retail store’s name in the shank. “Seeing the retailer’s name in the ring provides ownership for the customer, and it reduces the amount of competition if they’re shopping around,” Rick says.
While Diamond Emotions makes its jewelry affordable, it also takes pride in quality. “We do not produce anything with open backs,” Rick says. “Every back has a J back, a closed or semi back. SI2s are considered SI1s by our customers. We can manufacture in platinum or palladium, in 10-karat or 14-karat gold. That’s key. We’re more concerned with the customers’ needs.”
Diamond Emotions does great business in its crystal fashion line called Twistals, one-of-a-kind coiled fashion jewelry offered at an affordable price. “We do thousands of these,” Rick says. “The best retailers give one away to the bride when she makes an engagement ring purchase. Then the bride purchases additional earrings, bracelets or necklaces for her bridal party. It makes a great add-on sale.”
Diamond Emotions doesn’t sell to the public, but will work as a liaison to bring a customer and retailer together. If the company doesn’t have a retail customer in the area, it will select a retailer there and give the retailer an opportunity to serve with no obligation to open an account with Diamond Emotions.
With three sales representatives on the road, the company is looking to add more reps in the South, the East Coast and the West Coast.
“One of the key things we’ve seen this year while traveling is that a lot of retailers have large colored stones just sitting around in drawers that are pure profit once mounted into fashion necklaces and rings,” Rick says. “So we do that for them, offer designs and mount stones into one-of-a-kind pieces. We draw the CAD design at no charge. As soon as we set them, they sell. We’ve made some beautiful designs with them.
“Large color is going to be huge going into the Christmas season,” he adds. “At the Hong Kong Show, we saw it in the Asian market. We tried it here, and it’s hot. Rose gold and two-tone – yellow and white gold – in fashion is hot.”