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ACS 2004 10th Place: Ylang-Ylang Fine Jewelry

Itʼs difficult to pronounce, but easy to love this modern classic.



Ylang-Ylang Fine Jewelry, Louis, MO

OWNER: Ylang-Ylang Fine Jewelry; ADDRESS: 81 Plaza Frontenac, St. Louis, MO 631313; LOCATION TYPE: Mall; STORE SLOGAN: “Whatʼs new, whatʼs in, whatʼs hot.”; OPENED: May 2000 (new location); EST. PROPERTY VALUE: N/A; STORE AREA: 1,200 sq. ft; STAFF: 3 part-time; SALES IN 2003: Over $2 million

LIKE EASTERN YING AND YANG, the evocatively named Ylang-Ylang is a study in contrasts with its light and dark color scheme throughout and its mix of traditional and contemporary design elements. Traditional influences are balanced by contemporary furniture. The jewelry similarly mixes contemporary and traditional with its influences from Art Deco and other classic periods. The results are original Ylang-Ylang.

The redesign of elegant Ylang-Ylang Fine Jewelry was a family project. At the store Lois Morganstern is store manager and buyer; her husband, attorney Roy Morganstern, is adviser and co-buyer; and their daughter, Julie, is premier sales associate. All of them contributed ideas toward the re-design project.

Lois Morganstern fell in love with the French Ylang-Ylang concept 20 years ago. Since that time, however, the store has become completely independent. “Now
we concentrate on American designers because there are so many good ones and we have such good relationships with them,” says Lois Morganstern.


The family developed the idea of a jewelry bar, a long sit-down showcase that features the work of various jewelry artists, as the focal point of the store. “Itʼs reminiscent of the old ice cream soda fountain where you would sit and hang out with friends,” says Lois.

The elegance of Ylang-Ylang is balanced by its warm congenial atmosphere. Seating areas with comfortable upholstered armchairs encourage customers to sit and relax. Says Lois: “I treat the store as it if was my home. We always have refreshments or candy for the kids; upbeat music is playing. No one is in a rush to go home. The girls are always on the phone talking to customers and building relationships, if they are not involved in direct sales.”

Six times a year, Ylang-Ylang hosts trunk sales, in which designers like Michael Beaudry, a store favorite, meets customers by appointment. Lois describes the architect-turned-jewelry designer as “the Harry Winston of the next generation”.

Entered into the Cool Stores competition in recognition of the storesʼ 20th anniversary, Ylang-Ylang Fine Jewelry celebrates in style as one of our top stores.


  • The store owner on her cool store: “The storeʼs interior design elements come together to create the warmth that goes with high-end jewelry. It is very important that we convey a high-end look that is consistent with the jewelry, but always on the cutting edge and exclusive in many ways.” — Lois Morganstern
  • Deborah Yonick: “Elegant, upscale and luxurious in feel, but what are they selling? Jewelry does not appear to be the focus in this store, at least to me.”
  • Greg Gorman: “Nice and some different ideas but overall cold feeling and sparsely merchandised.”
  • Linda Cahan: “There is a real consistency of design in this store. The furniture is well thought-out and works as an eclectic contrast to the more traditional architecture. Itʼs a very good mix of elements. The softness of the chairs complements and enhances the hard floors and walls. The wood furniture has some curving in the legs that works with the chairs to keep the space more friendly and warm. The simplicity of this store makes it unlike a traditional jewelry store, but certainly more interesting! I am very impressed with the amount and quality of seating — always a welcome relief for tired spouses or companions.”
  • Mark & Monika Clodius: “Welcoming, comforting look, looks like a nice place to chat. A real nice store, but a little too monotone. Go ahead — use a little color!”
  • Karen Karch: “Has a Southern home atmosphere. It looks like the kind of place a modern Scarlett OʼHara would shop.”




Thinking of Liquidating? Think: Wilkerson

When Peter Reines, owner of Reines Jewelers in Charlottesville, VA, decided it was time to turn over the “reins” of his 45-year-old business to Jessica and Kevin Rogers, he chose Wilkerson to run his liquidation sale. It was, he says, the best way to maximize the return on his decades-long investment in fine jewelry. Now, with new owners at the helm, Reines can relax knowing that the sale was a success, and his new life is financially secure. And he’s glad he partnered with Wilkerson for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “There’s just no way one person or company could run a sale the way we did,” he says.

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