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Brand Ambassadors: Alexis Padis-Macmunn




Brand Ambassadors: Alexis Padis-Macmunn


Published in the January/February 2014 issue



“We had just started really focusing on branded designer
lines,” Alexis Padis-MacMunn says, recalling how her family business’s
relationship with Jeff Cooper Designs began about a decade ago.
“We were asking other retailers what lines they’d recommend, and Jeff
Cooper was always in the top three.” When Cooper personally called
Steve Padis Jewelry to make an appointment at Centurion, the store
jumped on the opportunity. The clean, timeless designs were well
priced compared to other brands, and the stunning clarity and unique
cuts of the stones set in the rings made the line stand out. Steve Padis’
three locations “see nearly a one-to-one turn” on their Jeff Cooper
inventory, Padis-MacMunn says. “Between the different designs and
metal options, there’s a perfect ring for every bride at every price point.
It was a no-brainer.”

line really puts the focus on the center stone, so a Jeff
Cooper ring is the perfect frame for your diamond. Men
appreciate the simple elegance and approachability,
and that it’s an excellent value. The lifetime upgrade
policy also helps a nervous groom feel more at ease.”

IT’S EASY TO SELL BECAUSE: “We like our clients
to be able to purchase a ring and walk out with it that
same day. Jeff Cooper is sizable and deliverable from the
case. Jeff Cooper is also on the cutting edge in terms of
marketing to the right audience. They engage consumers
actively and daily online and with features like their
new ‘Virtual Try-On’ application, which drives traffic to
our stores.”


design, which is an ultra-simplistic and clean cushion
halo for a round center stone, literally flies from the
case. It’s hard to keep it in stock! The Tamara, a splitshank
double halo design, and the Greta, a modern
solitaire, are also incredibly popular.”

they promise something, we know we’ll get it on time.
They are experts at making us look like heroes. We
placed an order in 2010 on Dec. 21 and had it in hand by Dec. 24. They
are accessible literally 24/7, and they emphasize the personal touch.
They’re not just worried about selling the line; they take care of us as an
account and as people.”

ultimate statement is that out of the many strong brands we carry, my
husband wears a Jeff Cooper men’s band, and my future sister-in-law
wears a Jeff Cooper engagement ring. If that’s not a vote of confidence
in the line, I don’t know what is. Their products stand the test of time.
I can’t remember having an issue with one of their rings, and if we did,
I know they would stand behind it 100 percent. As a retailer, I couldn’t
imagine a better partner.”

“We put our heart into each ring, and we know that every Padis Jewelry customer walks away smiling, having
had the best possible sales experience. We could not ask for a better retailer partner to represent us than Alexis
Padis-MacMunn and the entire team at Padis Jewelry.” — David Cooper, Jeff Cooper Designs

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Wilkerson Testimonials

To Generate Funds for a Jeweler’s Move and Remodel, Wilkerson More Than Delivered

Even successful jewelers need a little extra cash to fund expansion plans—especially when there’s inventory on hand that’s ripe for liquidation. For Beaumont, Texas-based jeweler Michael Price, co-owner of Mathews Jewelers, it was the perfect time to call Wilkerson. Price talked to other jewelers as well as vendors for advice during the selection process and decided to go with Wilkerson. And he wasn’t disappointed. When it comes to paying for the move and expansion, Price says the road ahead is clear. “When we close on the next two stores, there’s no worries about finances.”

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Jewelers Find That Art Draws a Crowd

Exhibitions add a layer of customer experience.



INTEGRATING ART INTO the decor, selling it as part of the inventory mix, and hosting exhibitions are all ways that retail jewelers can not only attract a crowd, but also add a layer of interest that keeps shoppers lingering and looking longer.

Focus on Local

Fox Fine Jewelry, a full-service jewelry store in Ventura, CA, has doubled as an art gallery for 20 years, with shows scheduled every two months. Owner Debbie Fox maintains a separate email list for the art receptions, most of which feature two artists and host 75 to 100 visitors. “Focusing on local artists brings in their friends, family and collectors, while strengthening our position in the community,” Fox says. “We do little business during receptions, but it’s paid off over the long term!”

Built for Art

BVW Jewelers in Reno, NV, was designed with art in mind and built from the ground up, with uniquely shaped walls outfitted with gallery lighting. Owner Britten Wolf features a local artist every three months to engage customers in different artistic styles. While visual art is a large part of the experience at BVW Jewelers, it is also what is created in the store. “Jewelry is art because it shows a process from imagination to material,” he says. “Being surrounded by visual art adds to the creative process used in custom design jewelry and the experience of clients and jewelers alike.”


Imagination Takes Flight

At Lindy’s in Fernandina Beach, FL, owner Lindy Kavanaugh commissioned Los Angeles street artist Punkmetender to install an eye-catching butterfly mural on the side of the building. “It’s been almost a year, and we absolutely love it!!” Kavanaugh says. She also displays paintings on loan from Casey Matthews, an artist and friend, which are available for sale. She loves the contrast of the colorful abstract paintings paired with the old brick of her interior walls.

It’s a Win-Win

Since Jacob and Liz Wosinski opened Jacob Raymond Custom Jewelry in 2017, they’ve experimented with a variety of marketing on a limited budget. As part of that marketing plan, they allow artists to hang their work in the Greensboro, NC, store and hold their own art receptions, which encourages visits by people who may not have known about the store before. “It’s a win-win: I get to have beautiful art in the store while supporting a local artist,” Jacob says.

Passion on Display

Jewelry designer John Atencio displays his original paintings and sells prints of the paintings in each of his six John Atencio stores in Colorado. The artwork serves as a backdrop to the jewelry he creates while showcasing his artistic range. “The passion of what I do comes through because of the art on the wall and the way the cases are laid out and the way the jewelry is displayed,” Atencio says. “It feels more like an artist’s gallery than a jewelry store.”


It’s Second Nature

Viviana Langhoff, owner of Adornment & Theory, has a bachelor’s degree in fine art and she finds it second nature to host quarterly contemporary art shows, particularly since her jewelry brand is focused on artists and makers as well. “To be honest these events do not produce sales, but it gives us a chance to activate the space, draw people who would not normally come to a jewelry store, and have important discussions over the work,” she says. The most important show of 2019 the photography exhibit “Underexposed,” was curated by Adia Sykes and focused on the lack of diversity in the American jewelry and art jewelry fields. The works were created, modeled and photographed by artists of color.

Art on a Mission

Balefire Goods is an artisan jewelry gallery in Arvada, CO. “While we focus on wearable art, as a gallery, we also want to showcase other forms of modern craft and fine art,” says owner Jamie Hollier. As a part of that mission, she and her team highlight a different artist or art show on their walls each month.”We have showcased a diversity of artists and media, such as gemstone illustrations, an art show focused on tactile art from blind artists, and an annual show featuring artwork from local junior high and high school students.” A show in April will put the spotlight on brooches that offer social commentary. Hosting art shows allows Hollier to bolster the perception of the jewelry she carries as artworks in their own right while creating an important space for the creative people in the community to showcase their talents.

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Best of The Best

Washington D.C. Jeweler Honors 50-Year-Old Gift Certificate

Gesture generates goodwill.



WHEN KEN STEIN, owner of Bensons Jewelers in Washington, DC, got a call in November from a customer asking if he carried silverware, of course he automatically said no, followed by, “Gosh! Who does anymore?”

But the caller, George Jones, said he hoped to redeem a 1969 gift certificate for three silver pieces that he and his wife, Cathy, had received for their wedding and lost track of. The Maryland couple, who were preparing to celebrate their 50th anniversary, found the certificate in a wedding album and decided to see if it might be possible to redeem it.

The certificate was for “one teaspoon, one place knife and one place fork in ‘Rose’ by Stieff.”

The couple discovered that the factory that made the flatware had closed in 2007, so they decided to check to see if the jewelry store was still there. When they found out it was, they were further intrigued, as was Stein.

“Well, my business brain ran with that,” says Stein, who promised “100 percnet” to honor it and found the three pieces online for $150.

He decided it was a story worth promoting and media attention quickly led to widespread accolades.

Two TV reporters and a reporter from the Washington Post visited his store to meet him and hear the story. From the Washington D.C. NBC affiliate, the story also aired in New York and Boston.

“It has been remarkable the amount of calls I have received,” Stein says. “They are so heartfelt and literally made me choke up at times. Calls from New York, California, Connecticut and elsewhere. I had a call from a little old lady in California who told me I restored her faith in humanity. She literally tugged at my heart a little bit.”

Stein says that while he knew it would make a great story, he also felt like it was the right thing to do. “One customer came in just to shake my hand,” he says.

One of the emails he received read, “I must commend your company for honoring a 50 year-old gift certificate. I’m sure the value of those three pieces of silver has increased over the last 50 years. That was very kind of you. If I need any jewelry, I will gladly drive the distance to shop at your store. God Bless You!”

One call, though, from someone else wanting to buy silver from him left him shaking his head. “I literally said, are you kidding?! Go buy it yourself!”

Stein’s father, Paul Stein, bought the business in the ‘50s and worked through the ‘90s. Ken Stein joined the business in 1979. “I’m trying to remember, did they have any silver left? I truly don’t remember that. I would imagine in the early ‘70s, it just faded out.”

The Joneses told the NBC affiliate in Washington that they plan to put the silver and the old gift certificate on display in their house, so they, too, can share the remarkable story.



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America's Coolest Stores

Florida Jewelry Store Specializes in VIP Experiences

Perks include luxury lounge and world travel.



Provident Jewelry, Jupiter, FL

OWNERS: Seth Berman, Scott Diament, Nick Linca, Robert Samuels; ; FOUNDED: 1993; OPENED FEATURED LOCATION: 2007; LAST RENOVATED: 2013; ARCHITECT AND DESIGN: Dreamstar Custom Home ID & Design International; EMPLOYEES: 10 at Jupiter location; AREA: 1,300 square-foot watch lounge, 3,000 square-foot showroom; TOP BRANDS: Chanel, Breitling, Franck Muller, Louis Moines, MB&F; ONLINE PRESENCE: 12,476 Facebook followers; BUILDOUT COST: $1 million

STEP THROUGH AN interior doorway within the elegant, marble-floored Provident Jewelry in Jupiter, FL, and you may believe you have stumbled through the looking glass into a pleasant but surreal dream.

The Provident Jewelry team has created what they call the Dream Factory, a clubby lounge with a full-size bar, espresso machine, and the ambience of a VIP retreat. The Dream Factory is adjacent to a cigar lounge, too, with humidors, comfy seating and a state-of-the-art ventilation system. The bar is stocked with fine bourbons, Scotches and tequilas, the finest liquor in the world, says CEO Rob Samuels.

“You come in here and it’s such a different experience,” says managing partner Seth Berman. “It’s kind of a lounge-y, laid-back atmosphere with super friendly people, who are very well trained as well. It’s a combination of all those things that create a great experience. It’s more than a jewelry store; it’s a lifestyle.” So it’s not unusual for clients to hang out at Provident Jewelry for hours.

The management team at Provident Jewelry pushes the envelope when it comes to creating far-flung customer experiences.

“Before the Dream Factory, we used to see top clients four to six times a year,” Samuels says. “Now we see them a couple times a month or more. We’ve created an atmosphere that is fun, relaxing and luxurious.”

It’s also expanded the store’s appeal to men in an affluent area where women with their own disposable income tended to be the core clientele. Now everyone feels equally comfortable. There’s wood on the walls and the floors, and the bar, accented with stainless steel, also has a layer of transparent granite on top and in front of it. “It’s more male-focused, but when we have events, it’s a place where everyone gravitates,” Samuels says.

The showroom floors are two types of marble with a micro-mosaic border. The showroom is much lighter and brighter in design, overall, than the lounge space. But although the main showroom and the Dream Factory look and feel very different, the use of earth tones ties both spaces together aesthetically.


Pampering extends far beyond the walls of the store as Provident hosts one-on-one global adventures for their VIP clients. Itineraries are influenced by clients’ interests in watches and jewelry, but the sky’s the limit.

The Dream Factory is a bar and luxury lounge adjacent to the showroom.

“We’re not talking dinner here,” says Berman. “We offer an opportunity to test drive rare cars, attend the Monaco boat show and a factory tour of a nautical-based watch brand, race a car at YAS Marina Circuit, golf with professional golfers, sail on America’s Cup committee boat in Bermuda, fly to Switzerland for a private helicopter tour as well as a private tour of a watch factory, travel the world and more.”

While some of these trips are (obviously) expensive, Provident offers them because the clients enjoy doing things with the Provident team, says Samuels. “The worst thing we can do in today’s market is to be the same or not stand out.”

Provident was founded in 1993 by Art Samuels and his son, Robert, in downtown West Palm Beach. In 1999, Rob Samuels and Scott Diament bought the majority interest in Provident from Art. Scott’s cousin, Seth Berman, came aboard in 2002, after earning a degree in psychology. Berman and Nick Linca are managing partners of the Jupiter location. ”It feels like one big crazy family,” Berman says. “There’s corporate power with a family feel.”

The Provident team now owns seven stores in the Sunshine State. Berman and Linca are passionate about finding the next breakout brands to bring to their clients, but they also deeply value one-of-a-kind estate jewelry. “We try to have something for everyone, but we are geared to high-end wearer pieces as well,” Berman says.

They launched a new website in November equipped with e-commerce to expand their national reach.

Hosting community events fits with the company’s work as lifestyle philosophy.

They’re also active in community philanthropy. They host charity events in the Jupiter store several times a year, covering all costs, setting up silent auctions and attracting new supporters to causes important to their clients and their staff. One annual event is a kick-off party for the Furry Friends annual gala. They also support the March of Dimes, the Jupiter Police Foundation and cancer research, sometimes with a small cocktail party for their boards and other times for a holiday party attended by 250 to 300 people. “Our team has been in the business for decades, but their knowledge isn’t the only cool thing about them. They have so much heart,” says Elizabeth Portmess, former marketing manager.

“I think most importantly, it gives us a positive brand recognition and associates us with doing good in the community,” Samuels says. “While they’re here in the store, they can see the concept of the lounge and the bar. They start to browse, and by the end of the night, everyone wants to see all the beautiful stuff and our sales staff is running around showing jewelry and watches.

“We’re big believers in doing the right thing and it will come back to you.”



Five Cool Things About Provident Jewelry

1. Great people. Because of Provident’s reputation for positive energy, qualified job seekers look to the company for opportunities. Once onboard, staff are trained at GIA in gemology and in Switzerland for watches, in addition to receiving training closer to home. “Product knowledge is super important,” Berman says.

2. Fun vibe. The company cultivates a professional sales style, which is also casual and low pressure, Berman says. “It’s a lifestyle, not a job where you clock in and clock out. Work and pleasure overlap for us quite a bit. We’re constantly going to events, and involved in community outreach. Our staff is all in.”


3. Wide-ranging marketing. Provident partners with brands for billboards and magazines. They also keep up with social media and paid advertising and get staff on board to develop social-media relationships. They say they’re not afraid to try big things marketing-wise because they have the power of seven stores behind them. Says Berman, “We ask, ‘How’d you hear about us?’ They’ll say, ‘I saw the billboard, the commercial, a friend told me, then I saw you in the magazine and on Instagram.’ It’s the sum of all parts.”

4. Cutting-edge website. Traffic is up since Provident launched its new e-commerce website in November. “I believe wholeheartedly that the in-store and out-of-store experiences are top notch, but we fell by the wayside as far as the online experience,” Samuels says. “Since we upgraded our website, though, you’ll find it to be both visually elegant and easy to navigate.” The website has its own social wall; clients can take a picture of their new watch or upload engagement photos. The social wall not only adds an interactive element to the website, it also makes clients feel like they’re part of the club, says Samuels, who hopes the website will intrigue online visitors enough to say, “Next time we’re in Florida, we’re going to stop by the store.”

5. Happening holidays. Provident hosts holiday parties at each of their stores and releases a highly anticipated holiday catalog in mid-November. A full-time bar tender pours bloody marys and mimosas, from open to close.

  • Benjamin Guttery: Having the “Dream Factory” at its flagship location is a great way to inspire customers to dream big! Inside there is a “bazaar” feel with multiple smaller rooms and lounges tailored to individual groups of clients. The exterior Floridian architecture is classic and beautiful and offers a contrast to the bold internal space.
  • Elle Hill: The interior design of the store creates a one-of-a-kind experience. Provident Jewelry focuses on offering not only jewelry but rare experiences, and this enables them to offer customized and unique customer experiences.
  • Bob Phibbs: The ability to participate in one-of-a-kind events definitely elevates the luxury lifestyle to new heights!
  • Mark Tapper: Provident Jewelry gets that retail is more than just about shopping, but about creating an experience. The idea of creating a Dream Factory where clients can mingle, relax, and enjoy a cigar or adult beverage is an awesome in-store experience.
  • Michael Roman: The Dream Factory luxury lounge is extremely luxe and lends itself to the lifestyle concept that is being sold along with jewelry. The one-of-a-kind experiences they have marketed are just that.


Try This: Bring your clients’ dreams to life.

You may not be able to bring them along on globe-hopping adventures, but could you plan local experiences for top clients? Start with offering an adult beverage, a comfortable chair and local concierge services related to client interests or their upcoming nuptials.

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