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California Jeweler Started in Finance and Wound Up in Jewelry Retail

Fanya Hull finds inspiration in female empowerment.




Fanya Hull

Fanya Hull, an owner partner of Vardy’s Jewelers in Cupertino, CA, is a GIA Accredited Jewelry Professional and the store’s personal jewelry consultant. She has a bachelor’s degree in international business and finance from Loyola Marymount University. Fanya works with her parents, Vardy and Alice Shtein, and her brother, Misha Shtein. Vardy is a master jeweler and European goldsmith, trained in his native Estonia. Vardy’s Jewelers, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, has been named the Bay Area News Group’s 2021 Best (Jeweler) in Silicon Valley.


Q&A with Fanya Hull

What have you done in the past 18 months to boost your digital presence?

We definitely had to pivot in the last 18 months. We had a website that was pretty 18 months ago. Now we have a website that is ecommerce friendly. We sell a lot more online and we have financing on our website. It’s video friendly. It’s just a different beast at this point.

We made the leap into selling online at the beginning of the pandemic, investing in a special gem lightbox that allows us to capture still images and 360-degree videos using just a Smartphone. Now, customers can get a better feel for what our jewelry is like in real life. For a while we’ve offered texting capability via our mobile and desktop websites so clients can quickly chat with us. We try to be as responsive as possible, often outside regular business hours.

We’re also very proud of our “How It’s Handcrafted” videos that showcase our artisans at work. We feel it creates greater transparency for clients. How jewelers work can seem quite mysterious; we want to make it less so.

What do you like best about your career now?

I love the relationships that I built over the years and the friendships I’ve made in the industry and outside of the industry. I love working with people. I love getting to know them. I love building relationships. It’s been a wild ride over the last 20 years.


What is the working environment like?

Everyone has a great time here. We’re serious about our business but we also try to have a great time.

Have your daughters shown any interest in the business?

Not really. Not yet. I don’t want to push. That has to be their decision only.

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There are no crystal balls when it comes to sales projections. But when Thomasville, Georgia jeweler Fran Lewis chose Wilkerson to run the retirement/going-out-of-business sale for Lewis Jewelers and More, she was pleasantly surprised to learn that even Wilkerson could one-up its own sales numbers. “Not only did we meet our goal, but we exceeded the goal that Wilkerson had given us by about 134%,” she says. After more than 40 years in the business, Lewis says she decided a few years ago to “move towards retirement.” And she was impressed by Wilkerson’s tenure in the industry. Overall, she’d recommend the company to anyone else who may be thinking it’s time to hang up their loupe. “As a full package, they’ve done a very good job and I’d definitely recommend Wilkerson.”

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