Charles Krypell Fine Jewelry, Greenvale, NY
OWNERS: Charles Krypell, Debbie Krypell, Evan Krypell, Tyler Krypell, Brian Krypell; URL: charleskrypell.com/pages/store; FOUNDED: 1976; OPENED FEATURED LOCATION: 2020; AREA: 5,000 square-foot showroom; 10,000 square feet total; ARCHITECT AND DESIGN FIRMS: Gilbert Experience; WEBUILD-NY; TOP BRANDS: Charles Krypell, Memoire, Fope, Doves, Hulchi Belluni, Assael, Benny Sofer, Christopher Designs, Goshwara, ZYDO, JB Star, Kabana, William Henry; EMPLOYEES: 9; ONLINE PRESENCE: 49 5-Star reviews on Google; 5,275 followers on Instagram
Jewelry designer Charles Krypell built his wholesale business by performing remarkable feats of salesmanship on far-flung stages. He guest starred behind the counters of store owners he had partnered with, who planned in-store events for his jewelry collections.
Krypell began his career as a sculptor at the Pratt Institute of Art, but his love for fine jewelry was born during an apprenticeship with a jewelry designer. He crafted his first hand-fabricated collections from the bedroom of his childhood home in Brooklyn, NY, and gained the attention of retail buyers at craft fairs upstate. He grew his business into a successful family-owned enterprise with 150 retail clients.
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About 10 years ago, Krypell bought land on Long Island in anticipation of having his own store built. In 2020, he and his family followed through on that plan with a 5,000 square-foot showroom in a 10,000 square-foot space. Now, Krypell and his family have taken center stage in their business.
From left, Evan Krypell, Tyler Krypell, Halle Krypell, and owners Debbie Krypell and Charles Krypell are the family members involved in the retail operation.
“He is the king of trunk shows and personal appearances, and 50 percent of our revenues come from that,” says his son, Evan. “I don’t think there is one person in the industry who has personally sold more jewelry to the direct customer. That is his passion, helping the customer find what they want. My dad is 68 years old, still traveling, still doing trunk shows. But I wanted a place where he can practice his art and his passion in his own back yard.”
Evan, who manages the retail operation, has long wanted to diversify the operation. “I like to be in control of the whole process from soup to nuts,” he says. “No one is going to sell your product like you can.” He has also spent considerable time behind retail counters, observing how hundreds of the best independent and family-run stores work. “Before I started in my family’s business, my dad said, ‘You’ve got to go out there and see where our jewelry is sold around the country.’ For two years, he sent me out every Monday to another region of the country, and I spent time in every single one of our stores that way.”
Evan appreciates the opportunity to have been able to learn that way. He believes the very best retailers are those who know how to personalize customer service, a talent that makes them virtually immune from internet competition. “We are blessed to be in an industry that has categories that are internet proof,” he says.
The Krypells are reveling in the personal relationships they’ve formed with clients and collectors since they opened the store. “It’s so much fun to see the reaction firsthand to what we’ve created,” he says.
Evan relates the story of a 90-year-old client who visited the store with a binder of research on diamonds. She’d never owned a diamond ring; she and her husband had decided to save their money for a down payment on a house. Now a widow, she decided it was time. “We sat with her for a week to design this dream ring for her,” he says. “When we delivered it, she was so excited, she jumped in the air. I really like seeing the personal reaction.”
Charles Krypell’s distinctively elegant packaging reflects its brand identity.
Still, wholesale remains the core of their business. To make it all work cooperatively, the Krypells chose a Long Island location with no retail partners within 75 miles. About 60 percent of in-house designs mirror what is offered to wholesale clients; the other 40 percent focuses on classics, including pearls and studs, priced for the consumer. “Our store is a full-service jewelry store, everything from sterling silver to $1 million pink diamond rings,” Evan says. To diversify the offerings further, they’ve partnered with selected brands with distinctive merchandise.
When it came time to build the showroom, the Krypells wanted it to feel comfortably residential with an element of drama; to be as spectacular as the jewelry itself, but to also be entirely functional as a retail space.
They didn’t want it to feel pretentious, so they kept away from more formal, traditional materials such as marble and mahogany. Instead, every surface in the store is clad with natural stone, American walnut, large-format porcelain tile or rich fabric wallcovering.
The showroom’s nearly 30-foot-tall ceilings deliver the drama. The design is inspired by the look and color palette of contemporary American residential interiors, particularly modern mountain homes in Vail and Aspen, for their clean lines and warm material. The natural stone they’ve used mixes well with the natural elements of the jewelry itself. The jewelry needs to stand out, so the jewelry displays are designed to be invisible.
Also adding warmth to the back of the store is a huge 8-foot gas-burning custom fireplace surrounded by leather-clad mid-century armchairs in a lounge setting with a full-service coffee and espresso bar.
The store’s layout was conceived by luxury retail builder Gilbert Experience of Melville, NY, who maximized the usable space, separating the store into a few key departments that allowed for coherent merchandising. As a result, they were able to build nearly 300 feet of linear case space to accommodate multiple categories and price points.
Marketing the store called for an emphasis on local. They enlisted a local PR firm to boost their profile in the community with in-store events and as a contributor to local media outlets.
As they produce new products for their wholesale accounts, they post new samples and custom work every day on Instagram and Facebook accounts. And although there’s a full-time social media manager on board, Krypell family members also have access to the accounts and are able to respond to clients’ questions immediately, solidifying that personal touch.
“We’re old school,” Evan says. “We believe in face-to-face customer service; that’s our forte. That’s why we invested in this store.”
- Jennifer Acevedo: Stone and wood accents and leather furnishings add warmth to this impressive space. Lighting treatments suspended from the ceiling help keep the scale from becoming overwhelming. Sophisticated and modern.
- Emma Boulle: The clean lines and warm materials stood out to me. The modern lighting fixtures, inviting fireplace, and use of natural stone show the Krypells’ distinct sense of style that is both trendy and timeless. The designs in their jewelry collection are tempting!
- Gabrielle Grazi:The 8-foot fireplace flanked by the caramel-colored leather clad armchairs make a striking statement against the mahogany millwork, silver metal and marble used throughout this store design. Glamourous, yet it exudes warmth.
- Andrea Hill: Their Google reviews are not numerous yet, but they have a consistent 5.0, so they are giving a good customer experience. The store design is beautiful inside — distinctive and modern.
- Larry Johnson: Their website is fantastic at grabbing the visitor’s eye and not letting go until you’ve seen the broad assortment they offer. A standard for others to emulate.
- Eleanor Smith: Strong website and marketing approach; it’s very informative, outlining services and brands, which captures your attention. The in-store presentation reads as a classic architectural concept and presents as a consistent design aesthetic.
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Five Cool Things About Charles Krypell Fine Jewelry
1. CULTIVATING CLIENTS. The Krypells encourage guests to try on and learn about all of their products, from entry level to the one-of-a-kind fancy colored diamond jewelry they represent. “A client that has a $200 budget today could be inspired by the experiences they have that result in a $20,000 purchase in years to come,” Evan says.
2. SOCIAL DISTANCE STRATEGY. The Krypells opened their store at the end of 2020 during a pandemic. To make sure everyone was comfortable, they allowed clients to reserve the store one hour before opening or one hour past closing to shop one on one with a member of the staff in a socially distanced manner.
3. LOCAL CONNECTION. The Krypells hosted a vow renewal in the store for a couple that both survived COVID-19. Both husband and wife were given custom wedding bands to mark the occasion.
4. TEAM EMPOWERMENT. The staff is encouraged to have a voice in all aspects of the business; they are included in design meetings, educated on technical aspects of jewelry and invited to share their input on merchandising decisions. “We give our staff a ton of empowerment so that we do not come across as a corporate environment for our clients,” Evan says.
5. STELLAR REVIEWS. The relatively new store has 49 5-Star Google reviews. “They’re not solicited,” Evan says. “I’ve personally never been treated the way I treat my customers in the store, in a good way. Everyone treats every deal as if they’re making it for their mother. If the customer is not 100 percent happy, we’ll drive to their home and we’ll pick it up. We’ve noticed that people are reaching out and finding us because they’ve lacked that level of customer service elsewhere. If other jewelers had handled some simple things correctly, their customers never would have walked into my store.”
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“When we launched our social media outlets, we made sure to feature local landmarks, hangouts, favorite restaurants and businesses as the backdrop to our jewelry,” Evan says. “Even before we opened our doors, we were able to gain a following from people recognizing some of their favorite spots and giving us a follow.”