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Smart Managers: Natasha Digius-Mahdavi




Smart Managers: Natasha Digius-Mahdavi

Eileen McClelland



Published in November2012 issue

STORE NAME: The Diamond Boutique
LOCATION: Two locations in San Diego, CA

Natasha Digius-Mahdavi is one of those indispensable managers found in a family store who does a bit of everything. In her case, that means appraisals, marketing, helping clients with custom design and even dog duty — taking care of Austin, the 5-pound dog known as the resident rock star. “He’s a black and white Pomeranian with the sweetest heart. His five minutes of fame came a few months ago when he got to do a photo shoot with Ali Fedotowsky, the bachelorette from several seasons ago, who later called her wedding off,” Natasha says.

ON HIRING: When it comes to a mom-and-pop type store you really need people behind the counter who know what they are talking about — not only in craftsmanship, but the four Cs, gemstones, how to care for jewelry.


ON SALES: Know what your client’s lifestyle is. Don’t sell a diamond eternity band to a rock climber. It just wouldn’t make sense.

POSITIVE ENERGY is one of the most important qualities to possess in jewelry sales. Smile when you answer the phone. It gives off a good vibe.

ASSESS CUSTOMERS. If the client is young and has a good sense of humor you can joke with them. If they are serious and straightforward, you should also be serious and straightforward.

SUNDAY is our only day off. So we use the time to nurture our inner goddesses, which means taking care of myself, getting my nails done, taking the dog to the dog beach.

ON SISTERHOOD: A lot of people are surprised I’m able to work with family and then on the weekend still see them. My sister is my best friend, and how often do you get to work with your best friend? Being together, we bring out the best in ourselves and everybody around us.

WE STARTED doing a lot of charity work five years ago. We donate to about 600 charities a year, not just donating a piece of jewelry but also gift vouchers for pearl necklaces. Seventeen thousand people have come in from these gift certificates.


I WAS 3 YEARS OLD when my mom started the business by doing private appointments. I was the youngest and she would always take me with her. When I got older, clients would sometimes ask my opinion. When our parents decided to open a store, we were often at the store playing with jewelry and tools. We loved playing with wax. I remember sticking my hand in a big bucket of wax.

EMPLOYEE DIPLOMACY: When it comes to employee issues, I work with our operations manager to come to a resolution. We keep it as civil as possible because our store is so intimate. You don’t want to ruffle feathers. On the other hand, my biggest weakness is not being as assertive as I should be.

SHOP TALK: We call ourselves the bartenders of bling. People come in and all they want to do is blab. You become their therapist.

MY PARENTS FLED Iran in 1978 with five suitcases and four kids and could barely speak English. We appreciate so much what my mom has done with the business. What motivates me is not necessarily the financial aspect, but the emotional satisfaction that we are giving back to a business that has given us so much. We would do anything to keep it alive.

MY HERO and my mentor has been my mom my entire life. She was selling encyclopedias and babysitting before jewelry. Her first jewelry transaction was a gold chain. She couldn’t believe she was able to sell it. She doesn’t consider herself a good salesperson but most people would say just the opposite.

THE BEST ADVICE I ever received was from my husband. When we started dating, I would talk about work and I’d get kind of emotional about things. His advice was to leave work at work. Sometimes, I even follow it!




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Hosting a going-out-of-business sale when the coronavirus pandemic hit wasn’t a part of Bob Smith’s game plan for his retirement. Smith, the owner of E.M. Smith Jewelers in Chillicothe, Ohio, says the governor closed the state mid-way through. But Smith chose Wilkerson, and Wilkerson handled it like a champ, says Smith. And when it was time for the state to reopen, the sale continued like nothing had ever happened. “I’d recommend Wilkerson,” he says. “They do business the way we do business.”

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