This month I’ve interviewed Peta Mylonas from Classic Design Jewellers. With a stunning range and being a family business, it was great to hear the inside story of what makes them stand out.
How long has Classic Design Jewellers been trading?
Classic Design Jewellers first opened its doors in June 2004. Our first premises was the old Braithwaite Dental Surgery, where we stayed until June 2012, when we moved up to our much larger, current premises at 1/91 Manning Street, Taree. We started out a very small boutique style store that has grown into the more modern showroom that it is today.
As a family business, can you tell us about the structure of the business?
Chris, my husband has been a Manufacturing Jeweller in Taree for over 27 years. He started his Apprenticeship with Peter Katsoolis at The Gold Studio, where he stayed for 17 years, and then we opened our own store when The Gold Studio closed its doors.
Chris makes jewellery the “old fashioned” way – from scratch, by hand. He can pretty much make anything you throw at him. Over the years he has acquired extensive knowledge of the jewellery making process and also in regards to diamonds and stones to best help our customers when they are making a decision in regards to a piece of jewellery that we really want to last them a lifetime.
He is a big believer in sitting down with our customers and educating them in all facets of the 4 “C”s etc. so they are really making an informed decision before spending their valuable money.
My background is in administration. When we opened our own store, I worked between Taree Council and in the store doing the bookkeeping, accounts etc. We then decided that it would be more beneficial for me to work solely in our own business. I am now also responsible for the marketing of the business and the social media also, which has become a massive part of getting what we do out there.
We also now have our son, Nik, as our Apprentice. He started in January of 2013 and is now in his 2nd year. He goes to TAFE for three days every month at Enmore Design Centre in Sydney. He is also lucky enough to be taught by our in-store diamond setter how to set diamonds and stones, so effectively he is doing two apprenticeships at the same time.
You moved locations in 2012; has that made an impact on the business?
Moving up to our larger premises has made a huge difference not only to our walk in traffic, but also to the larger selection of jewellery, watches and clocks etc. that we are able to offer our customers.
We also have the benefit of having a much, much larger workshop. On staff we have of course Chris and Nik, but we also have another jeweller and a diamond setter. This means that when you have a custom handmade piece of jewellery or just need a jewellery repair, we really do do all these processes in house. Nothing is sent off site to be done.
We also still have Julie, our Customer Care Specialist, who has been in the industry for over 25 years. She is very competent in helping our customers with choosing that special piece of jewellery that is just right for them.
We also have our Watchmaker, who offers free quotes on all repairs.
With our staff and their knowledge, we are able to offer our customers, I feel, the most complete experience – from the initial design of their piece to the finished item of jewellery. It is something we pride ourselves on, and it keeps our customers coming back, knowing that they are getting the best service possible.
What do you offer your customers that is different from other jewellery stores?
The major point of difference between our store and others in our area is that we have on site manufacturing jewellers and a diamond setter who contribute to the creation of our customers’ jewellery pieces and repairs.
We offer our customers a free Loyalty Rewards Club. This is where we like to “give back” to our customers. Anytime you spend money in store, you accumulate dollars to spend on future purchases. We also email you exclusive offers and discounts, pre-sale invitations, as well as birthday discounts just for you – along with other benefits.
Social Media is a huge part of our lives now, and my aim as Social Media Manager is to keep our customers up to date with what is happening at Classic Design Jewellers.
We have our Facebook Page, which is where we have the opportunity to show our current and potential customers what we are able to offer in regards to custom made pieces or remakes using their old pieces of jewellery.
Every time Chris or Nik make a piece of jewellery, it is showcased as our “Off the Bench Today” or “Off the Apprentice Bench Today” picture, along with a description of the piece. We also have “Off the Setters Bench”, which shows stones being set into different pieces of jewellery. It also gives our customers a place to be able to share their purchase with family and friends who may not live close by, and they get really excited to see their piece on our page.
We also have Instagram and Twitter and our website, which caters to our customers who do not live locally but still like to shop with us.
We also now have our new free phone app, which is available on the Apple and Google Play stores. This has special discount coupons and also rewards etc. that complements our in store Loyalty Programme that I mentioned earlier.
Any new products or innovations on the horizon?
Chris and Nik are continuing to create new design pieces for the store.
We are also very excited and in discussions regarding our own jewellery range that will be designed and made by Classic Design Jewellers.
Also shortly we will be giving the store a bit of a makeover, so this is something to look forward to. There is always some new being created in store or something happening behind the scenes, which makes Classic Design Jewellers a very interesting place to work.
Interview by Linda Bryant from The Photography Hub