Appelt’s Diamonds began in 1938 when Benjamin Appelt opened the store, selling a large variety of timepieces. His son, Bert, soon began assisting him at the counter at only nine years old. Today, Bert’s son, Jeff Appelt, is the third generation owner, devoted to continuing his family’s legacy as reliable jewelers. He and his father travel the globe together to seek out the world’s most beautiful diamonds for their customers.
We caught up with Jeff to learn more about his journey in the jewelry industry, his purchasing strategies, how Luxury has helped his business and much more.
What is your background in the jewelry industry and how did you get your start?
My grandfather Benjamin Appelt started Appelts Diamonds in 1938. My Father Bert Appelt took over when my grandfather got polio and was too sick to work. I started working in the company when I was 12yrs old, after school and during summer holidays.
After I got my business degree in university I started working full time at Appelts Diamonds when I was 27 years old. We currently have 4 locations in Manitoba and a separate office and training center. Sarah (my wife) joined me 9 years ago and came from working as a merchandiser with Large Corporate Entities. Sarah is now currently president and is instrumental in day to day operations as well as driving Appelts to broaden our Vision and push the boundaries of traditional retail.
How would you describe your store using only three words?
We Celebrate Love
Can you give us a glimpse into your process when purchasing pieces to include in your store collection and your decision-making strategies?
We bring our Senior Merchandise planner Lindsay Gagnon to help give input on the right product mix. It is very important to understand purchasing patterns and to have that coexist with what is on trend and bringing in the “new”.
What are the trends you’ve noticed have been selling particularly well?
Bridal is our focus and solitaires have been a staple for many years now. The new trends are fancy cut diamonds like ovals and pear shape.
What were some of your favorite trends you saw at Luxury 2019?
We loved the new collections of diamond jewelry for $500 – $5000.
What do you do to make customers’ visits memorable?
We spend a lot of time educating the customer so that they are able to choose their diamond and ring. Our staff are trained in social styles so they know how to read customers and interact in the way the customer needs to give them the best experience possible.
Do you do any special events? If so, what kind?
We do a bridal event 2 times a year, where we have vendors come and showcase their merchandise and we provide elevated service and offer a purchasing incentive.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your business?
Dream. Create a vision and continue to move forward.
Train. Train. Train. Never sit back and think you have arrived, look for others who have been successful and hunt them down, learn from them and bring that back to the team.
What is one piece of advice you would give someone who is just starting out in the industry?
Focus on your goal. Foster relationships with your staff so they believe in it the way you do. Spend time every day visualizing and meditating on your goal with your team.
What types of pieces/collections stood out to you at this year’s show, and what types were you looking for when you got to the show?
What was important for us this year was deeper than product. We were looking at the relationships with our Vendors. We were looking for people who were doing business different and who were looking to partner with us and work together, not just sell us product and walk away.
How has Luxury helped your business?
Luxury has allowed us to build relationships with important bridal vendors. Being in one venue and having a more relaxed atmosphere is a highlight.
What are you most looking forward to for Luxury 2020?
Seeing new trends and learning what other successful retailers are doing. Hearing how vendors and retailers are evolving in this changing industry.
Did you do anything fun in Vegas off the show floor?
Yes, We have been honored to have been invited to dinners with vendors and to attend luxury parties