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Feature Friday – Chris Lyons

Millennial jeweler makes his mark

Adele Diamond
My wife Ashley and I

My wife Ashley and I believe that marriage is something worth doing, something worthy of a cause. That’s the meaning of noble. Adele is French, based on an ancient word meaning noble. That’s why we named our store Adele Diamond, because we wanted a name with meaning. We wanted to sell something that we believed in.
The beginning of our business started back in 2008 when my wife started it from the dining room of our home. I was always the entrepreneur, but she got the bug and loved it! After six years of operating by appointment-only, we were ready for the next step. I quit my corporate job and took the business over to help grow it to something bigger. We opened our retail store last November. Back when my wife started the business, I was Chief Babysitting Officer, helping with the kids while my wife closed the big deals. Some of our first customers still remember that, and will come in the store only wanting to work with her. With that being said, it’s been a long journey to work my way up to CEO, when I eventually figured I could just make the title up.

Today, I wear lots of hats at the shop, from helping the team in the daily tasks, to restocking the coffee corner, cleaning cases, re-tagging, and helping with sales. My days end up being an orchestration of our dozen or so marketing channels, keeping everything going and working together. I believe that customer follow-up is a must do, and I participate with the rest of the team when it comes to this task. The goals that we set for our adelediamond3business and our staff are a big deal around here. Those goals drive a lot of our daily activities.

One of the things that I love the most in this business is when we create a piece of jewelry that incorporates family diamonds. Usually there is a story behind the stones, and I really love that work. It’s a rewarding feeling when we take something that’s been around for adelediamond4generations and we give it new life or a
new home for generations to come. Who else gets to do that? We have trained our team to show and sell what fits the client’s needs, anywhere from the different center stone options to the ring options that we offer. In our minds, the biggest take away for us is to provide the right piece of jewelry for their budget, their place in life, and their needs.
As a millennial, I pretty much grew up with a phone in my hand. I understand the millennial market, and I think that gives us an edge. We like to incorporate technology into our processes as much as we can. The investment can be so great, and in our industry, it seems like there’s more competing technology than ever. We try to partner with providers that are in the game for the long haul. Usually these providers will change as technology changes. These guys are obviously hard to find. I think one of the primary challenges that jewelers face is figuring out the formula for driving traffic into the store because this is critical to our growth and success.
We were introduced to Stuller when we bought our wedding rings locally. Naturally, they became our first supplier because we wore their products! The ability to memo-in live goods was a critical step into our first business model. Today, the strategy is a bit different. It’s all about customization. We believe prototype selling systems are a 3-D catalog where we then customize a piece and make it to the customer’s liking and specifications.
Seeing how other jewelers are facing challenges, and coming from a newer perspective, has its advantages. For example, I had a great conversation with a jeweler from Atlanta just the other day. He was lamenting the fact that he had been in the industry too long, saw too much, knew too much. All that baggage kept him from a fresh clean perspective of today’s new reality that’s critical to building the jewelry business of the future. My advice would be to jewelers that feel in a similar position to learn how to forget and let go with how things used to be. Embrace the new face of the industry and continue to build your niche in that world. As far as life wisdom well, keep your priorities straight. God, family, business. I would get burnt out in a heartbeat without that balance of family time. You hear it all the time, but it’s because it’s true. No amount of money is worth missing your kids grow up. Most type-A driven business owners struggle with that. That’s advice for me, too!


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Chris Lyons

CEO, Adele Diamond

Sometimes I wear skater shoes to work • My favorite sport is giving piggy back rides • I don't own a suit that fits me • I drink carrot juice every morning • My business hero is Daymond John • Favorite show is The Blacklist • My college nickname was Stuntman.