Darien, CT—Since 1914, David Harvey Jewelers, with stores in Darien and Norwalk, CT, has used its smart yet unusual mix of inventory to keep its customers happy. The store is known for its brands in fine jewelry, timepieces and giftware, a mix that was once easy to find in a luxury jewelry store (sometimes referred to as a ‘guild’ jeweler) but now is not so common. Besides the right merchandise mix, owner Jeffrey Roseman, a jeweler, entrepreneur, and philosopher, keeps David Harvey Jewelers fresh and relevant.
“We find if you get into the right brands, it’s a traffic builder,” says Roseman of his giftware. “Everyone is invited to a friend’s house, needs a bridal gift, et cetera. If you carry nice brands, you get that giftware business.” And David Harvey Jewelers does have those nice brands: Baccarat, Herend, Jay Strongwater, Michael Aram, Nambe, Reed & Barton, Simon Pearce, and William Yeoward, among others.
Exterior of David Harvey's Norwalk store, left, and a view of its ample giftware department, right.
Giftware isn’t the only category where Roseman has an array of brands. In fine jewelry, David Harvey Jewelers offers Hearts On Fire, Roberto Coin, Tacori, Mikimoto, Gregg Ruth, JB Star, Chimento, Mark Patterson, Faberge, A. Link, Alex Sepkus, Links of London, and Charles Krypell. And in timepieces, Rolex, Cartier, Ebel, Michael Kors, Omega, Philip Stein, Raymond Weil, Tag Heuer, Tissot and more.
Inside David Harvey's Darien location.
Roseman has put great thought to the brands he carries in his store. “We always have attention to quality,” said Roseman. “Every brand has its purpose. The brands that are profitable are the good ones. When we carried watches, it was a means to establish our brands as a certain caliber. At that time, it was hard to get good jewelry lines unless you had good watches. Watches are lucrative. We don’t sell watches on price.” Besides offering a strong array of brands, David Harvey Jewelers offers factory service in-store with watchmakers certified to work on the various brands.
So if price is not the main draw for watch customers, what is? “We understand that the watches can be sold as a commodity where price is the only differentiating factor. For our firm the goal is to demonstrate how we can offer a value-added benefit at no additional cost to the consumer. We accomplish this through in store factory authorized service, custom engraving and extended warranties. We must exceed our watch customer’s expectations with every sale,” said Roseman.
David Harvey Jewelers also offers a wide array of jewelry services, from CAD-CAM to simple repairs. Laser repairs are done on premises and the shop handles a wide variety of repairs.
The stores are located in Connecticut’s affluent Fairfield county, which borders New York’s equally-affluent Westchester county and falls within the New York City metropolitan area. The store serves a variety of customers, many of them women self-purchasers. “We’re not dependent on milestone events,” said Roseman. “We have products for women and they buy. We’re an hour from Manhattan. Some of our customers are serious players in the financial market. They buy what they ‘need.’ Jewelry should not be something you want but something you need.”
Along with selling to the women self-purchasers, Roseman and his staff also offer engagement rings, fashion pieces, all in a variety of prices, often into the six figures. And how does Roseman reach those customers? “We’re making the move from print to Internet. Social media is great,” he says (David Harvey’s Facebook page here), appreciative of the tracking features offered with online advertising. “Search engine optimization (SEO) and search branding, it’s working for us through Google. We’re getting great info from there. We can track when they call us and how their search turned into a sale. The sophistication of a newspaper ad is not the same; it cannot be tracked as well.”
“We drive traffic to the website, especially those looking for brands. For example: Tacori. If someone wants it and you’re the only point of distribution, we want people to find us quickly. We send people to our website.”
Two screens from David Harvey's website, above and below.
Roseman and his staff of 15 are knowledgeable on all the inventory in general and “everyone specializes in something. We try to encourage an entrepreneurial culture. Everyone is accountable and responsible. This gives employees a sense of ownership for the company. I try to stay out of their way. People do best when they are not micromanaged. Everyone has their primary job (selling) and also a secondary job (an expertise within the firm).”
Along with running and managing two retail jewelry locations, Roseman has another career entirely: education. “In addition to my world as a CEO of an extensive jewelry company, I have been teaching at Fairfield University for six years. Because my world is academics and practical experience, I love them both equally. I may teach more once I get my Ph.D.; but there’s a lot to be said for practical experience,” admits Roseman. “There are too many failures in our industry. I teach theories, many on communications and conflicts. The better we know the theory behind what we do, the less mistakes and failures we’ll see in our lifetime.”
While some might argue that all jewelers are philosophers to an extent, Roseman is currently working towards achieving a degree to prove it. Roseman is currently enrolled as a Doctor of Professional Studies in Business (D.P.S.) candidate, a modern day business philosophy degree at Pace University, His Linked-In profile lists him as an “Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Fairfield University,” an apt title for someone who is a jeweler, an entrepreneur and a philosopher.
Roseman began his masters’ education in 2001, to “better appreciate education and how it can assist my family business. If we teach our vendors to be smarter, we will be more successful,” he said. For example: “When vendors see co-op advertising, they see it as a gift. Instead, we can look for the return on investment (ROI). If we can demonstrating that incremental increase in a store’s purchases increases with advertising, it may offer an opportunity to advertise more. As a jeweler, I’m servicing their customer. The three of us are in this together; the jeweler is the conduit.”
“I love learning new ideas,” said Roseman, “I learn from people I work with. I’m always listening and if people have contrary ideas to my own, I’ll listen. I encourage debate. Once the debate is over, a decision is made and we all embrace it.”
“We are in interesting times,” he concludes. And what is Roseman’s philosophy for David Harvey Jewelers moving forward? “Embrace brands that are profitable and have worked with us. Not how many, but the right ones. It takes so much more than a beautiful collection of fine jewelry to be successful. We’re in this as a relationship business. “
The Roseman family at David Harvey Jewelers (from left): Renee Roseman, Harvey Roseman, Jeffrey Roseman, Kayli Roseman and Ben Roseman.
”We are a fourth generation family business,” said Roseman. His grandfather began in the jewelry world as a jewelry store manager, pre WWII in Bridgeport, CT. His father joined in 1944 when he was released from the army; the jewelry store was called Gleason’s Jewelers at that time. Roseman’s father and mother became involved in business at an early age. “They worked together their entire career,” said Roseman. “She was the definition of a working mother.” The family moved the store to Norwalk in 1961, reincorporating as David Harvey Jewelers. In 1980 Roseman joined the business and in 2005, his son and daughter-in-law, Ben and Kayli, joined David Harvey Jewelers. They are now the vice-president and chief financial officer, respectively.
So where/who was David Harvey? “My father is Harvey Roseman,” said Roseman. “He created the name David Harvey. He used his name and the name of the people he bought the store from. They ended up staying on, helping to retain clients and bring in new ones.”