Joseph Sherwood founded Daniel’s Jewelers in 1948 to make jewelry more accessible for all families. Over the years the retailer has carved a unique space in the Hispanic market thanks to its unique approach to financing, in-store services and merchandising. This has allowed the company to establish a unique value proposition that speaks to the Hispanic community, which is 62 million people strong and accounts for 19% of the U.S. population.
Now nearing its 75th anniversary, Daniel’s Jewelers’ growth path is tied to expanding its brick-and-mortar presence. While the retailer, now led by CEO David Sherwood, grandson of Joseph, is focused on fine-tuning its ecommerce experience, it is rapidly adding to its 100+-location store count concentrated in the American Southwest to Georgia and Florida, particularly Miami.
While the store footprint already spans multiple states, the demographics and psychographics of these customers are very similar. “The customer that we serve in Southern California is not much different from the customer we serve in Texas, or the one we’ll serve in Florida,” said David Sherwood, grandson of Joseph and the retailer’s current CEO in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “They might have a slightly different background, but they have the same mentality on life and what they’re trying to achieve.”
Merchandise mix varies based on local tastes and preferences. However, that “same mentality” Sherwood refers to has helped Daniel’s Jewelers develop a distinct value proposition that centers around three core values: dignified credit, creating an experience for multigenerational families and providing a welcome in-store experience for all family members.
Financing Options that Make Jewelry More Accessible
When Sherwood’s grandfather started Daniel’s Jewelers, many families were navigating the economic hardship that came with the dust storms in the Midwest. He wanted to build a store that served customers who were building their livelihoods but still wanted to celebrate life’s major milestones.
“He wanted to serve customers who wanted to celebrate with jewelry when they got a new job, got married, had their first child and basically moved their way up the ladder from nothing,” Sherwood said. “The core business was always built [around] providing dignified credit, because consumers couldn’t buy items outright with cash. If you fast forward to today, we’re serving the same customers, they’re seeking the American dream and have not reached the point where they can throw down a credit card and buy anything they want, but still want to celebrate with jewelry.”
Daniel’s Jewelers offers consumers personalized credit options based on their unique situations. Store associates are provided with the knowledge and autonomy to work with shoppers and offer financing solutions regardless of their credit history.
“Once someone falls in love with a piece, we typically get the mention of ‘We can’t afford it,’” Sherwood said. “We say right then and there that we’ll offer financing that works for them, even if they have terrible credit. We have five different credit options based on a consumer’s credit history and each of our associates are fully versed in those offerings. They lead them down the right path for approval based on their history.”
A big part of the jeweler’s financing strategy is its lifetime trade-in program, which allows shoppers to get the full value of an item if they choose to trade up in the future. “If someone wants a $10,000 ring but can’t afford it today, we say ‘Let’s get you into the $2,000 ring today because you can afford those payments,’” Sherwood explained. “Then, six months or even six years down the line, when they can afford those bigger payments, we’ll give them the full $2,000 they initially paid on a trade-in and put it towards that $10,000 total. Or they can take in a few trades over time to get that dream piece of jewelry. We’re always going to take whatever they brought back at full value.”
Merchandising and Store Experiences Built for Multigenerational Families
To better help consumers celebrate life’s moments, Daniel’s Jewelers also has fine-tuned its merchandising and store experience for Hispanic consumers. Store assortments range from baby jewelry to religious jewelry for various occasions, and each location provides convenient services like ear piercing and complimentary ring cleaning. The overall design and shopper journey of each store is crafted based on the knowledge that Daniel’s Jewelers is serving a multigenerational family.
“People think of a customer as a man or woman making a purchase, but if you look at our core Hispanic customer, when they come shopping, they bring grandma, grandpa, even aunts, uncles and kids in tow,” Sherwood said. “Plus, you have the customer who brings a few people to the store to browse with them. We start the design around that idea. The aisles must be wide enough to fit baby strollers. There must be places for people to sit. There should be play areas for kids, coloring books and things for them to do.”
While some jewelry stores aim to create a luxurious space that screams ultra-fancy and exclusive, Daniel’s Jewelers embraces the familial aspect and focuses on taking intimidation out of the experience. “We are the store with the giant welcome sign, and offer food and drink,” Sherwood said. “We invite people in, have balloons for the kids, and make sure associates do all they can to break down the barrier.”
By that, Sherwood means encouraging associates to truly serve customers, and not reprimanding them when they don’t close a sale. “They have to do all they can to show the product,” he said. “Anybody who walks into the store, they should get that giant diamond ring on their finger. Even if the consumer can’t afford it, our associates are still told to let them try it on, take a selfie with it, enjoy it so we can make their day.”
Daniel’s Jewelers aims to create this air of inclusivity and accessibility by hiring people who are already passionate about the brand. More than half of all store associates are former customers who love the brand and its products, and most of all, “speak the culture of who we are,” Sherwood said. “I want the person with a great smile, who lights up the room at a family party and is smiling with not only their face but their body language, so people feel welcome. We want our customers to feel welcome to ask questions, so they understand more about the jewelry they try on.”
Sherwood added that with jewelry’s longer buying cycle, it’s all about creating that “warm and fuzzy” experience. “If you have that feeling with an associate in the store, the next time you have a jewelry need, whether it is to repair something you have or to buy something for your fiancé, you have that trust. People tend to buy a lot of jewelry during their lives, so we want to be there for them no matter what.”