Today’s wedding vendor interview is with Tim Andre of Emma Parker & Co., based in Seattle, Washington! Enjoy:
Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
We started Emma Parker & Co. to be a completely different kind of jewelry retailer. Our focus was to make the experience as meaningful as the purchase. Having worked in traditional jewelry retail, I knew exactly what the jewelry industry lacked…a fully customer driven experience. Simply put, we wanted to provide our customers with the most amazing, enjoyable, and pressure free buying experience possible, the highest quality of products, and the best customer service (by far), all priced reasonably without big store markups.
The philosophy we operate on is very simple: “At the end of the day, we are consumers too. We have to go out and shop for the things that we need and want everyday, just like our customers. We are looking to get good value, and to be well treated at the stores we shop, and that is the attitude that we show to our customers every single day. We treat every purchase as if WE were the customer. If we sell a great product, but deliver a poor experience, how are we helping our customer? Likewise, if we provide exceptional service and experience, but deliver a poor product, we are not caring for our customers the way we would want to be cared for in their position.”
Read the full interview after the cut!
How did you get into the business?
By accident actually…I was playing a softball game with a friend and during the game he asked me what I knew about diamonds, to which I replied “Nothing!”. That’s where it all started, and I have never looked back.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
Building the small rings! Without a doubt that is my favorite part of the the job. When a customer comes to me with a smaller budget, and wants something beautiful to express their love, I just so enjoy sitting down and working over the options with them and taking on the challenge of stretching every penny to get the absolute best ring possible for my customer.
If you could pick one unique product or service offering, which would be your favorite, and why?
Our live ring design sessions. This is a brand new offering that we just rolled out. It is so amazing to sit on a conference call with shared screens and listen to the customer marvel as the computer model of their ring spins and grows on the screen in front of them. Talking them through changes and modifications and seeing the ring change and take shape to become a finished CAD model in real time.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to others just getting started in your field?
Anything is possible. When a manufacturer or designer tells you it can’t be done don’t give up, work with the designer to find another way to accomplish what the customer wants and make it look beautiful.
What are your hobbies or non-work-related activities?
I love spending time with my family and living life together with them. Becoming a father was the greatest challenge and biggest blessing of my life. I also enjoy sports like baseball, golf, and skiing; and I will never turn down a board game challenge especially if it is Ticket to Ride. My favorite time besides the time with family is spent serving in Christian Youth Ministry for High School Boys at my local church.
Any great stories from working with a client?
We had a customer that came to us for a very unique custom pearl engagement ring. In order to surprise his soon to be fiancee, we met up at Starbucks and pretty much drew the ring up on the back of a Starbucks napkin. Over a few visits and a near-miss with his girlfriend who happened to be at Starbucks at the same time as us, we put together one of the most beautiful and complex rings we have ever built. When the ring was done, the custom hand-made designer was so impressed he adopted the piece into his line permanently.
I think there are three distinct things that make us very different from others in our field:
- Customer centric customer service. Our focus is on the customer from the start. It begins with prompt responses, honest opinions, no pressure, and creating an environment where customers can relax, feel comfortable, and focus on making the right purchase for them without the stress of being pushed, upsold, rushed, or hassled in any way. Our customer service code stems from the point of view that we, as people, often stand in the customer’s position, and this fact should dictate our conduct to give the type of service that we would most want to receive if we were in our customer’s shoes.
- Truth. Every company claims to be truthful, but many often have very different version of what being truthful with their customers entails. The motivation for our truthful standards comes from outside of our business…it comes from our faith. Our belief in God and our commitment to living our lives for Him drives our commitment to truthful dealing with our clients, even when the truth could affect us unfavorably or cause us to lose a sale.
- The experience is as important as the product itself. For us, a great ring or piece of jewelry is only half of what our customer should receive when they work with us. The experience of the journey should be a joyful one. We have serviced many customers over the years. We have also made friends, golfing and fishing buddies, and been invited to weddings along the way.
When I started Emma Parker & Co. I wanted to have something to pattern this experience after. I thought about the places that I had been where I had received the best service. Immediately the trips I had take to Disney World came to mind. With those experiences in mind, I set out to make every customer experience the same kind of service level from Emma Parker & Co…always seeking to go above and beyond, to remedy problems quickly and thoroughly, and to serve my customers with joy, grace, and kindness.
Are there any trends that you absolutely love or would love to see brides leave behind?
I love gemstones! I would love to see the engagement ring market leave the diamond behind as their “only” choice for an engagement ring. Currently at Emma Parker & Co. a large percentage of our customers are turning to alternative center stones for their engagement rings, such as gemstones like the sapphire, emerald, and ruby; or to diamond alternatives like the STUNNING Amora Gem or Forever Brilliant Moissanite. Engagement rings are a symbol of love, the cost or value of that item does not change the love that motivates it.
What tips or advice can you give to couples who are in the midst of planning their big day?
Enjoy yourself! This is your day…don’t forget to slow down and enjoy the ride. It will be more fun if you take a little extra time and really savor each aspect of the experience.
Great, thanks Tim! For more information about Emma Parker & Co., please visit their WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile or head straight to their website.
Do you have any questions or comments for Tim? Add them to the comments below!