Dino and Angelo Takos just want to make you cry—with happiness
No splashy billboard or glossy magazine ad leads you to Angelo Takos’ shop in Laguna Niguel, Calif. The father-and-son–run Jewelry by Angelo relies solely on word-of-mouth to drive business. And it’s that intimate, family feel that keeps customers coming back, says Dino Takos, Angelo’s son, who joined the business full time in 2005.
Angelo started the business 30 years ago as the next step in a career that began as a 13-year-old jeweler’s apprentice in Greece and continued working for various businesses after he immigrated to Canada and then California. When Dino came on board, his father gave him one rule: that he bring something special to the store. So Dino went to the GIA to get his Graduate Gemologist degree. “I realized I’m actually pretty good at this,” Dino says of jewelry retail. And it’s a good thing he likes working alongside his father. Quips Angelo: “I will never retire.”
Angelo: I thought to become a jeweler was a very prestigious job. I found a job in a jewelry store [in Greece]. I started to make chains by hand. I never thought ever that I would do something else.
Dino: I started just helping out when I was going through college…meeting the customers. It just seemed natural.
Dino: My dad’s been a great mentor, but he’s also given me a lot of space to thrive. It’s very much a team effort for every piece we make.
Angelo: He had to prove to take over. People like him very much. He treats the customers very well. I hope he will continue the business another 30 years.
Angelo: If I was by myself, I wouldn’t keep the store because a lot of things have changed. But by bringing Dino here, we’ve brought a new generation here and new technology. I’m not a computer person. I’m a bench person.
Dino: I brought the business up to speed with technology. My dad ran it in a very old-school way. But we don’t want to lose the old-school factor; that is what customers like. They like that we are father and son. They are looking for noncorporate jargon. No one wants a PowerPoint presentation when they are going to buy an engagement ring.
PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS
Angelo: I know since I was a kid if you are not honest one day the customer is going to find out. We try to be very honest. We don’t allow the customer to leave without being happy.
Dino: My greatest satisfaction is dealing with the happy moments of people’s lives—that moment when they open the box and they are elated.
Angelo: I love when we make a piece and the customer wears it. It’s more satisfying to see someone crying than to get paid. It’s very important to see people in the supermarket that are our customers and we don’t have to hide.