Ferro Estate & Custom Jewelers
What makes your store competitive with other jewelry stores in your area?
Our focus is distinct. We do estate and high-end custom jewelry. We also do restorations of heirloom pieces and repairs. And we don’t really aspire to be like other jewelry stores; we don’t want to carry lines you can get in any major city. We want to promote our own Ferro brand. A lot of stores in our vicinity are crafty or carry lines that everyone has. We go for distinct pieces—no two pieces are really the same. My wife, Stephanie, co-owns the company with me, and my father, Nicholas, owns and runs our other location [in Woodstock, Vt.]. Stephanie worked for 20 years at Sotheby’s, and there are a lot of synergies between what she’s done and estate jewelry. We have a lot of expertise.
What has been your biggest challenge, and how did you resolve it?
As an estate jeweler, we work with various estates around the country. And keeping inventory fresh is important—especially when you’re dealing in a small town in New England. But the way we do it, our products never really get old or stagnant. We can shift our inventory back and forth and have a fresh look all the time while offering our clients in town something new. We rotate to different estates, and we also deal with private families in town who have family pieces. And I think our inventory system is really good—we stay away from antiquated styles of keeping paper records. There’s a lot of detail in the jewelry business, and we keep all our notes and transactions documented [digitally]. Technology has been really important to our business.
What has been your most memorable sale?
Someone had an old gold coin that had been in their family for generations and they were getting engaged. We actually recycled the gold from the coin to make two wedding bands. We walked the couple through the process of how we melted it, cut it, and hand-engraved the rings. Experiences like that—they’re nice. And people don’t forget them.
What one advertisement or promotion elicited the biggest response, and why do you think it worked?
We’re very connected to nonprofit organizations in town. We are a main sponsor at [Stowe’s] Helen Day Art Center’s fund-raising event every year, which is a great event. We have developed a strong brand over the years and we intend to expand it. Moving forward, we’re looking to grow.
What do you like most when you walk into your store?
It’s a high-end store, but there’s no real threshold resistance that you get in other stores. We want to attract customers from all income levels. We want there to be a comfort level, but also be a quality store. We don’t want to be cold or standoffish. Because we do so much custom work, it’s not a one-appointment-and-done situation with most customers. We walk them through the gates of that process. We really invest in that experience.
Ferro Estate & Custom Jewelers owners Bryan and Stephanie Ferro (Photograph by Oliver Parini)