The youngest generation of any family-owned jewelry store is bound to push for change in the business. But Tobey Ritchie, whose grandfather founded Harry Ritchie’s Jewelers in Eugene, Ore., in 1956 (now 17 locations strong), had a vision for jewelry retail that was so out-of-the-box, she had to invent a new retail concept to bring it to life. Ritchie recently opened H Boutique, a fashion-focused jewelry shop that’s tucked inside the Inn at the 5th, an equally new hotel in hip Eugene. Her goal: “To have fine jewelry come together with art and fashion in an environment where pampering and unique services are all happening at the same time,” she says. Aside from stocking jewelry from Tacori, Alex Woo, and Scott Kay, the concierge-driven outpost offers jewelry styling services, a new spin on jewelry cleaning (more on that below), makeup touch-ups, hand massages, and a revolving lineup of events featuring DJs du jour, step-and-repeat backdrops for photo ops, and deluxe gift bags. Call the spa-store hybrid Hollywood-inspired—or even highly feminized. Just don’t call it traditional.
What inspired the H Boutique concept?
It was really inspired by my grandfather, Harry Ritchie, who was always about amazing customer service—going above and beyond. The boutique is about discovering your own unique personal style. We really wanted to bring new designers, new trends, and the concept of jewelry styling to this city. H is the place where you get pampered. When someone walks in, it’s not just about jewelry. It’s about everything. We created a concept deck for the store that was inspired by so many stores around the world—a lot of fine apparel boutiques and some jewelers, including Greenwich Jewelers, because of the way they merchandise their store. I’ve learned a lot from other companies.
The store is billed as having spa-like services for jewelry—what would those be?
We have a bar in the store we call the Sparkle Bar, and customers are offered a Sparkle Bar service—basically ultrasonic cleaning and polishing. While you’re at the Sparkle Bar, you’re offered macaroons, maybe a fruit plate, espresso drinks to order. It’s all about complementary experiences. Your cleaned piece of jewelry is delivered to you in a signature H pouch with recommendations on anything that could be done to fix or [improve] the piece.
How do the store’s sales presentations differ from those of traditional jewelers?
Instead of a leather foldout counter tray, we have signature try-on trays that are really works of art. We had them made; they’re acrylic with tortoiseshell handles—almost like something you would serve a drink on. A stylist helps you fill up your tray with things you want to try on.
How do you marry makeup application with jewelry shopping?
We created a little area for the Belle Bar, which is a sit-down vanity we had custom-made with a large wall mirror. You can make an appointment to have your makeup done with our makeup artist, or get a refresh on your eyes or lips—or a hand massage with our aesthetician. There’s a tray with makeup and three to four collections of jewelry for you to try on and play with. We’re looking to have smaller suites of collections that change out frequently so the inventory doesn’t get stale. We always want to get the freshest things. [Watch brand] Michele flips over its entire inventory every time we get a new shipment. The whole concept of H is to be fresh, modern, hip, bold, but also accessible.
What does the store look like?
It’s modern and clean, with a gold, white, and teakwood color palette. It’s warm and inviting, yet it definitely brings New York, Las Vegas, and San Francisco into the mix. We commissioned an artist in Prague to create these great watercolor illustrations of women that incorporate some of our jewelry collections, so we have these large canvases on the walls. We want to bridge the gap between style, art, beauty, and jewelry.