Purveyor of Jewels Keeps Housewares

Jewels and furniture might seem like unlikely mates, but they make sense for Elegant Slumming, Rehoboth Beach, Del. Owner and president Philip Livingston didn’t even consider diversifying into product categories that complement jewelry, such as flowers. “It was very clear in my mind that home accessories were the way to go,” he explains about his Asian home-décor selections. “They just make for a more interesting shopping experience.”

The 10-year-old store started out selling only jewels, including brand names such as La Nouvelle Bague, Mazza, Sequoia, and Marco Bicego. It branched into furniture three years ago because of Living-ston’s passion for interior design. Adding chairs, lamps, and mirrors to the sales floor provides an eye-filling array of products for customers, who love the mix. Floor space is divided equally between jewelry and home décor.

Adding products for the home means Livingston must also answer more questions, but that doesn’t bother him. “If someone is here because they own a vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, then they might walk out with jewelry and a painting,” he says.

Although jewelry accounts for 80 percent of Elegant Slumming’s revenues, not every customer comes in looking for gems. To satisfy the needs of home-décor shoppers, Livingston hunts for products—including items such as imported Italian soaps and silk flowers—at the annual High Point International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, N.C., and the New York International Gift Fair. “If it’s unusual and I haven’t seen it before, then I want it,” he says.

Finally, selling furniture has another bonus for customers: While shopaholics can peruse at leisure, companions who are not so inclined can find a comfortable perch.