Three Case Studies: Twist, Nahoku, Preston’s Rocks

Twist, Seattle

In the Pacific Northwest, three Twist boutiques have an employee dress code that emphasizes comfort: high heels and neckties are strictly forbidden. The owners of Twist, which sells beautiful, colorful designer objects, including jewelry, enforce the rule: “You can be sent home for being overdressed,” says Paul Schneider, co-owner with his wife, Lauren Eulau. Employees’ attire establishes a comfort level that Twist customers appreciate. Personal styles are neither too casual nor too formal and are definitely “very fashion conscious,” Schneider observes.

Nahoku, Honolulu

Enter any of the Nahoku jewelry stores (15 in Hawaii, 13 on the mainland) and you “feel” Hawaii, says Steve Bookatz, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Honolulu-based operation. All jewelry maintains the Hawaiian theme. Favorites include floral motifs such as plumeria and hibiscus, palm trees, and sea life. Pearls, especially Tahitians, are abundant. “Tahitian pearls are among our best sellers,” says Bookatz. Décor supports the store brand, with interiors featuring Hawaiian scenery and music, and tiki torches flanking the entryway. Nahoku doesn’t have much competition from other jewelers. “We’ve taken what other jewelers consider their fringe and made it our business,” Bookatz says.

Preston’s Rocks, Fishers, Ind.

Preston’s Rocks, a diamonds-only store in Fishers, Ind., targets the millennial generation—the children of baby boomers. These “millennials” appreciate technology, including plasma televisions and Internet cafés, both of which the jeweler features in the store. To foster a laid-back environment, store merchandise is clearly marked, and sales associates don’t work on commission, so no one feels pressured to accost shoppers the moment they enter the store.