A Living Legacy
Tom Douhgtery, owner of Studio 2015 in Woodstock, tells McHenry County Living why Studio 2015 is not your typical jewelry store.
Studio 2015 has a new home here (11701 Catalpa Lane in Woodstock). Why did you decide to move from the Woodstock Square?.
We were located on the Woodstock Square for almost 14 years and opened our current location on December 4, 2007. After evaluating our needs in regard to rapidly increasing sales and increased technology, we realized we had outgrown our downtown store and needed more room to grow. We went from having 33 feet of showroom cases to 186 feet. We are now one of the largest jewelry stores in northern Illinois.
What services do you offer?
We specialize in loose diamonds and custom design, but we also carry a vast selection of items that are ready to wear. Even though we stress that we’re a custom jeweler, which may give people the impression that we have limited selection, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. We carry more loose stones and finished pieces than any chain or independent jeweler in the area. In addition to our retail store, our repair department is available to work on just about anything, at very reasonable prices. We were the first jeweler in the area to utilize laser technology and can design and finish a custom ring in 24 hours. Our capabilities are endless as we discover new technologies. We are constantly looking to utilize technology to create what our clients want and fix things other jewelers won’t attempt.
How do they set you apart from other jewelry stores?
I think few people have the passion for jewelry that we do. It has been a lifelong passion for me. Now, I have two sons, Bret, our head jeweler, and Ches, the manufacturing division leader who oversees approximately 800 unique pieces created weekly for distribution worldwide, in the business, and my daughter-in-law Stacey is our retail sales manager. It truly is a family business, and we believe that when you come to our store, you too will be treated like a family member. There is an old saying, “A customer is a customer once, but a client is a true friend.” That is what guides our business from day to day. In addition to our immediate family, we employ 27 other “family members,” including five master jewelers and seven people who work on 3-D computer-aided design programs to help turn imagination into a one-of-a-kind piece. We specialize in knowing jewelry. We travel extensively worldwide in search of gems and have been to Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Madagascar looking for the unusual and unique.
Who is your typical customer?
We have a broad spectrum of customers, from the individual who wants a watch battery replaced while they wait, to the discerning diamond customer looking to obtain the perfect diamond for his or her significant other. For as much as we love our individual customers, we are experts in custom logo jewelry. We work with Fortune 500 corporations as well as local businesses. We have developed yearly programs for firms and have satisfied organizations for which we have done corporate work year after year. As a matter of fact, we designed Brett Favre’s third MVP ring in association with the Green Bay Packers and have a copy of it currently being shown in our store.
Why do you love this business?
I think it’s the creative process for me, my ability to design and encounter that challenge with an individual. Each and every day, it’s a challenge to rise up and ask, “How do I meet this person’s needs? What are their needs? What do they need to do? How do we work on this together?” I really believe and stress to everyone who works for Studio 2015 that the customer always comes first and there is a commitment to making this a two-way street to make the customer an integral part of the process.
How do you go about consulting on design?
There are three requirements coming into the design process. It’s like buying a sofa: you look at the design, the cost and when you can get it. We will walk you through all the steps of designing. Are you into white gold or yellow gold? Do you like two-tone? Are you symmetrical or asymmetrical? Do you prefer soft, gentle curves or sharp crisp angles? Do you like colored gemstones? Diamonds? What’s your favorite color? Which finger on which hand would you wear a ring? Will this be an everyday piece? What kind of work do you do? What kind of wear and tear will it have to withstand? Do you want a contemporary or antique piece? Sometimes a client will fall in love with the first design, and sometimes it may take five or six tries to get it just right. We never allow a customer to be anything less than 100 percent happy before moving on to the physical making of the ring.
What types of events do you host?
We have Gemstone Discoveries where customers can bring in all their jewelry—sort of like an Antiques Roadshow. Our goal is to educate our customer as to what they have. Many times, we can make a cash offer to buy it if it is something that has either refining value or antiquity value. We have five full cases of consignment and estate pieces that are gently worn and unique. We also host Gemstone Roundtables. Clients are invited to come and meet the finest cutters in the world. They bring their products and clients look at the gems. The gems are passed around the table and clients can call ‘”dibs” on them. If you want the piece you get it, or you pass it along to the person who called “dibs” next. From there, the client works with one of our seven designers to create a unique custom piece.
Tell me about Tommy’s Angels.
Tommy’s Angels is how we give back to the community. We design pieces to be auctioned or raffled off to create awareness of and raise money for local charities. Among the specific charities we support are Gavers Community Cancer Foundation, pediatric brain cancer research, Family Alliance, Bunco for Breast Cancer and The Salvation Army. We truly believe we are a big part of this community and think it is not only in our best interest to give back, but our social responsibility to do so.
For more information about Studio 2015, visit www.studio2015.com, call 815-337-2015 or visit them at 11701 Catalpa Lane in Woodstock.