This Week sits down with Dockside Jewelers’ Steven Davidian
This Week had a chance to chat with Steven Davidian at Dockside Jewelers, founder and owner of the 32 year old business. Since his youth, Steve has been working with his hands, carving scrimshaw and selling it out of pocket to pay his way through college. Now, his Davidian has a workshop of slightly higher esteem: a large, harborside storefront within the Dockside mall. We sat down with Steve to hear the insider details about his store, the jewelry trade, and the Davidian way of looking at the world.
TW: Can you tell me a little bit about the jewelry business?
Davidian: It’s not as fun as it used to be because of the [increased] price of silver and gold, but I still love it. I like what I’m doing. It has changed a lot in the last five to ten years.
TW: Prices have gone up with silver and gold?
Davidian: Yes, from 400 to 500 percent.
TW: Do you make any of the jewelry that is sold here?
Davidian: I make the island [themed] jewelry, [and] I set some of the gold and the gemstones. Some of the stuff I pick is the island jewelry, and I do the repairs.
TW: It must take a long time to make the jewelry.
Davidian: It depends on what I’m making. Different things take different times to make. Some things are more labor intensive. Some things I make by creating a mold of it and sending it to my caster, and he makes them, and I’ll just do the original mold.
TW: What are the most popular items sold here?
Davidian: This year it would have be the illusion necklaces. I have been selling them for many, many years. The M&M one was popular last year.
TW: M&M, that sounds interesting. Can you tell me more about that one?
Davidian: I made a mold of an M&M and engraved the Vineyard on the front, then the M&M on the back. It was our best selling piece last year.
TW: What do you like most about your job? And do you have any bad days?
Davidian: The jewelry business, in general, has become very hard because our raw materials have gone up. Every time I give someone a gold price, I feel like I have to apologize to them, [but] it’s nothing that I can control, nobody is buying gold anymore. I do it the way I like it and as long as I can pay my bills, I will be doing it. And if I can’t, I won’t.
TW: A lot of people must keep on coming back.
Davidian: Yes, I have a lot of returning customers. A lot of people I see year after year and, it doesn’t matter how sarcastic I am.
TW: Having your business at this location must be nice, right?
Davidian: Yes, it is great and for a little mall, you meet lots of people that you can talk to. When it is slow, you always have someone to talk to. If I had my own free standing store and if a customer didn’t come in, I would be sitting there alone and nobody to be sarcastic with. What fun is that? If I left, I would have to lock up and this [location] has its benefits.
TW: You must receive a lot of compliments for your work right?
Davidian: Yes, like ones that say, “I love your store, I come here every year!” It makes me feel good. The people that just left said that they come to my store when they first get here [on the island].
TW: Being here at the same place for 32 years, a lot of businesses around you must have changed.
Davidian: Yes, the woman next door is still here, the Coop [Coop De Ville] started here the same year that I did, but it had different owners then.
TW: You must work here every day, since you are the founder. Do you have anyone working here besides yourself?
Davidian: Yes, I have the United Nations working here. I have seven girls, each working two shifts each. Today[Monday, July 18th] I usually have someone here from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and someone here from 2 p.m. to closing, or from 3 p.m. to closing, but today it is just me. It is a juggling act, but I do have help. I am here seven days a week. If I can go home for dinner, then I am happy.
TW: What makes your business different from other jewelry stores on the island?
Davidian: I leave my prices where people can see them and I don’t try to sell them anything. I let them pick what they like and buy what they want.
TW: This must be a dream come true, aren’t you living out your boyhood dream?
Davidian: Yes, most of my friends hate their jobs and get two weeks off a year. I love my job and get four months off out of the year.
TW: Any tips for anyone who would like to start their own business?
Davidian: Because they’ll be putting in 80 hours a week or so, make sure that it is something that they love.