Rapaport Magazine

Years in the Making: NY Jeweler Charles Krypell

By Joyce Kauf

Never one to rest on his laurels, the designer and manufacturer launched his own storefront after more than four decades in the business.

Charles Krypell has hit a jeweler’s trifecta: designer, manufacturer, and retail store owner. While some of his contemporaries might consider slowing down, he has amped up activity by opening his own shop in Greenvale, New York.

The impetus for launching the Charles Krypell Fine Jewelry store was simple: “My father is passionate about this business,” says Evan Krypell, who is director of retail development. “Even more than designing, he loves dealing with the end customer. He gets so much satisfaction seeing the reaction to his products.” Evan cites his father’s “prolific” history of doing as many as 70 in-store events a year at retailers nationwide that carry the brand.

“I want to discover that person’s identity and personality,” says Charles, who started the business in 1976. “When a woman comes into the store, I don’t ask, ‘What do you want?’ My goal is to discover what is in her heart and mind.”

Links in the chain

The one-on-one interaction fuels Charles’s creativity. He does not design for the woman who looks at jewelry as a status symbol.

“My dream as a designer is to make a magnificent product that is generational. The piece becomes part of the woman’s DNA because she understands the symbolism and sentiment it represents,” he says. In an example of this scenario, he describes a woman who recalls her young daughter playing with her bracelet. Years later, the mother gives that same bracelet to her now grown-up daughter, who has just graduated from law school, and the mother gets another piece of jewelry to create more memories. In the process, mother and daughter become collectors — his favorite word to use for the women who buy his designs.

Being on the selling floor also offers a window into how retailers operate. Evan recalls his father’s admonition that the best way to learn the business was to see how their jewelry was sold around the country. “During my first three years in the company, I would report to JFK or LaGuardia [airports] every Monday morning to board a plane and spend a week at a different jewelry store,” he shares. This firsthand experience proved invaluable when Evan took charge of building their first retail establishment.

Located on Long Island’s affluent Gold Coast, the store opened in December 2020, during the pandemic. However, plans to launch a shop had been in the works for more than 10 years, and during that time, the scope had evolved into a much larger undertaking.

“Originally, we intended to open a 2,500-square-foot stand-alone store in our community, about 20 minutes from our home,” relates Evan. “But we kept buying more and more property and eventually built a shopping mall, which the store now anchors.” When the pandemic hit, the project was already “going full steam ahead. We had gone too far to turn back” — and stopping was “never an option,” he says.

“We wanted to create an environment where people were immediately comfortable,” Evan continues, describing the “residential feel” throughout the 5,000 square feet of selling space. Incorporating natural stone and American walnut, the store exudes the ambience of a contemporary mountain home in the west. An 8-foot-wide fireplace and soaring 30-foot-high ceilings enhance the store’s striking appeal.

Using their talents

“Moving from a designer manufacturer to selling directly has given us more creative license” than being one among many brands at other jewelry stores, says the younger Krypell. Having their own store also lets them apply their almost 50 years of industry experience to driving in-store sales. The store has no e-commerce component.

Charles, who studied sculpture at Pratt Institute of Art in Brooklyn, brings a three-dimensional approach to his designs, from his sterling-silver jewelry to the more upscale Krypell Collection. “Scale is a very important word in my father’s designs,” says Evan, adding that “form has to follow function.”

While 50% of the store’s wares are Charles Krypell designs, the other half includes “those select few brands who do a fabulous job of providing value and quality in areas we feel there is a gap in our own offerings,” explains Evan. Selecting companies that are not their direct competitors is at the top of their criteria. For instance, he points out, Charles Krypell is not known as a classic diamond-jewelry company, but it has done “very well” by partnering with brands like Memoire by Hearts On Fire.

Product and price diversity

Merchandise ranges from $250 to six figures or more for the company’s exclusive fancy-colored diamond collection, which includes rings with Argyle pink melee as accent stones.

“Offering an extensive range of products gives the customers many options. It’s a formula that has worked,” Evan asserts, describing his father as so “obsessed” with having inventory that he would want an item in “every color gemstone and every metal.”

Beyond that, “you need to provide an experience at every single level of jewelry buying,” says Evan. “That entails constantly providing value to the consumer — not just in the financial sense. So many people come into the store knowing what they want, but our staff — whom we consider advisers — introduces them to other styles. It’s an opportunity to expand their thinking and taste level. We try to make every purchase a little more special.”

Image: Charles Krypell

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - August 2022. To subscribe click here.

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