Diamonds Direct has been a part of the Charlotte community for 23 years. They are best known for having a vast array of beautiful jewelry, exceptional customer service, high quality pieces, and unmatched guarantees and warranties. But what you might not know is how interesting Diamonds Direct’s Co-Owner and Market President, Dovy Klarberg is. He has not only grown the business and helped shape it into one of the country’s best known jewelry retailers—but he’s equally committed to being a good corporate citizen. This starts with using conflict free diamonds. But is also includes creating an environment where everyone is welcome, going above and beyond to satisfy every customer, and giving back to others in our community.
You grew up in Israel. Can you tell us a little about that experience?
I grew up like every normal kid. My parents would say I was very independent from a very young age. I joined the military at 18, and served for five and half years. Normally, it’s for three, but I became an officer. An officer and a gentleman you could say. I served in an elite unit. Then I met my beautiful, lovely wife—and I realized that if I really want to build a life and also see my kids grow up, I need to change course. So I went into the software industry.
What position did you hold in the software agency?
I started as a software engineer and wound up doing all the possible steps. Seven years after joining the company, I was running it.
How did your career change come about?
The founder of Diamonds Direct, my current business partner, and I knew each other for many years. They are originally from Israel too. Over the years, we had many conversations, where they encouraged me to join Diamonds Direct. I became intrigued by the challenge of learning a new area of expertise, in a field I knew nothing about. I’m a very curious person, and I love learning and new challenges.
So you were ready to take on the challenge?
Yes. If I decide to dedicate myself to something, it’s important for me to become the best. I knew I brought added value because I’ve always been a big believer in loyalty, integrity, and professionalism. I was ready to bring those qualities to a new industry, but I knew there would be a lot to learn.
You joined Diamond Direct in 2007—and started learning all you could. What was that like?
Well, of course I had to learn the gemological side of diamonds. Back then, we did a lot of manufacturing, everything from mining to analyzing the “rough,” to determining what shape to cut, and what would bring the best return on investment. Then there was the wholesale side of the business, how people were trading diamonds among other wholesalers. It was after I learned enough and it aligned with our plan of growth that I physically moved to Charlotte. That was in 2008.
What was the adjustment like of moving to a new country, a new city, new culture?
Back then, it was me, my wife, and our one son, Bari. He’s now 16, and we have another son, Ariel, 10, and a daughter, Haylee, 5. It was hardest on my son, because at almost five, he was already like a little man. It was hard to move to a new country where he had no friends or family, nobody to communicate with. For my wife, the distance from family and friends was hard. For me, it was a new journey.
What about the professional adjustment?
I had to learn the entire retail side of the business. That was a pure mystery for me. I can tell you, in retrospect, that I learned a lot about the retail side from some of the same people still working here. The retail side clicked immediately for me, and I believe that if you have a mission, you need to lead the ship in the right direction. I knew the plan was to grow the company. Diamonds Direct has been in Charlotte since 1995. This was our first location, and is our flagship store. Now we have 17 stores total (across the country).
What makes Diamonds Direct different?
The people. At the end of the day, they are family. One of our core values is that we strive to develop a long-term relationship with every customer. It’s not about just making the sale. Nobody knows how long the relationship will be. We have some customers from the very beginning of Diamonds direct.
And your staff is an integral part of the Diamonds Direct difference as well.
Our staff are experts in their field. It’s like every customer gets their own secret consultant. In so many jewelry store environments, it’s just another person who walks in. But I look at as a blessing to have the opportunity to be part of someone’s special moment. It’s up to us to exceed their level of expectation, from A to Z. We believe in the “experience.” That’s a sexy word that’s used all the time now, but it’s something we’ve always believed in delivering to the customer.
That seems to start from the moment someone steps in the store.
Absolutely. When people come in, I want them to feel as welcome as if they were walking into my house. We make no assumption about anyone. Just because we are in Southpark doesn’t mean anything. Nobody needs to dress up to come here. You are welcome in flip-flops and shorts. I’m a customer too, and I don’t want to be judged on what I’m wearing. I treat people the way I want to be treated. I grew up in a family that instilled this. When customers feel welcome, respected, and valued, they feel like they can trust the salesperson working with them. I don’t believe people buy just because of best price. It’s an important factor, but not the only one.
So people can expect to be treated the same, regardless of their budget?
Whether someone is spending $3,000 or $30,000, I want those two customers to feel exactly the same. They will be given the same level of respect. I want each person to feel like they are the only customer. I respect people’s budgets. If a man has a $500 budget to spend on an engagement ring, that’s extremely important to him because he is giving it to the woman he loves. There’s no pressure to go beyond your budget, and I tell people they don’t need to go outside of their financial comfort zone.
I’m old fashioned, and I believe people should get married in the name of love. Not based on the cost of the engagement ring.
I’ll give my honest opinion, even if a piece of jewelry is less expensive, because it may hold more value for the money.
Tell us about the Diamonds Direct Foundation?
The Diamonds Direct Foundation was started with the goal of helping women and children in need in the communities that we call home. Since its creation, we’ve grown our areas of focus to assist people affected by natural disasters, animal causes, veterans, first responders and really, any cause that will do good for the people in our cities and beyond. Last year, we participated in dozens charity events in Charlotte alone. While some were held in high schools and others were fancy galas, we always love to see the joy and impact these amazing organizations bring to the area. Our participation is much more than writing a check, actually, that’s the easiest part. It’s about more than that. We care about our communities and the people that make these places so special. It’s only natural that we feel a calling to get involved. It’s our biggest blessing to be able to help and support the same community that has always supported us.
Speaking of first responder and veterans, Diamonds Direct honors them in another way as well. Can you tell us about that?
We have special pricing for all first responders and military members all year long. It’s always available for them. It’s the least we can do for those who protect us.
It sounds like core values are integral to the success of Diamond Direct.
I believe that staying loyal to your values leads to success. I don’t believe in chasing after numbers. It wouldn’t matter if another, bigger jewelry store opened right next to us. I know we’re different. We are addicted to constant improvement in every aspect of the business, and that leads to the fruits of your labor. We build relationships with our customers, they become repeat customers—and our best ambassadors.
You plant the seed and give it enough light and love and water. The seed grows into a tree and that tree has branches. Those branches have flowers which have more seeds... suddenly you have a forest.
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