Next Gen Spotlight: Allie Doppelt of Michael Doppelt Diamond Company

March 21, 2023
  • Private Banking
In our spring Next Gen Spotlight, Caroline Flores sits down with Allie Doppelt of Michael Doppelt Diamond Company to talk about leaving a corporate job to join the family business, and why buying a diamond is more like building a long-term relationship than just purchasing jewelry.

Provide a bit of background about your family business.

My husband's paternal great grandfather started a high-end diamond business that eventually passed on to my father-in-law, Michael Doppelt of Michael Doppelt Diamond Company. Additionally, my husband's maternal grandfather started a diamond dealer company for smaller stones, Low & Sons. When the two of them met, my mother-in-law, Debbie Doppelt, started working for her husband, Michael, and eventually started selling "fashion jewelry" as well as larger items (such as engagement rings, studs, and tennis bracelets) so that the business could cover any and all diamond needs that may arise.

In 2020, you decided to leave your corporate role and join your in-laws in business. Talk about what went into this decision.

I previously worked in fashion and advertising at big agencies. Once COVID-19 started and work became remote, like many others I found myself in a rut. I've always been a creative and handy person, so I started multiple side businesses throughout the pandemic. Through these experiences, I realized I wanted to be more hands on, in person in my job, and in a less corporate environment. I also used to make jewelry in high school, and as a perk of living in New York City, I went to the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) over the summers and was always obsessed with fashion and jewelry. Luckily, the two are closely linked and once I ended up with my husband, Max, going into his family business, Michael Doppelt Diamond Company, seemed like an obvious next step.

How was the transition, and what do you enjoy most about working in a family business?

The transition was seamless. My husband and I have been together for six years and lived with his family for a portion of the pandemic, so we were already very close. To ensure I had the industry expertise and a good knowledge base before selling and designing jewelry, I took the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) online courses. Now, I love working in person with people and helping to design jewelry. It's amazing that as part of a family business I have so many mentors and people I'm able to turn to for advice and opinions, like my sister-in-law Samantha Doppelt Friedman. I like how close-knit we are and involved in every project. I also feel lucky that purchasing jewelry is typically a happy occasion. I love making people happy and seeing them so excited about their purchase -- especially when it comes to something as exciting as getting engaged!

What trends in the industry are you are helping the business navigate?

I help mainly with Instagram and social media more broadly. I post a lot of different content, including timeless pieces like diamond studs, tennis necklaces, and engagement rings, but also more personalized items and fun trends like paper clip link bracelets and stacking rings.

I am passionate about earning early brand loyalty with a younger clientele through social media because those customers have the potential to purchase from us repeatedly over time.

I think my age, and the age of most of my clientele, is one of my greatest advantages. Since I'm only 25 and very outgoing, I know a lot of people and enjoy networking both online and in-person. Whenever I go to brunch, birthday parties, weddings, and so forth. I make sure to wear merchandise that covers a variety of price points and style it well. At these events, I can either sell what I'm wearing or can hand out my business cards. In these situations, customers feel they are buying from a friend and can envision what the jewelry would look like styled.

Our business is built on brand loyalty and repeat business. We negotiate with our vendors and work with our loyal clients very closely to ensure they get the best value on all their jewelry.

When customers do return, I review records of what they’ve purchased from me previously, so I can anticipate what they’d like – for example, the color of gold, their style, whether a new item may pair nicely with a past one. I really enjoy getting to know our customers and building a personal relationship with them from the start.

And since this is the marriage issue of The Fresh Take, are you seeing any interesting trends or changes in engagement rings?

Yellow gold has been incredibly popular in all jewelry over the past few years; in particular, setting engagement rings in yellow gold vs. platinum or white gold. My parents actually got engaged in the 80s with a marquise set in yellow gold: proof that trends always come back! Very thin bands also continue to be popular and allow the center stone to pop. Another trend I’m seeing is east to west facing or tilted stones. Previously, stones were really only set north to south or top to bottom, but we've seen an increasing number of requests for engagement rings that set stones in different positions for a unique look. And lastly, bezel set diamonds which can make the stone appear larger.

What are the top considerations when buying an engagement ring?

When I sit down with a client, I always begin by explaining what makes a stone unique, which depends on the four Cs: carat, cut, clarity, and color. Cut is most important because it determines whether a stone has sparkle or "sings." From there, carat size is the most noticeable and tends to be the top priority for our customers. When deciding what to prioritize in terms of clarity and color, I think it can really depend on the shape of the stone. For example, an oval stone with a lot of brilliance (or sparkle) can typically hide inclusions (small imperfections found within a diamond's structure) well but can be more sensitive to color. However, for an emerald or Asscher cut stone, which are step cut and glass-like, I would recommend prioritizing clarity over color.

Any parting words or advice for our readers?

Diamonds and jewelry can be incredibly personal and very sentimental. Be sure to work with a jeweler you trust that will prioritize you. One benefit of working with a family-run company like ours is that we get to know all our clients and learn about them to anticipate what could work well for them going forward. Additionally, companies like ours tend to be flexible and take care of repairs and resizes quickly for our customers. Also, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is! If a diamond over 1 carat doesn't have a GIA certification, be sure to do your due diligence and to ensure you're getting what you're paying for.

Allie, thank you for your time.

Interview conducted and article written by Caroline Flores.

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