Kaeleigh Testwuide’s story about becoming a jeweler is anything but typical. As the owner of Denver-based The Diamond Reserve, Kaeleigh’s tale is as unique as the burgeoning private jeweler business that has expanded to a second office in four short years.
Kaeleigh has an eclectic work history with marketing being one of her top areas of expertise. While working for a marketing company in Denver, The Diamond Reserve, she channeled leads generated for consumers looking for engagement rings and fine diamond jewelry. Most of these leads went to the same retail jeweler. And, part of her duties with the marketing company included working in the jeweler’s place of business where the leads were sent.
“When I started working with this jeweler I found the operations to be a little questionable,” says Kaeleigh. She thought she could provide a better service for the clients by dealing only in higher-end, GIA certified diamonds, so she bought the marketing business in 2015.
The Diamond Reserve name had huge brand equity in the Denver market. (That was most of what Kaeleigh paid for when buying the business.) With her marketing background, tapping into that name recognition was straightforward for Kaeleigh. The real trick was learning about diamonds and rebranding The Diamond Reserve into a full service private jewelry office.
Since graduating from college, many of the professional skills Kaeleigh possesses today that have advanced her budding jewelry career are self-taught, including diamonds. “I think diamonds are easy,” says Kaeleigh. “Once you get to know color grades, clarity, the numbers and formulas that make up a fine diamond, these precious gems aren’t that difficult to understand.”
That said, Kaeleigh admits that her initial foray into diamond buying did have its challenges. Early on, however, she found a reliable and trustworthy diamond manufacturer that not only supplied her goods, but eventually provided diamonds on memo and then helped expand her diamond inventory.
In addition to having a good head for digital marketing (chiefly social media), Kaeleigh has the enviable mental dexterity of being both a creative and technical thinker. The numbers and measurements that make for a fine diamond are also applied to her exacting standards of creating a custom piece of jewelry around a single precious gemstone.
Other characteristics that have helped Kaeleigh advance quickly as a private jeweler is high quality standards. She deals exclusively in fine to top-end GIA-certified diamonds. And, she works with one of the leading bench jewelers in Denver, who is by most measures one of the best diamond setters in the area. Meeting this craftsman has been fortuitous for Kaeleigh as he has been a great educator in rounding out her knowledge of jewelry and taking one-of-a-kind designs from concept to creation. Quickly grasping and truly getting the vision of what the customer wants in a custom design is easily and readily created. “We usually nail the renderings it one or two tries,” says Kaeleigh.
Being a good listener is paramount. Kaeleigh can quickly size up the qualities a custom client wants in their jewelry by looking at their social media activity. Be it a customer’s Instagram account, or posting to Facebook, Kaeleigh makes short work of visually distilling down to common qualities in a single custom design.
Kaeleigh then transcribes the custom piece to her jeweler, the customer signs off on the design, and the custom creation is a hit. And, her customers aren’t shy about voicing their appreciation for fulfilling their custom creation vision. In four years Kaeleigh has garnered 170 Google reviews with an overall 4.9-star rating. “Every one of those Google reviews is hard earned,” says Kaeleigh.
Being a young maven of digital marketing, Kaeleigh knows the value of maintaining and increasing the brand equity associated with her company name. The Google reviews help with her SEO (Search Engine Optimization) search-result rankings. She also pens blogs to her website. New content to a website is another SEO basic she leverages. And, Kaeleigh also applies solid social media practices.
Good product shots and videos have also helped Kaeleigh develop a good following on her personal and company social media platforms. The key is quality and consistency.
“The key to social media is not just good product shots, but images that have consistent quality and qualities to them,” says Kaeleigh. “I have a few backgrounds, colors and platforms that I use. That’s it. Too often retail jewelers sacrifice quality product shots for spontaneity - like putting a bunch of rings on a sales associate’s hand, taking an image and posting it to their social media page. This doesn’t always make your jewelry look its best. ”
Skill and determination have played a role in Kaeleigh’s success, but she knows luck and timing have helped. Married to a professional hockey player, Kaeleigh’s husband recommended his wife’s custom jewelry making services to several teammates. Word-of-mouth referrals from hockey players were a huge help early on.
Never one to shy away from a challenge, in 2015 Kaeleigh purposely opened her first office in the Cherry Creek area of Denver, a busy, upscale shopping area saturated with retail jewelers. This year she did it again, by opening a second location on 16th Street, located in the heart of downtown Denver.
“Denver is one of the fastest growing big cities in the nation,” says Kaeleigh. “With all the young professionals coming into this city there’s definitely room for an enterprising private jeweler. Plus, young professionals like discovering new places and people to do business with. We’re like a best kept secret in Denver.”
Given Kaeleigh’s rapid ascension, it’s safe to say that the secret is out.