Famed comedian and actor W.C. Fields once said about names: “It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.” After 40 years of being called Studio 2015 Jewelers, Tom Dougherty decided to change the name of his jewelry store to Studio D Jewelers. Tom, co-owner of the Woodstock, IL-based jewelry store, and his staff will have to give the folks in town a little time to grow accustomed to the new name.
Woodstock may be a small town of 25,000 where everyone knows your name, however, forty years of brand equity still requires careful planning and timing. What better time to inform customers of a name change than the peak shopping season of the year.
Tom and the Dougherty family opened his new store under the name of Studio D on November 16. To add more panache to the name change, Tom decided to open the new store in Woodstock Square, a historic section of town known for its shops, restaurants, antique stores and galleries.
Woodstock, IL is well known for many local and regional reasons. The Midwestern town became famous in the early 1990s when many scenes from the well-known romantic comedy Groundhog Day were filmed in Victorian-inspired Woodstock Square.
In the formative years, Tom had a workshop in his garage. In 1990, Tom opened a 1,600-square-foot store in Woodstock Square. It was a good location in town at the time. He later closed that store and opened a 6,000-square-foot store on Catalpa Lane in 2007.
At 25 years of age, Tom was set on retiring in 2015, hence the naming of his store – Studio 2015. “Most businesses incorporate their inception year in the naming or branding of their business,” says Tom. “When I named the store 40 years ago, 2015 was going to be my retirement year.”
Similar to a cool tattoo, it seemed like a good idea at the time. As the 40-year retirement mark started to creep up on Tom, he had second thoughts on calling it quits in 2015. It’s hard to leave a business you’ve dedicated your entire adult life to.
“At Oklahoma State, I convinced one of my professors to waive the prerequisite of the class when I showed a natural ability to design jewelry and the understanding of the materials involved through the study of chemistry and biology,” says Tom. “From there I built a workshop on my property and spent time perfecting my skills.”
Over time, Tom developed a loyal following by designing and fabricating one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry. Tom and his wife April eventually opened the 6,000-square-foot store in Woodstock Square, so it only makes sense that they return to the historic retail area where it all began. As the creator of Dougherty Enterprises, Tom acquired the Thumbies Corporation, a nationally distributed product line of memorial jewelry, a company he worked for and supported for many years.
Tom brought on Wayne Read as president and CEO of Dougherty Enterprises with the goal of cementing the future of the company, including the future of Studio D, as well as the re-branding effort and closing down the Catalpa location to a smaller more streamlined store in Woodstock Square.
In 2006, Catalpa Lane was off the highway frontage area where the lion’s share of the town’s retail locations was to be developed. When the economic downturn came two years later, many retailers chose not to follow through on the projects slated for this part of Woodstock. As the economy slowly recovered, Tom stayed in the Catalpa location waiting for a time to transform his business for the future.
Decades dedicated to a family business gives a person time to reflect on what has been accomplished and what can still be done – unique designs, one-of-a-kind creations and Old World craftsmanship that allowed Tom to bring in customers and foster repeat business. But Tom and Wayne instinctively wanted more for their retail operations.
“We have evolved beyond [Studio] 2015, and as we know, the story did not quite unfold the way we expected,” says Tom. “The word ‘Studio’ has always been a part of our name and it reflects our core values. Studio speaks to custom-made, one-of-a-kind jewelry, and a place where art is created. That is the part of the name and our identity it’s important for us to hold on to. From there, making us Studio D Jewelers was an easy step. The ‘D’ is appropriate to us for many reasons including ‘Dougherty’, ‘Design’ and of course, a colorless diamond.”
Tom and his son Bret, co-owner of the store, opened the new location in time for the Christmas shopping season. It was an opportune time to not only take operations into a new direction but to communicate to existing and potential customers about the future growth opportunities with a new name, and a new mission in a historic part of town.
Retailers of any type would question a re-branding after 40 years. The Dougherty family are confident the business decisions made in 2020 will put them on a solid growth trajectory with few, if any, anticipated ripples in the community they serve. The transition plan is to keep both stores open through the holiday season, then wind down operations at the Catalpa Lane store in January as part of a moving sale.
“We have close relationships in the community here and we are proud to be an active part of it, with personal and professional ties with our clients,” says Wayne. “It was very important to us to make sure that our customers and our community know this is an evolution and they can expect the same level of service and excellence as always. We are leaving both locations open through the month of January so that we will have time to talk to our clients and tell the story of our development and make sure that they know Studio 2015 Jewelers is becoming Studio D Jewelers, but who we are hasn’t changed. Additionally, we draw business from throughout the region as well as nationally.”
As Studio 2015 transitions to Studio D Jewelers, the Woodstock market will continue to rely on the history and foundation of quality and excellence, while providing more intimate and personalized retail experiences in a smaller footprint. Tom and his staff of in-house designers have plans to launch a Studio D line of jewelry as well as feature a select but less extensive range of branded product lines. Custom design work will remain a cornerstone of the business making it a destination store. Being in a bustling historic shopping, dining and cultural area of town will also bring in its share of walk-in traffic.