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A jewelry store’s take on ownership mentality and conscious spending



Adornment + Theory

When it comes to selling a luxury product, it’s important to create a relationship with the customer. What is their story? What is their motivation? You have to think about more than just the sale—start by getting to know them. Viviana Langhoff, owner of Adornment + Theory, a boutique jewelry shop in Chicago, created specific value-based pillars for her and her staff to live by. Through these pillars, she has been able to ensure that her business always operates to its fullest potential and that her values are never compromised—whether she is present or not.

Our Yelp reviewer, Shelby F., saw this come to life in her numerous interactions with the business. One of the essential pillars for Viviana is “ownership mentality.” She expects all of her staff to “carry a sense of personal responsibility for the greater vision of the brand and studio.” Viviana wants her employees to be as invested in the shop as she is and act in a way that reflects that. And it works. Shelby’s experience with a sales associate could have easily been (and actually was) mistaken for an interaction with the owner herself. 

An authentic connection between the business and the customer is also incredibly important. Shelby has worked in the retail and restaurant industry since she was 15 and has seen and learned a lot in that time. She said that most importantly, “the difference between a sale and a relationship (with a customer) is a connection.” It’s the connection that compels people to come back, and it can be rare to truly feel that with a business. In Shelby’s words: “Really frankly, giving a crap about the people who are coming in the door and why and what they’re on a mission to look for.” 

And so when Shelby felt that during her shopping experience, she developed an instant and meaningful connection with the brand. Her sales associate not only treated her as more than a sale but was actually excited for why Shelby was there in the first place—to celebrate a milestone with a piece of jewelry. Getting to the motivation behind the purchasing decision can allow for a more deep and meaningful consumer relationship.

Another pillar worth highlighting is “confident beauty.” As Viviana puts it, “We celebrate unique, diverse, independent, confident women.” She takes this very seriously. As a minority in the industry—a Latinx jewelry designer—she’s faced many challenges and hurdles to get where she is, and she gets excited about the opportunity to represent other minority designers. “I brought on many POC artists, and that’s kind of my heartbeat—to continue to bring on as many Black and Brown, indigenous, queer artists, and people with different identities and backgrounds. I think it makes for beautiful work. I have no interest in having a jewelry store where everything looks the same. For some people that works, but that’s just not the world I want to create.”

This has been core to Adornment + Theory from the beginning, but Viviana has noticed an uptick in business as customers have recently become more cognizant of how they’re spending their dollars. The trend of conscious spending has definitely been growing—in fact, searches on Yelp for Black-owned businesses are up 6500% year over year—and we don’t see this trend ending anytime soon.

Business owners who create an ownership mentality among their staff, focus on building meaningful customer relationships, and celebrate diversity will most certainly see a pay off—not only in their financial success but in the long-term customer relationships they create.

Interviews by Emily Washcovickphotos from Adornment and Theory


These lessons come from an episode of Behind the Review, Yelp & Entrepreneur Media’s weekly podcast. Listen below to hear from Viviana and Shelby, or visit the episode page to read more, subscribe to the show, and explore other episodes.

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The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.

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