“We have a good little niche in our community because we do a lot of custom design – a lot of one-of-a-kind pieces, then remodeling of existing jewelry that customers have and a lot of repairs,” he added.
According to Schiltz, the market for custom jewelry is a strong one because it offers individuals the chance to get a quality, detailed piece that is tailored to their unique personality, lifestyle and specific taste.
Proof of that market strength continues to come in the form of business growth; Rand Jeweler experienced a 25 percent increase in business two years ago and a 33 percent uptick last year.
“We’ve been on a steady growth pattern every year since we opened and this year we’re ahead of last year, so we’re real happy,” he said.
In addition to custom pieces, jewelry remodeling and repair, the downtown Vancouver jeweler is also filled with beautiful handmade stock items also made on-site, like bridal jewelry, engagement rings, diamond pendants, earrings and diamond bracelets, as well as colored stone jewelry made from emeralds, rubies, tanzanite, tourmaline and sapphires.
“We build 60 percent of our inventory right here in-house, out of stones that we travel (to get) and purchase, then design and put in our case,” said Schiltz. “We try to maintain a high-quality stone, no matter what category of colored stone it’s in.”
Between Schiltz and Don Tran, his other goldsmith, the shop boasts more than four decades of technical and industry experience – Schlitz alone accounts for 33 of those years. Every piece that they craft themselves is done onsite and, although most of the designs are hand-carved, they are able to utilize CAD technology to build designs on the computer, if necessary.
“We prefer to hand carve everything and we also do all of the casting, finishing and repairs in-house. We just feel it’s a better experience,” Schiltz explained. “Our biggest motto is anything that goes out our door is built correctly. Quality is number one around here. ”
Schiltz said that when it comes to marketing, he relies heavily on word of mouth. Simply put, they make a good product and customers tell their friends about it. Schiltz also likes to give back to the community by donating his handmade jewelry to charity raffles, like the Free Clinic of Southwest Washington, Providence Festival of Trees, Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Washington, the Humane Society for Southwest Washington and the US Association for Blind Athletes.
Like most jewelry stores, December is far and away their busiest month of the year. Custom pieces can typically be turned around in three weeks, but once December hits, they stop taking custom orders for Christmas. That said, not everyone needs or wants a custom piece for the holidays, and the shop has a vast array of treasures on hand to purchase and walk out of the store with same day.
In addition to jewelry, Rand Jeweler also sells McMinville-based William Henry’s line of luxury pens and pocket knives, which are made from exotic materials, like desert ironwood, dinosaur bones, fossilized brain coral and hand-forged metals.