Diamond store makes successful jump to online retailer

Diamond Emporium is now an online retailer of handmade engagement rings, but it didn’t start out that way.

Currently run by Gus Hashem, the store originated as a small jeweler in Lebanon in 1977 run by Hashem’s father, Simon. The family immigrated to Australia in 1988 where Simon continued the business and Gus joined in 2006 with the intention of taking it online. That has proven to be a highly successful endeavour.

“We didn’t have a succession plan, it was just a small business. When I joined I worked on developing the web site and moved the business into the [Sydney] CBD. We rebranded as Diamond Emporium and launched the site in 2010,” says Gus.

Gus also changed the focus of the business to selling diamond engagement rings as opposed to selling handmade chains, which was a dwindling market.

He says Diamond Emporium has experienced double digit growth since 2010 and anticipates further growth in the future. “People think retail is tough but there are great opportunities for businesses willing to make changes. But businesses like ours that are based on technology have to run like a well-oiled machine.”

Diamond Emporium moved away from its traditional bricks and mortar operation to a more online centered offering, in part to keep overhead costs low.

Although the company still has office space in downtown Sydney where it meets clients, the operation is now mostly online.

“Our main focus is now online. We launched with a search marketing campaign and calls started coming in straight away. I think we were one of the first fully functional web sites where you could view and select diamonds and engagement rings,”says Gus. “The key has been providing transparency around pricing. All our prices are available online and discounted from the full retail price.”

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