This ad will close in

Ring Bearers

Some would-be grooms need a little direction in finding the perfect diamond. Here come the guides.

Vital Stats: Skip Robbins, 52, and Steve Robbins, 49, of Robbins Bros.

Company: jeweler; also known as "World's Biggest Engagement Ring Store"

2004 Projected Sales: approximately $80 million

Ring Reinvention: When the brothers saw a multitude of mall jewelry stores crop up, they decided to take their family-owned William Pitt Jewelers out of the malls, change their image and become Robbins Bros., focusing exclusively on engagement rings. Their first free-standing store opened in 1995. "There was no going back," recalls Steve. "We had to convince the bank and vendors. Everyone thought we were crazy."

Building Blocks: Converted bank buildings became Robbins Bros. stores, featuring friendly sales associates, on-site computers with information on choosing diamonds and access to the Robbins Bros. Web site with 3,000 ring combinations, and a "de-stressing" room with soda, coffee and ESPN. Customers can also get an up-close look at their diamonds in offices equipped for gemology.

"We think of ourselves as a company devoted to couples in love, at a key time in their lives."

Radio Heads: Any Southern California radio listener knows Skip and Steve's spots, featuring humorous discussions between the two. "It's lighthearted. We're not hawking a product," says Steve, who plays the silly one against Skip's straight man. "And we're cheap talent."

New Additions: Their new division, World Class Weddings, creates Web sites announcing engagements, complete with the couple's photo; offers a wedding planner guide; and sends out automatic e-mails. Offering these services for free, Steve says, is "'good karma marketing.' Do nice things for people; they appreciate it."

Holding 22 percent of their market, Robbins Bros. is gearing up to expand from seven Southern California stores to 12 or more nationwide by 2008.

Like this article? Get this issue right now on iPad, Nook or Kindle Fire.

This article was originally published in the October 2004 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Ring Bearers.

Loading the player ...

This Is the Most Important Habit for Business Success

Ads by Google

0 Comments. Post Yours.