What do Houston luminaries Earl Campbell, Clyde Drexler, Craig Beggio, and Helene and Dror Zadok have in common? They have all reached the pinnacle of their profession: being honored with Hall of Fame status. Helene and Dror Zadok were recently inducted into the National Jeweler Hall of Fame for their "significant contributions to jewelry retailing."
The announcement highlights a longstanding Houston success story. Helene and Dror, owners of Zadok Jewelers, started the company more than four decades ago, when they were in their 20s and came to Houston from Israel.
Today the store, with its more than 12,000 square feet, has grown to over 10 times its original size, with a staff that started originally numbered one and is now at 45. Zadok Jewelers offers a selection of the world's top Swiss watch brands, a broad assortment of fine jewelry, high-quality loose diamonds, and bridal jewelry.
CultureMap sat down with the Zadoks to learn more about their incredible history and accomplishments.
CultureMap: When you opened the doors to your first store in 1976, what were your ambitions for the business?
Dror Zadok: We wanted to create a full-service jewelry store that was neither elitest nor discount, with a non-pressure atmosphere that served our customers with professional, knowledgeable, and personalized attention. We wanted to bring the finest quality jewelry and watches to Houstonians at a fair price.
CM: What advice do you have for entrepreneurs starting a business today?
DZ: Set goals and don’t divert your attention; don’t lose focus. Do due diligence. Research your industry and your market.
CM: What do you think have been your biggest keys to success?
DZ: We were fortunate to open our business in Houston in 1976, in a city that was flourishing economically and welcoming to new businesses. We are part of the local community, participating in philanthropic and communal activities. Moreover, we have worked diligently to earn the reputation within our industry and with our customers of having integrity. In some ways, our trademark is our reputation.
We are truly family-run, with our three sons, Jonathan, Segev and Gilad, working with us. All of them are Graduate Gemologists and are committed to continuing our tradition. Other stores may have some of the same brands or jewelry designers that we have, but they don’t have our family. We have branded the family and view the store as an extension of our home.
We also get the best payment terms when buying merchandise, because we pay ahead of time. By buying well, we can sell well. We pass these savings onto our customers. We also travel to the International Watch and Jewelry Trade Shows in Switzerland, which gives us first choice and oftentimes exclusivity on the newest styles, as well as receiving priority on delivery of product. All these practices result in gaining leverage with our competition.
CM: You are a family business, with members of the family working together daily. Is it easier or more of a challenge to work with family?
DZ: Both. A few years ago, our son,Jonathan replied to a similar question: "The advantage of working with your family is that you get to see them every day. The disadvantage of working with your family is that you get to see them every day." Seriously, we strive to communicate with each other as much as we can to avoid friction.
CM: What should Houstonians know about Zadok Jewelers?
DZ: We often say, "You're only a stranger once at Zadok Jewelers." Although we've grown in size and staff, we maintain our belief that our goal is to serve all our customers to the best of our ability, and consistently work to retain their trust, friendship, and patronage.