VV: Are you originally from the Hudson Valley area?
DW: I grew up in the capital district and moved to New Paltz in 2001 to attend the metals program at SUNY New Paltz and never left.
VV: How did you get into metalwork?
DW: I was melting and banging on metal and fiddling with my mom's jewelry when I was a very little kid. I made up my mind when I was ten to be a jeweler; I figured it was a way to make a living while being creative. No one in my family was in the jewelry business, but my parents supported my dream and drove me to all the jewelry stores in town, where I watched the jewelers work.
VV: What were your previous jobs before opening Hudson Valley Goldsmith?
DW: I always knew I wanted to be a jeweler, so I started working as a jewelry apprentice at 16 years old. After receiving my BFA in metals, I went on to make high-end jewelry for Tiffany & Co., then up to Saratoga to run a custom workshop as a high-end jeweler.
VV: When did you decide you wanted to open your own store?
DW: Everyone in my family is self-employed, although none of them are in the jewelry industry. It was never a matter of “if” I'd open my own store, but rather, “when.”
VV: How did you choose your location?
DW: I always knew I wanted to be in New Paltz. The town has a great artistic vibe and a large number of residents and visitors who appreciate higher-end artistic creations.
VV: Which year and month did your store officially open?
DW: December 2013.
VV: How did you prepare for launching this business?
DW: I started the business many years before opening the store. My wife Sara and I traveled, attending juried art shows, selling at trunk shows, out of other jewelry stores, and out of my private studio. By the time we opened the store we had quite a nice loyal customer base.
VV: How do you make it different from other custom jewelers?
DW: We have five goldsmiths and jewelers working in-house, and we have zero sales people.
"When you visit, you’ll be talking with someone who makes the jewelry you’re seeing."
We focus on custom, meaning that we will make you a beautiful piece of jewelry that no one else will ever have, And we make it all in front of you in an open studio.
VV: How do you bring in new customers?
DW: We still attend arts and crafts shows, we advertise, and most of all, we get word-of-mouth referrals from happy customers.
VV: What do you like most about this business?
DW: Being challenged to design something that’s far different than anything I've made before.
VV: Any tough times? Exciting times?
DW: Opening and running a store with a newborn was challenging.
VV: How have your service offerings changed or grown since you opened?
DW: We've expanded from just me and Sara, when we first opened, to having four more jewelers. We also built a state-of-the-art workshop with more advanced equipment than any other jeweler in the greater Hudson Valley.
VV: How do you make sure you grow and change with the times?
DW: We've been able to grow organically, hiring more jewelers and building our inventory as needed. We've never overextended ourselves financially or creatively, which makes for a good experience for our jewelers and our customers.
VV: What have you learned from your colleagues and competitors?
DW: There is immense value in making custom jewelry in-house, which is something no other local jeweler does.
VV: What is your philosophy about business, and how do you apply it to everyday operations?
DW: We make a great product for a great price and provide amazing customer service.
VV: How do you make every day of work enjoyable?
DW: It's easy to have fun. We all get to express ourselves creatively, and it's very rewarding.
VV: Any new plans for Hudson Valley Goldsmith this year?
DW: We just moved to a much larger and more visible location at 71 Main Street in New Paltz. We’re very excited about it.
VV: What do you love most about what you do?
"I love being challenged to design and make the impossible. Watching a customer's reaction, as a sketch becomes a prized family heirloom, still gives me goosebumps."
Hudson Valley Goldsmith
71 Main Street, New Paltz, NY