Interview with Ferit Tecimer - Founder of Humbertown Jewellers
Ferit Tecimer, the founder of Humbertown Jewellers, has been in the jewellery business for over 40 years, with a family history in the jewellery industry dating back to Turkey, where he was born. After coming to Canada with no connections and no experience in the country, he was able to build Humbertown Jewellers into the premier luxury watch and jewellery store that it is today. As a staple of the Etobicoke community, Humbertown Jewellers' reputation has been solidified as a premier destination for unique and elegant jewellery and a wide selection of luxury watches, with exceptional customer service.
Ferit's daughter, Sandy, interviews her father on the family business and what legacy means to him. Read on to find out more about Ferit Tecimer's story.
S: Why did you start Humbertown Jewellers?
F: I'm an architect by trade and my family was in the jewelry business back in Turkey. When I first came to Canada I was told that if I wanted to practice as an architect, I would have had to go back to school again. It was a very difficult time for me as I already had two small children to support. I decided to begin from scratch in the jewellery industry instead because I already knew the jewellery business and what it would take for me to succeed. I began by selling what I could afford at the time, which was simple 10 karat gold chains and Seiko watches. As time went on, and we gained more clients, I was able to grow the business little by little, and continued to constantly evolve and improve the business. Today, we're considered one of the best jewellers in Canada, and it makes me proud of what the team and I have been able to accomplish.
S: You have been in the jewellery industry for over 40 years. How would you describe the state of the market today compared to what it used to be?
F: The biggest difference I see is that, in the past, people were more trusting. They would come to us with a knowledge of wanted they wanted, and we would guide them in the right direction. Today's customers, and the younger generation in particular, are a bit more skeptical, but they are also more knowledgeable. They want transparency and ask to see papers and documentation. Although I understand that, and appreciate a well-educated client, the bottom line is that they have to trust us to help them find their dream piece. Trust is a very important part of this industry. A jeweller could have all the right papers, but it's just as important that you trust them to have your best interest at heart. Most of the clients we have are because we have built a long-standing relationship based on trust. We've dealt with the grandfather, then the father, and now we're dealing with the grandchildren.
S: If you could list one thing that's been crucial to your success, what would it be?
The most important thing in this business is honesty and giving clients the right advice, even if it's something they don't want to hear. This comes back to trust. I've had young people come into the store and buy something really expensive that's out of their budget. They have a mortgage, a car, and other expenses that will start piling up! I will be the one to push the brakes and help them find something less expensive because I want them to feel comfortable with their purchase. If you want to make a quick dollar, you can push a customer towards something that's not right for them, but they'll never come back. If you want to ensure you always have continuous business you have to put the client, and your relationship, first.
S: Many watch owners pass done watches within their family and it becomes part of their legacy. How is legacy important in your business?
F: The idea of leaving a legacy is very prominent in this industry, as many people pass down their treasured jewellery and luxury watches to future generations. Creating a legacy is very important to me as well. My daughter and my son are indirectly involved in the business, and it's important to me that they are happy with the direction the business is going in. Once a week we have a family meeting to discuss the direction we're going in. We are open about our mistakes, and work together to figure out how we can fix it. We've recently started exploring the digital space, as we need to adapt to the changing times. I don't understand it, but I know it's important to get help in areas I'm unfamiliar with. I think being open to change will help us prepare for the future and continue the legacy of Humbertown Jewellers.