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Cool People Doing Cool stuff: Michael Wöbcke of Diamonds of Richmond

I popped along to Diamonds on Richmond for the next instalment of Cool People Doing cool Stuff and spoke to the very talented Michael W.

Fun fact: Mikey and I used to work together way back when, in my very first job ever – a cinema attendant at the local Berkley. He was a cool 21 year old and I was a rosy cheeked 15 year old. Now, a suave business owner he sure has come along way from the skinny, westie kid with a partial mullet!

mike w 1
Michael Wobcke sitting outside Diamonds on Richmond (looking suave)

SP: How long have you been doing Diamonds on Richmond?

M: We started in 2008, we discussed a lot of new business ideas at the time but nothing felt quite right and then after a lot of business planning Diamonds On Richmond was born however it costs quite a lot to open a jewellery store, money we certainly din’t have at that time , so we converted a bedroom in our villa in Grey Lynn and DOR began. Very humble beginnings!

SP: So what got you into diamonds and jewellery? I remember that you became a cameraman.

M: Yes, from my teenage years I worked in the TV industry –

SP: So what made you go ‘Ohh diamonds?!”

M: I’d been talking with Michelle (Michael’s sister Michelle Wobcke whom he co-owns Diamonds on Richmond with)  for a while about starting a new business, we came up with the idea to start designing engagement rings, our idea was to really educate and inform our clients on what they were purchasing, educating clients was very important to us as we felt this was an aspect that was lacking in the industry at the time. Along with education we wanted to create a brand that was unique to other jewellers.

SP: I think you’ve mastered that well. Even with your advertising, it’s slick and minimalist, which isn’t something you tend to see with diamond adverts.

M: Yes. It’s something we are very conscious of. When we first started out we only sold engagement rings, so we spent a lot of time talking to guys – after all they are often the ones doing the shopping for the ring.  Women tend to veer towards the romance side of getting engaged. Where as for men, we don’t tend to speak that language. When we are shopping we want facts. So a lot of our advertising is geared up to be quite light hearted and to speak to guys. The romance side is displayed more on our social media feeds where we can show beautiful pictures of our jewellery, and of course guys aren’t going to follow us on social media because they want to keep it a secret. So we speak to guys more through our other avenues of advertising and girls through social media. We try to keep with the down to earth Kiwi way.

mike w sans pareil robecca leyden SP: So what sets you apart with other NZ jewelers?

Mainly with our advertising and overall feel when you walk into our store, everyone that works at DOR are very down to earth and we are very open and honest with everything we sell, combining that with our strong education, custom design service and our after purchase care we definitely set ourselves apart.

Also, all our diamonds are purchased through The Kimberley Process, which is an international organization that sources all of their diamonds through conflict free mines. In New Zealand that is something we are quite conscious of, we’ve found that Kiwi’s don’t necessarily want the cheapest ring, especially for something as significant as an engagement ring, they want conflict free and custom made not something mass manufactured off the shelf from a big chain store.

mike robecca leyden sans pareil  SP:  Are there any local brands that you have collaborated with or are going to collab with?

We definitely want want to have more local brands in the store in the future. We love Meadowlark, they have such a great style and we think compliment our brand. We like to support local suppliers where we can and most of our jewellery is made in our workshop here in Auckland.

mike robecca leyden sans pareil  SP: Ok so final question: what advice do you have for the young creative wanting to start their own business?

The main thing is if you’re passionate about what you’re working towards and you enjoy doing it, then work hard everyday and just do it. You will come up against a lot of hurdles. You’ll have points when you’ll think is it even worth it? Should I even be doing this? But I’ve found that when you get to that point it’s best to take some time out, sleep on it and if you wake up in the morning and still love the idea, then keep going, it definitely won’t happen over night. Just stick to your guns, stay true to yourself and your morals – especially when dealing with other people. If you’re open, honest and treat everyone with respect then people are likely to do the same back. I believe that what you put out into the world comes back to you… so put your best foot forward no matter what the situation.

Make sure to always support great, local shops like this one! #shoplocal




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