Merchant of the Week: “Desires by Mikolay”
I paid a visit to Tara and Scott Mikolay’s Desires by Mikolay to see if the inside of the store is as gorgeous as the outside—and it is.
Desires by Mikolay
55 King Street
Chappaqua, NY 10514
Tara, tell me about Scott and his exclusive line of jewelry.
Scott is one of the top upcoming American jewelry designers. He truly believes that jewelry is art – a vehicle for creative expression. In 2004, Scott founded Desires by Mikolay in Chappaqua, and his line launched in 2009. Since then, his pieces have been worn by celebrities such as Rob Thomas and wife, Marisol Thomas, Whitney Port and Jessica Lowndes. We received some great national press. His streamlined, luxuriously powerful jewelry is easily worn and displayed.
Besides selling jewelry – for both adults and children—what services do you provide?
We pride ourselves on being full service. In today’s world, a lot of places use those words, but don’t fully embody it. We do. We take customer service to the next level. We are “yes” people and it’s very rare that we cannot do something when it comes to jewelry. We offer jewelry repair, jewelry cleanings, engraving and ear piercing. We just started offering watch repair. So many of our customers have expressed their frustration about having to send their watches back to the manufacturer only to have it take months to get it repaired coupled with very large fees. Desires by Mikolay has one of the best watch repair jewelers who is authorized to work on Rolex, Brietlings, and many more luxury timepieces. We charge about half what the large companies charge and take between 2-3 weeks for repair. Our customers love that we can offer them such great service at an even better price!
Your renovation looks great. You’re obviously committed to our community and care a great deal about your appearance. Do you think the town should adopt certain standards of appearance for our downtown storefronts?
Last year Scott and I were thinking about opening up a second store and made the decision instead to reinvest in Chappaqua, the community that has supported us for the past eight years. We are so inspired when we travel through active yet beautiful shopping districts. When we were in Charleston, we were so moved by the storefronts we decided to design ours in the same spirit.
I absolutely think there should be more signage rules and regulations. Neon should be outlawed, colors should be approved as well as guidelines/standards for storefront maintenance. I think the presence of hand written signs announcing sales is not acceptable and that each business owner should strive to bring charm and elegance to downtown Chappaqua. We have had so many people come into the new store and thank us for what we have done for the town, so it’s obvious that many other people feel this way too.
Your web site is great. I love the way you categorize by designers, price, category and style and showcase a large range of jewelry pieces. How’s the on-line side of your business doing?
Our online store is amazing! We get orders from all over the country. People love it because, as you said, it makes it easy to shop in a streamlined fashion, and we have all price points. The website is an integral part of our business.
Tell me about some of the community and charitable events you’re involved with?
Scott and I believe deeply in philanthropy and that it is our social responsibility to support the community that supports you. One way we combine business with philanthropy is we host a series of Charity Shopping Cocktail Events to benefit local charitable organizations. These events typically raise about $10,000 for the charity and this Spring we are hosting one for the Chappaqua School Foundation on Saturday May 5th from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. We offer 10% to the customer and an additional 10% is donated to the charity of choice. And we know how to throw a good party! There is always great music, food and beverages as well as amazing jewelry! There is so little night time activity in Chappaqua that we feel it is a fun night out of drinks and shopping, combined with a great cause!
Any trends I should be aware of, or should I stick with classic and timeless jewelry pieces?
Yes, we strive to keep the classics in stock always but there is a huge following for trends, especially in fashion jewelry. This Spring expect to see a lot of hot pink and bright orange hued jewelry and accessories. These bright colors really make an outfit pop! Additionally, layered bangles in bright colors are super hot as well as long layered necklaces that you can wear with other pieces. We always are very tapped into what is happening in fashion and like to think we bring a bit of Madison Avenue to downtown Chappaqua.
Have you noticed a change in your customers’ jewelry selection due to the economy?
Not really…Again, I think having all price points keeps the store busy-busy!
I especially love the “Event” tab on your web site, listing gifts for various occasions. Was that designed with men in mind? And speaking of men buying gifts, what’s your Return Policy?
Yes…So often the men feel so lost in the process of picking out jewelry. I totally understand that because—let’s face it—women are hard to shop for and we often change our style and minds on things frequently! The events tab makes subtle suggestions for those who need that extra guidance. At Desires by Mikolay we are dedicated to making each gift a home run…For example, when a gentlemen comes into the store the first thing that we ask is questions about his wife/girlfriend…For example, her favorite clothing store tells me a lot about what sort of jewelry she would like…If it’s Anthropologie I’m going to help him selection something with a Bohemian Chic feel to it, that can be worn daily and it not too flashy…If it’s Theory then I would select something more tailored and classic.
We often hear from men, “You know my wife better than I do”....Yes, we do! We pay attention to their likes and dislikes so that each gift is one that is going to blow her away. Our return policy is 30 days for a store credit with credit card payment, 7 days full refund with cash/check payment. We try to be flexible.
I know you are you willing to stand by the pieces you sell. Tell me about your warranty?
All purchases are warranted for one year from date of purchase as long as the piece is not clearly damaged (i.e., run over by a car). We do stand behind all of our pieces and craftsmanship.
What would you recommend to make our downtown hamlets more vibrant?
We truly need to address the sidewalks. The #1 priority should be making the downtown area more pedestrian-friendly. We have seen improvements such as the bridge, walking trails, Gedney, etc…But there is so much more to be done. We need more pocket parks and rest areas. I would strongly lobby for a Town Happenings Board that is done in an elegant way. Additionally we need standardized and improved signage guidelines as well as lighting guidelines for storefronts.
Any special discounts for NewCastleNOW readers?
Yes, free ground shipping if they Shop Online. Use discount code: freeship2012. And be sure to visit us during our “Spring Cleaning Sale,” our biggest sale of the year, which runs from March 13 through 24.
Visit NCNOW.org’s Local Merchants Section to see other “Merchant of the Week” pieces by Rob Greenstein.