Reward your team when they deserve it and people will want to keep working for you. It is always important to remember when your employees are happy they do better work and in turn, your business does better. Focus on the positive, everyone makes mistakes, always tell your team what rockstars they are and help them to stay focused on their goals and their growth! As a leader, I think it is important for me to work HARD and to never be a lazy leader. You want your employees to not only know you work hard, but see you work hard. It is important to me to not just grow my business, but to help my employees grow professionally and more importantly personally. Don’t overhire, always give your current employees what they deserve first and the opportunity to take on more for more reward.
I had the pleasure to interview Kaeleigh Testwuide. After formally working for other diamond brokerage firms and jewelers, Kaeleigh began to understand how important it was for clients to get educated on the do’s and don’ts of buying a diamond and designing an engagement ring. She had also acknowledged the need for a private diamond buying experience in Denver, Colorado. In 2015, Kaeleigh re-branded the The Diamond Reserve, making diamond education and the purchasing process accessible and seamless for her clients; and therefore making the engagement ring purchasing process not only enjoyable, but memorable as well. Kaeleigh takes pride in providing each and every client with the most honest and transparent diamond education experience in the market. Kaeleigh personally hand-selects each and every diamond, ensuring that The Diamond Reserve showcases the finest selection of loose GIA-certified diamonds available. Kaeleigh believes each client deserves one-on-one service, no matter how simple the engagement ring design may be and that every engagement ring is timeless, unique, and the perfect fit for the diamond.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
After moving to Denver and being in the restaurant business for nearly 10 years I decided I needed a career change. I got a job at a startup company as an Executive Assistant for the CEO and CFO, and then quickly moved into a marketing role. After about a year, the company went under and I was on the job hunt again. I came across a position on Craigslist to manage a marketing company, The Diamond Reserve. At the time, The Diamond Reserve was just a marketing company that generated leads for people looking for diamonds and fine jewelry… I took the job. About six months in I knew the company had great potential, and I decided I wanted to buy it and rebrand it, creating a diamond buying experience that honored diamond education — and I’ve done just that!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
There has been a lot of interesting things, that is for sure! When I first started in the industry on my own I had no reputation as a diamond buyer, but I needed diamonds. A diamond manufacturer flew me out to New York City to discuss working together and to potentially have me make a diamond buy. I made a diamond buy, but not a big enough one in their eyes or mine to prove anything. From there, he would send me whatever it was that I needed to show my clients; we are talking hundreds of thousands of dollars in diamonds and fine jewelry. It’s so interesting he did this, that he trusted me, and that be believed in me. Wow — I am forever grateful!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I began leading this company I worked alongside someone who constantly told me I could never do things without them, and I believed them. It took me a long time to realize that I could do anything on my own, and that my success is dictated only by me. When I went ahead on my own, I learned how powerful I am, I also learned that although risk can be very scary, there is literally no reward without it.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
What makes The Diamond Reserve stand out is our honesty. We provide each and every client with a transparent diamond education and diamond buying experience. We do not try and sell, we educate and guide. I recently had a gentleman come in looking for a 4 carat round brilliant diamond, he had been to 6 stores in the Denver area, NO ONE had given him any sort of diamond education. All he knew was what he had read online. Once I taught him the in’s and out’s of buying a diamond, he was hooked. I curated him the most stunning selection of diamonds to choose from, and guided him in selecting the diamond that spoke to him and was right for his budget.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes! We are currently in the process of opening our second office. It is located in Downtown Denver at the 16th Street Mall. There are a lot of jewelers in that area, but I think what the market needs is not just a private jeweler, but an educator and a stunning selection of GIA certified diamonds to choose from.
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
Reward your team when they deserve it and people will want to keep working for you. It is always important to remember when your employees are happy they do better work and in turn, your business does better. Focus on the positive, everyone makes mistakes, always tell your team what rockstars they are and help them to stay focused on their goals and their growth!
As a leader, I think it is important for me to work HARD and to never be a lazy leader. You want your employees to not only know you work hard, but see you work hard. It is important to me to not just grow my business, but to help my employees grow professionally and more importantly personally. Don’t overhire, always give your current employees what the deserve first and the opportunity to take on more for more reward.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Early when I got in this diamond business I met a gentleman who manufactures diamonds, he is an entrepreneur himself in New York City. Getting diamonds isn’t easy when you’ve never dealt in diamonds and have no reputation, and it’s even harder when you are as particular as I am about quality. This gentlemen went out on a limb and believed in me, he supported me and helped me sell diamonds from very early on in my career; he trusted me, and even gave me a marketing stipend. He also pushed me and continues to push me on how I buy and sell diamonds. We talk (and argue!) nearly everyday. I owe a lot of my success thus far to him, and I look forward to seeing how our relationship will grow. I think he sees a lot of himself in me, not just a dreamer, but a doer and a straight up hustler.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I think I bring goodness to the world everyday in many ways. The jewelry and diamond business has a reputation of being dishonest, I believe I can change that by doing something very simple — and that is just being honest. Buying a diamond is a big purchase, it typically marks one of life’s most monumental times, consumers deserve to know what they are buying and not be pushed into the sale. I truly believe we are making the experience enjoyable and memorable from start to finish. I always say we are dream makers and I truly believe that.
Since being in the diamond business, I have been able to do much more charitable work, as well. I recently sponsored a charity that supports underprivileged youth, I donated a tennis bracelet and it raised $28,000 at the event! Knowing that I can help change the lives of children and make some sort of change in my community means a lot to me. I like to share my successes and I think supporting the youth is a great way for me to do that.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I want to inspire women to enter the diamond trade business as is currently a predominantly male-dominated business and I believe it is a great market for women. I think I would want to inspire a shift in the women’s rights movement of today. There is so much passion behind women in creating equality and respect in the workplace, but more often than not I just see it happening in a way that seems to be hurting women in leadership. If we want to be treated as leaders in business we need to go out there and do it. We also need to remember that everything we do is seen — especially now with social media. We, as women, need to not just demand respect, but we have to show we have it for ourselves, each other, and the people we are working alongside.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“The best way to predict your future is to create it.”
― Abraham Lincoln
I’ve worked hard my entire life, and the only reason I am where I am today is because I knew what I wanted and I went for it. I made big goals, I made small goals, and I continue to set goals everyday. I don’t dream about the things I want to do, I go out and I do them. I look back to when I was a kid, I always knew I wanted to go west, and when the time came and I didn’t have a ride, I hitched one. That ride took me to where I am today, I knew then where I wanted to go and I went.
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Chad R. Pike