This isn’t your daddy’s diamond dealer – Dan Moran turned the diamond industry on its head by providing one-of-a-kind experiences, all without borrowing a single penny.
Dan Moran is not only a diamond dealer, gem expert and jewelry designer – he is also a private pilot who owns his own aircraft. This unique combination of skills and assets makes perfect sense for his company, Concierge Diamonds.
Based in Los Angeles, California, Moran will even help some of his clients with their proposals by personally flying them to their loved ones – bejeweled masterpieces in tow. Such one-of-a-kind experiences aren’t offered by any other engagement ring or diamond company, a fact that thrills him.
“I cannot tell you how fun and satisfying it is to help a client achieve one of the biggest moments of their lives,” says Moran. “And yes, I am the one flying the plane!”
Although the complete Concierge Diamond experience certainly isn’t cheap (which explains why many of his clients are well-known actors, athletes and business executives), Moran emphasizes that he takes pains to keep all costs fair.
“I work with every budget there is – I’ve made engagement rings for $1,000 and $1 million,” he says. “I don’t charge for my concierge services. People come to me for the unparalleled value and the expertise I offer them.”
The many facets of a credit card have helped Moran’s business sparkle.
Let’s go back to the beginning of your business. Were there any hardships to overcome to open your doors?
I started Concierge Diamonds as a one-man show at my kitchen table in July of 2012. You may recall that this was during the time when the country was recovering from a deep recession. My friends told me I was a maniac to walk away from a six-figure salary to start a business. Not only did I have to make sure I could take care of my family, but I had to uphold my family’s reputation in the industry as well. We have been in the diamond industry for over 100 years and for me to strike out on my own meant I had to be sure I didn’t let them or my clients down.
In the diamond business, a colossal barrier to entry is acquiring an inventory. I wasn’t caught off guard by it, but it was – and remains – a very challenging aspect to a business that sells precious stones.
What role do credit cards play in your business?I was adamant from day one not to take on debt, which I never have, but I certainly maximized leverage on my credit cards by using my points for travel and other perks. My go-to card is The Platinum Card® from American Express [which offers a 60,000-point welcome bonus after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, 5 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines and prepaid hotels booked with amextravel.com, access to airport lounges around the world and generous credits for baggage fees]. American Express’s commitment to protecting the cardholder also gives me a sense of confidence.
Since the day Concierge Diamonds was founded, I had a hard and fast rule to never take on debt and I have never borrowed one penny. Some financial experts would tell you I’m making a mistake by under-leveraging myself, but I sleep better at night knowing I don’t owe anyone anything.
What are the types of unique expenses that go into running your business?
Not too many people have to buy diamonds for their businesses, so I suppose you’d consider that to be unique! As my geographic reach has grown, I decided to combine my love of aviation with my love of jewelry. My company bought an airplane which I now use to visit clients throughout the Southwest.
What are your future plans for Concierge Diamonds, and why?
We are growing faster than I ever dreamed possible. I think it’s a combination of a superior product — every single one of my rings is custom-made and must pass high-quality control tests — and a deep commitment to customer service. I’m able to keep my prices low because I don’t spend money on advertising. The majority of my business comes from referrals and word of mouth.
Even though I work with clients all over the world, (80 percent of my clients I never meet in person — it’s all done remotely!) we currently have a presence in Los Angeles and recently expanded operations to the San Francisco Bay Area. There are so many people that work in the tech sector that it just made sense to have a full-time presence there. I’ve made rings for employees of virtually every major tech company in Northern California — Facebook, Apple, Uber, Google, Tesla, Salesforce, Yelp … you name it.
As a business owner, what have you learned about borrowing money along the way – any advice to share?
While I have never borrowed money, I leverage inventory [diamonds] that my suppliers own. I’ve learned that a relationship with a trusted supplier who gives you what you need when you need it and at the right price is worth more than that of any one individual client.
Don’t try to maximize the magnitude of your projected success, try to maximize the probability of your projected success. As a new business owner, elephant hunting will lead to starvation.
I also always advise my clients to never go into debt to pay for their rings — that’s a bad way to start off any marriage!