As co-CEO of Royal Jewelers, it’s no surprise that Paula Leed has impeccable taste and a knack for styling people. But it might be a surprise to hear her say that “there’s no right or wrong when it comes to jewelry.”
“It’s personal,” she says, and even though a client might think they love the way a certain expensive piece looks when they try it on in Royal Jewelers’ 5,000-square-foot Andover showroom, if it doesn’t suit their lifestyle and personality, Paula will steer them away from it.
“I believe you should get something that you’re going to get more enjoyment out of,” she says. “I’ve never had somebody tell me I was wrong with whatever they left the store with, even if it was half the price of what they were looking at.”
Royal Jewelers has been a downtown Andover destination for fine jewelry and watches for decades, even gaining national recognition as one of the best jewelry stores in the country.
But 75 years ago, things would have looked very different.
First of all, the store would have been in Lawrence, not Andover. Second, you’d find more than just jewelry and watches there. You’d also find giftware, and within a couple of decades, even appliances, as it evolved into more of a “catalogue” store.
“By the time I came into the business in the mid ’70s, we were selling refrigerators, televisions, luggage, small appliances, giftware, audio, camera equipment, watches, jewelry,” says Steven Leed, co-CEO and Paula’s brother.
Eventually Steven and Paula took the reins of Royal Jewelers from their father, and when the business moved to Andover in the early ’90s, they changed their focus, shifting “toward staying mostly in the luxury space” and homing in on jewelry and watches, Steven says.
Now, as the family business celebrates its 75th anniversary, Royal Jewelers has become synonymous with its exquisite selection, excellent service, and intuitive styling. “We specialize in the client experience and the fact that we have so many different designer jewelry brands and fine Swiss watches all under one roof,” Steven says.
But there is one thing that hasn’t changed throughout the decades: Royal Jewelers’ dedication to making their clients feel valued, special, and satisfied. “We’re giving them nothing that feeds them or clothes them,” says Paula. “But we put a big smile on their face.”
Steven specializes in watches—he’d just returned from the world’s largest watch trade show in Geneva, Switzerland, when he spoke to Northshore—while Paula’s forte is jewelry. The store’s services include custom design, diamond setting, watch repair, and appraisals, among others.
Of course, Paula, Steven, and their colleagues are experts in their fields and crafts. But both Steven and Paula say that what truly sets them apart is the service they provide to their clients, many of whom have been shopping at Royal Jewelers for decades and even across generations. Every employee is dedicated to providing transparent and honest education, knowledge, and value, they say.
“None of our team are on commission,” Steven says. “And that’s very different than other jewelry or watch stores.” That means its employees have no stake in making a sale and won’t try to persuade a client to buy something just because it’s the most expensive piece in the case.
“There is a tremendous amount of trust that our shoppers have in us,” Steven says. Government data shows that only about 12 percent of businesses are older than 26 years old, let alone 75, but to Steven and Paula, their longevity makes sense because they embrace change and always have.
And then, of course, there’s that intangible factor that can’t be bought or taught. “We are in the happiness business,” Steven says.