How did your business start?
Bijouterie Sirène was opened by Seta’s father-in-law, who went into business in 1958. He and his wife worked there for 25 years. “My husband Chahe and his brother Rafi Tufenkjian took over, but I’m the one who’s mostly present at DUO Centre Laval and the customers know me,” says Seta. Although Bijouterie Sirène was already doing well, Seta and her family have brought it to another level. One thing remains the same: their customers’ trust in the business. “We know all our customers, many of them have been around for probably three generations!” says the passionate entrepreneur.
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Seta was naturally eager to take over the family business, as she grew up in a family of jewellers. “I wasn’t even a year old, and I was in the jewelry shop. I understand how jewelry is made,” says the bubbly entrepreneur. She recounts that as a child, she learned about colours by looking at different semi-precious stones. One could say that she was truly predestined to work in the field! Despite her family background, she considers herself lucky to have started her business under the right circumstances. “We were all lucky because it was pretty much laid out, everything was already there. For us, it was easy,” she recalls.
What makes your brand stand out?
At Bijouterie Sirène, Seta and her team do things differently: they cater to the tastes of their customers and make sure that each customer is treated like family. During the pandemic, they launched a website for the jewelry store to meet customer demand. “We really wanted to be different. We also launched a customer appreciation program: we keep track of important dates and when it’s a customer’s birthday, we send them little gifts, little messages, or discounts,” says the exceptionally dedicated and caring entrepreneur.
What sets Bijouterie Sirène apart is also Seta’s attentiveness and sincerity. “The important thing is that if we have 10 customers coming in each day, all 10 have to be satisfied,” she says. She can spend hours advising a customer, explaining details about the piece they’re interested in, or simply chatting about things, building a bond. Some customers come in with a jewelry project in mind or an heirloom ring they want to remodel. Each time, Seta opens her ears and her heart. “We’re real, we don’t exert pressure and we’re very transparent with our customers. I think that’s what made us go further than what my father-in-law did,” she concludes wisely. Today, the family operates 7 branches.
“You can’t really get bored because every piece of jewelry is different. The stories behind the jewelry, that’s what I’m really passionate about,” admits Seta, who describes jewelry as an “emotional” business. She says some customers bought their wedding rings in their store 30 years ago. Today, they still return, either to remodel the ring in question or to have their grandchildren’s ears pierced. “I like that most of our customers are happy people: they come to us for births, weddings or retirements. They want to highlight milestones in their lives,” adds Seta, a true jewelry fairy. “Jewelry, I think, is the most beautiful field to work in,” she concludes.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to face?
In 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the province, Seta and her family had to rethink their business, like many other entrepreneurs. They invested heavily in developing a transactional website and adapting to the new mentality of customers who want to view products before visiting the store. During the pandemic, the import of products had also been affected. “When production stopped, we thought, ‘OK, we’ll adapt.’ In our workshop, we started to make jewelry made in Quebec. Now, we have a great team, we do everything here,” says Seta, proud of her accomplishments. In fact, all wedding rings are made on-site and are guaranteed for life.
What is your best-kept secret?
Seta has a talent for keeping secrets and being very discreet, which is necessary in her field. “You have to respect people’s personal lives. You have to keep your mouth shut at home, otherwise it can lead to arguments,” she says with a laugh. Sometimes, keeping secrets also means playing along with customers who are offering jewelry as a gift. For example, if she knows a husband is buying a necklace his wife noticed in the store, she sometimes must tell little white lies. “If she comes back and asks me if he bought the necklace, I’ll say ‘no, I put it aside for another customer,’ and then the day she receives the gift, I’ll call and say, ’I’m sorry I lied to you, but it was for a good reason. Did you like your gift?” One thing is certain, Seta’s passion for jewelry is real, and her customers can sense it.