Still Glittering 50 Years Later

By Bob Taylor
Wednesday - April 15, 2009
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By Bob Taylor
President & CEO for Maui Divers Jewelry

As a company celebrating its 50th anniversary - the golden anniversary - we sure are in the right business! Gold just happens to be one of the many types of jewelry for which our company, Maui Divers Jewelry, has become known. As Hawaii’s largest jewelry manufacturer and retailer, we offer unique, high-quality handcrafted designs featuring pearls, precious corals, diamonds and other gem-stones. So, how did we get our start?

Maui Divers was founded in 1958 in Lahaina, Maui, as a dive shop filling scuba tanks, selling equipment and providing tours. In 1959, a diving expedition in the deep waters off the Molokai Channel led to the discovery of one of the ocean’s finest treasures, Hawaiian black coral. Intrigued by the beauty of this rare ocean treasure, Maui Divers’ partners established a company to design, manufacture and sell Hawaiian black coral jewelry.

In 1962, the company expanded its operations and relocated to Honolulu. After many years as a jewelry manufacturer and wholesaler, we opened our first retail store in 1982. The rest, you could say, is history! Today, Maui Divers Jewelry owns and operates 58 concept locations - Maui Divers Jewelry, Island Pearls, Pick-A-Pearl and Maui Divers Jewelry Luxury Collection - on the four major Hawaiian Islands, and in California and Guam.

One of the reasons Maui Divers Jewelry has been successful is that the company has been quick to react to changes in the marketplace. For example, when the economy started to weaken and the price of gold accelerated, we responded by promoting a new private label credit card and introducing several new jewelry collections, including Wyland, Mikel, Kim Taylor Reece and Chocolate Tahitian pearls. As a result, our sales were only minimally affected by negative economic factors.

Maui Divers jewelry sales staff (from left) Tessie Yamamura, Melanie Kim, Mari Torigoe, Jessie Zhuang, Sung Higa, Bob Taylor and Nell Redling

In addition, we’ve invested in our employees to ensure we fulfill our mission “to prioritize not only financial profits but a healthy and positive work environment.” In fact, in 1997, the owners and management of Maui Divers Jewelry elected to form an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), which provides all employees a unique opportunity to share in the profits of the company. Employees receive shares of company stock - they do not contribute a penny - and this has raised their awareness and vested interest in the company’s continued success.

As we celebrate our golden anniversary, it provides us with the perfect opportunity to not only look back and celebrate our successes but also to look toward the future. Toward that end, we recently introduced a new concept store -Maui Divers Jewelry Luxury Collection - at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. We’ve also introduced a 50th Anniversary Aloha Heart pendant and have plans to return to our roots with the re-launch of our Hawaiian Black Coral Collection.

Here’s to celebrating the next 50!

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