A Real Gem In Ward Warehouse

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - November 29, 2006
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Valerie Moore will dazzle you at Jungle Gems
Valerie Moore will dazzle you at Jungle Gems

Valerie Moore of Jungle Gems finds customers who buy her dazzling emeralds and sparkling rubies ... inspiring.

“It’s great to see so many wonderful men getting things for their loved ones whether it is for their wife, mother or sister,” says Moore. “They take the time to think about the gift and how are they going to present it. It’s inspiring.”

Topaz, quartz and amethyst are among the precious and semi-precious stones designed in sterling silver and 14K gold by her staff of three in the 980-square-foot boutique.

“We can do one-of-a-kind custom jewelry,” adds Moore, who opened the Ward Warehouse store in 2002.

Most of Jungle Gems’ jewelry is designed by her brother-inlaw Brent Lindberg. He and Moore’s sister Kim own the 20-year-old Jungle Gems store in Haleiwa.

Additional items in the Ward emporium include jewelry on consignment and wooden bowls.

Before becoming a store owner, Moore’s career had been in communications with the KHON news room, and as a public relations executive for both Aloha United Way and Stryker Weiner & Yokota.

She spreads the word about Jungle Gems to customers by sending out postcards to let them know about sales ahead of time, and to offer gift ideas for upcoming holidays.

“You can’t just open a store and expect they will come,” Moore says. “We are continuing to grow our customer base. Ideally, having a budget for advertising that is consistent is the way to go. But you first need to pay the store’s rent, then your employees, your merchandise - and yourself is always last.”

One challenge Moore has faced - and says other entrepreneurs also face - is finding good dedicated employees, especially in a retail environment.

“You want to keep them by encouraging them,” says Moore. “Our employees can make jewelry if they want to, and that can be a good incentive.”

What are the most popular items at the shop?

“Sometimes the birthstone is popular,” Moore says. “Often jewelry will follow fashion when it comes to color. Right now, turquoise is popular. We have people in Hawaiian healing and holistic health and they like the energy of stones. People use everything for a variety of reasons.”

And to help customers find that perfect gift, the Ward store offers a free personal shopper service during the holiday season.

Jungle Gems is located at Ward Warehouse on the makai side on the ground level. The hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. For the holidays, the store hours are extended. For more information, call 593-7811.

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