Wachler Diamonds and Estate Collection has garnered international acclaim as one of Metro Detroit’s elite jewelers. Its success is a testament to a new type of business model – one that combines community heart with global vision.
Nearly 100 years ago, David Wachler left his home and business in Cologne, Germany and boarded a ship to the United States. Like his brother, the jeweler envisioned his own slice of the American dream, setting his sights on the nation’s most promising industrial cityscape – Detroit.
For three generations, his progeny continued the legacy, crafting fine jewelry from offices in Detroit’s Metropolitan building and Renaissance Center, as well as locations in Southfield and Birmingham. Just as he imagined, the Wachler name would become synonymous with the city’s finery.
Then, in 2010, the late Jeff Wachler (known affectionately as Zadie), his son, Gary, and his son, David – his great-grandfather’s namesake – made the decision to venture off on their own, taking up temporary residence in another gemologist’s office as they planned a new future.
It was certainly a transition. “At first, we were working in a six by ten cubicle,” David said.
But thanks to the success of Gary’s estate business — specializing in timeless gems and vintage, one-of-a-kind pieces — the family was able to relocate to a new home base in downtown Birmingham.
The problem was advertising. Amidst the challenges associated with starting any business, there was little allocated to the marketing of Wachler’s new company. That’s when David — a recent high school graduate — formulated a plan that would change the course of his family’s business forever.
In 2011, David Wachler sat aside his cousin and best friend, Jordan, as they explored a new technology that, within years, would change contemporary life as we know it. When Jordan tragically passed away months later, David lost his closest confidánt, but the Instagram page they created together would go on to establish the foundation for his family’s future in the business.
“It all started with the question, ‘How do you advertise without spending money?’” Wachler said. “At the time, Instagram and Facebook weren’t really doing paid stuff. It had just started. So, a little went a long way and natural, organic growth was very possible.
He started posting pictures from the trade shows he attended regularly. Almost instantly, his phone exploded with requests for the products he showcased. David took the cue and ran with it. In a matter of years, Wachler Diamonds and Estate Collection transformed from a workbench in a shared space into an online, global enterprise.
“We’re making rings for everyone now,” Wachler said. “We just sent a ring to Australia. Japan. We send rings to nurses, factory workers… to many, many people in the NFL and MLB. It’s all from Instagram. And it all came from the need to grow without having the money to grow. We built it up from scratch again after 100 years.”
A decade following the page launch, Wachler employs a team dedicated exclusively to fielding inquiries via Instagram DM (direct message). He estimates that each month, his posts garner a whopping 300K to 1M views.
“We utilize satellite offices in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and other cities to meet customers who find us online,” Wachler said. And it all came from a willingness to have fun, be together as a family and have total control over our entity.”
One would expect that a business-centric Instagram would bear the name of that entity. Remarkably, Wachler Diamonds and Estate Collection is managed through David’s personal account – the same account he created in his cousin’s bedroom as a teenager. Those who follow him – nearly 36K as of today – are exposed not only to a shimmering onslaught of rare gems, high-end watches and diamond engagement rings but an intimate view into a life built on far more than aesthetic luxury. For every Rolex, there’s a guide to clean eating. For each pair of diamond studs, there’s a note on mindful meditation and a reminder to actively observe the present. This congruence of materialism and spiritualism is what defines the Wachler brand.
“Is a diamond valuable?” he asked. It’s valuable because you love someone. It’s valuable based on the world market. But is your health 30 million times more important? Absolutely. The most important things are your health, your family, your happiness and your peace.”
“None of the pages people are following promote that. They’re all about stuff. I make a living on stuff. So, I’m saying listen, this is what we’ve done for 100 years. This is my tradition. I’m honored to do it. But this isn’t even a tenth as important as your personal happiness and health.”
Wachler ties this passion for wellbeing into his love for the city. Despite an increasingly international clientele, he takes immense pride in his Metro Detroit roots. Daily Instagram stories rattle with support for neighboring businesses he believes provide quality, life-improving goods and services to the community; businesses like Try It Raw – Birmingham’s organic, cold-pressed juice joint or Urban Wick Candle Bar. Wachler feels that this type of small business reciprocity will lead to a stronger, more self-sufficient community at large.
“There’s a joy in my local customers bringing me business and me putting that back into the community,” he explained. “We’re all neighbors. We can help each other. That, to me, is the culture of Detroit. Detroit is about respect, hustle, empathy, understanding and collaboration.”
For more information on Wachler Diamonds and Estate Collection, follow on Instagram at @dwachler.