Ross-Simons: Then and NowLifestyle
I remember when the Ross-Simons catalog would come in the mail. I would grab it before anyone else in the family and head up to my room where I’d circle with a ball point pen all the items I would buy when I was an adult. Oh the cocktail rings! if I could have afforded what I loved in the Ross-Simons catalog in the '90s I'd have a mountain of sparkling rings, dozens for every finger.
Well, now I’m an adult and Ross-Simons is still out there selling fab jewelry. They reached out earlier this year and sent me their sterling silver Byzantine link necklace. But it got me thinking about how in this day and age of retailers closing left and right, how Ross-Simons is still thriving.
Sidney Thomas Ross was a second generation immigrant who had a family who found an education paramount but was very poor. Sidney was accepted to Tufts College but couldn't go because he couldn't afford it. He got a job working at a jewelry store during the day and studied to get his law degree at night. This was during The Depression and his law degree ended up not being worth anything so he moved from New Bedford to Providence, Rhode Island where he met a gentleman with the last name of Simons.
In 1952 the first Ross-Simons jewelry store opened in Providence. The vision for Ross-Simons in 1952 is the same it is today: to offer customers good product with good pricing and good service. The reason the company has survived for so long is because they change their methods with the times. In 1981, they launched their catalog, what introduced me and many American homes to the brand. In 1997 when other companies were wary of the Internet, Ross-Simons began their website. They have seven stores including their flagship in Warwick, Rhode Island and in 2013 changed their stores, excluding the flagship store, to be branded as Sidney Thomas (named after the founder and current CEO's father) where customers can shop higher end jewelry. There is also a Sidney Thomas website. I reached out to Ross-Simons and asked them to answer a few questions I had about their company:
AG: I love that Ross-Simons has remained a family business (CEO Darrel S. Ross is the son of co-founder Sidney Thomas Ross). How do you think this benefits the brand and its corporate environment?
RS: Ross-Simons remaining a family business has ensured that we stay true to our roots. Since its inception, Ross-Simons aimed to bring customers great jewelry at fabulous prices and this is still something we pride ourselves on. In regards to our corporate environment, a number of our associates have been with us for 10, 15 and even 20 years. Working here really feels like family.
AG: How has Ross-Simons kept up with the ever-changing retail landscape?
RS: We have embraced e-commerce which has helped us keep up with the ever-changing retail landscape. We want to be where our customers are which is increasingly on mobile, and on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
AG: Who is the Ross-Simons customer?
RS: The Ross-Simons customer is someone who likes to indulge themselves with gorgeous jewelry at fabulous prices, making the purchases not even a “guilty” pleasure.
AG: How does the company find inspiration for new collections?
RS: Inspiration for new collections is drawn from many places. Our buyers travel around the world, including trips to Europe and Asia, to find inspiration. Annually, our merchants attend the jewelry industry’s leading trade event where they see what’s new in the fine jewelry market. We also collaborate with the Italian Trade Agency and The Ministry of Economic Development to bring extraordinary Italian jewelry to our customers.
AG: What's next for Ross-Simons?
RS: We will be scouring the world for new and exciting jewelry trends!
Blogging is so cool because I not only learn about great new brands, but am reminded of the fabulous brands that have lasted through the years thanks to their style and quality. I’m glad Ross-Simons reached out to me and reminded me of my high school memories of them. Ross-Simons didn’t sponsor this post or even ask me to write about them; with so many flash in the pan trendy brands showing up every day on the internet, it’s refreshing to see a legacy brand rocking it and I couldn’t help but share!