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March 14, 2018
Lisa Kaplan – The Women of West Chester
Lisa Kaplan – Owner of Kaplans Fine Jewelry
Years in business: Forty
The family business is jewelry — even the original storefront, started by her mother-in-law Ethel in 1977 — carries on. Lisa Kaplan and her husband Ivan bought the West Chester jewelry institution in 1984. “It was the greatest risk I’ve taken, buying the business and assuming the debt,” says Lisa. “We had a good deal of jewelry knowledge, but not a lot of business experience.”
From the beginning, Kaplans has specialized in hand-made, custom design jewelry, engagement rings, and wedding bands. Ivan is a master goldsmith, and the store also offers on-site jewelry and watch repair. Lisa and Ivan’s son, Evan, is carrying the family business into the next generation. Mixing family with business isn’t easy, though. It takes focus.
“It’s always challenging balancing how much time to give to work, to a strong marriage, to our son,” Lisa says. “Making time for our parents, especially when our busiest seasons are usually around family holidays, takes some juggling.”
"It's always challenging balancing how much time to give to work, to a strong marriage, to our son."
Family is a vital component of Lisa’s business in other ways, too. “We create amazing memories for our clients, and these memories and jewelry get passed down to future generations,” Lisa says. “It’s very cool to think that in 30 years one of our diamond rings may become a new engagement ring for a baby being born today!”
Lisa believes it’s important for female business owners to follow their passion and keep a moral compass. “Being able to lay your head down at night and know you did the right thing is the basis to everything in life,” she says.
When asked what advice she’d giver her younger self, she’s firm. “I would tell her to do everything the way I’ve done it,” she says. “I’ve had an incredibly fulfilling life!”