Let’s meet Joe “Joe the Jeweler” Hakimian of Hakimian Imports. Born and raised in Northbrook and a proud Badger, Joe is a Persian Jew keeping his family’s business alive.
Where are you from?
My name is Joe Hakimian or “Joe the Jeweler” and I’m a jeweler at Hakimian Imports, our family jewelry shop downtown! I grew up in Northbrook and went to Solomon Schechter for elementary school and then Glenbrook North for high school, and then went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for college.
When did you start your business?
My dad was born in Iran and moved here when he was 18 and came here with nothing. In 1979, after a few years of side jobs and some kicks in the butt by my mom, his cousin gave him a small box of jewelry to try to sell and from there he built what is Hakimian Imports! Since I was young I knew I wanted to join my dad in the business. In high school and college, I would come in the summers to help and then after college, I went to Israel for 6 months on an amazing program called Career Israel where they placed me in an internship with one of the largest manufacturers of diamonds in the world. I was sorting diamonds in a small room with 10 other Israelis. It was epic! After Israel in 2010, I joined the business full time and have been here ever since.
What did you do Jewish growing up?
Judaism has always been such a major part of my life. Growing up I went to Solomon Schechter Day School for elementary and middle school, went to Camp Chi for 11 years as a camper and counselor, visited Israel almost yearly with my family, and I grew up in a conservative and extremely zionist household. The best part of my childhood was the wild Persian Shabbat dinners and holidays I would have with my family and “cousins” (all of my parent’s Persian friend’s kids who I grew up with)Now I always try to get to as many Keshet, JUF, AIPAC, and FIDF events as I can.
Where is your business located?
We are located on Jewelers Row downtown in the Mallers building. Its a building full of jewelers in Chicago’s historic jewelry district. Our official address is 5 S. Wabash Ave suite 808 (8th floor)
What products/services does your business offer?
We specialize in selling engagement rings, wedding bands, fine diamond jewelry like diamond studs and bracelets, and estate jewelry. Our specialty is really providing people with the best quality and service in a family environment at wholesale prices.
What do you do for fun?
For fun, I’m all about friends and family. On weekends I spend most of my time with my wife Alyssa and daughter Ayv. A Pandemic tradition we picked up was doing Shabbat dinner every Friday as a family with little technology and it’s been awesome. With friends, I love playing and watching pretty much any sport (huge bears, bulls, and Wisconsin sports fan) and always love to partake in some L’chaims. I seriously just love celebrating life!
How do you stay motivated during the Pandemic with a small business?
The first few months were really tough for us. We pretty much had to shut down completely and in our business, it is pretty much essential to be in the office. After the lockdown was lifted we opened up and had to adjust some of our operations but we have been super busy ever since with a lot of pent-up demand for engagement rings and wedding bands/gifts and also what’s better than some shiny bling to cheer up the pandemic blues!
What is unique about your business?
As a small family-run business we pride ourselves on being inclusive and welcoming to fine jewelry beginners and long-time jewelry connoisseurs. When you come here we want you to feel like you are just hanging with friends and want you to have a good time no matter what. It’s not uncommon for clients to come in just to say hi and have a cocktail with me on a weekday afternoon.
What are your goals for your business?
My biggest goal is really to make everyone that comes to Hakimian Imports happy. Personally, I want to become the go-to Jeweler in Chicago and want the Joe the Jeweler name to be really well known. I also am starting to expand my social media and online presence.
How do we order your products?
The best way to order from us is to DM us at @hakimian_imports, email me Joehakimian23@gmail.com, or call/text anytime (847) 275-7720. We currently offer virtual appointments for people who can’t come in or live out of state but we recommend setting up a time to come into the shop to get the whole experience and to see things in person!