Meet the Colemans
Owner and CEO
Amanda Coleman-Phelps is Nelson Coleman’s owner and CEO. She joined the company in February 2004 and is the visionary behind Jewelry By Designs, responsible for its culture and inviting environment.
“Never in a million years if you had told me that I’d be responsible for people’s happiness would I imagine it’d be here at NCJ,” says Amanda, who’s a sixth-generation member of this family business. “That is what I do here, however, and it is, hands down, my favorite thing. Every day, I get to give our team an environment to grow, learn and thrive and, in turn, they get to do that for our clients.”
Amanda wears a lot of hats at Jewelry By Designs, serving as chief of sales, chief team officer, chief accountability officer and strategist. This Sparks, Maryland, resident spearheads sales from new and existing clients, creating retention while maximizing bottom line. Amanda is also in charge of communication, ensuring her team exceeds customer expectations.
“The purpose is always my favorite thing about helping our clients,” she says. “I enjoy hearing about their ‘why’ and ‘story’ for the item they’re purchasing. I also love being their detective to find the perfect piece.”
What stands out the most to customers about Jewelry By Designs is the team’s honesty. “There is nothing without trust and disclosure, and, at NCJ, we spend a great deal of our time and resources in educating our team so they can fully disclose to our clients what they’re buying, treatments and how to care for their items.”
Jewelry By Designs staff belongs to several top industry buying groups that heavily vet their vendors, buying from these groups to help the company remain on the leading edge of trends. “We maintain our ethical standing with our clients through sustainable mining and employment practices,” she says.
Amanda takes pride in Jewelry By Designs’ enrichment program, which helps strengthen the company’s surrounding communities.
“If you pay full price for an item, we’ll cut a check and donate 10 percent of the retail value toward a charity or program of their choice,” she says. “We pay it forward one client at a time.”
When she’s not running the show at Jewelry By Designs, Amanda enjoys reading and exercising, especially running. “I also love spending time with my children and see them grow and become the little people they’re meant to be,” she says.
Owner, Estate Director
Mark is the last born of Nelson Coleman’s six sons and joined the family business in 1976. Mark is a GIA Diamonds Graduate and American Gem Society Registered Jeweler. He is the head of our estate jewelry department and loves finding that right piece of jewelry to improve life and relationships.
Chris Coleman is retired but volunteers his time in a business-development capacity to help grow Jewelry By Designs. Chris joined the company in 1979 with no jewelry experience but gleaned all he could from his father, Nelson Coleman Jr., who previously helmed the company.
Despite being voted in his University of northern Virginia Class of 1971 as the least likely to succeed in business, Chris performed admirably, elevating the longtime family business before passing the baton to his daughter, Amanda Coleman-Phelps, at retirement.
These days, Chris tends to Jewelry By Designs facility matters, dresses up the building with Christmas decorations and attends networking meetings. He also conducts all the external charitable events that Jewelry By Designs participates in to support nonprofit organizations.
“I encourage everyone I meet to visit Jewelry By Designs for any needs connected to jewelry, gift-giving or reason to celebrate,” he says.
Chris enjoys seeing former customers and hearing stories about a successful experience from someone he sent to the store. “But most of all, I enjoy hearing about how much my daughter, Amanda; my wife, Peggy; and my brother, Mark; are appreciated and even loved by the folks they serve in the store,” he says.
As someone who helped mold Nelson Coleman for many years, Chris says the company showcases a dazzling mixture of qualities that attract and magnetize customers. “The personal care, respect and professionalism our customers experience every time they walk in the door is special,” he says. “Our customers also value our selection!”
Chris, who resides in Towson, Maryland, enjoys spending time with his family, including his children and grandkids. “I love the outdoors and nature, and I’m also anxious to get started writing,” he says.
Merchandise Manager and Vice President
Peggy did not start out with plans to make it big in the jewelry business. “I had no industry experience before I joined Nelson Coleman,” she explains. “My husband and his brother owned this business when I started and had asked me to help out.”
What Peggy lacked in experience she made up for in enthusiasm and determination. Although this vice president didn’t plan to work in this industry, now she wouldn’t do anything else. Since the early 1980s, Peggy Coleman has been helping her family build their jewelry business.
Her title is merchandising manager, but Peggy doesn’t limit her job to setting up displays. Instead, she likes to work in all parts of the business. “As the merchandise manager, I do most of the buying of the fashion jewelry,” she says. “I also organize the jewelry in the store. Sometimes I can still get out on the floor and sell. I love meeting with clients.”
Part of Peggy’s job is helping clients select special pieces. She loves that she can play a role in fulfilling the client’s dream for the perfect piece of jewelry to celebrate an occasion or a life event. She adds, “I love seeing clients’ eyes light up when they have found that perfect piece!”
Peggy also creates pieces on her own. She belongs to two exclusive jewelry-buying groups and attends industry jewelry shows. These activities keep her up to date on the latest styles and industry trends.
“It didn’t take me long to fall in love with the jewelry industry,” she admits. “I now have my GIA Diamond Graduate certificate.”
Peggy is a resident of Towson, Maryland. She is an avid reader and gardener and enjoys decorating and volunteering.