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Trios Studio has three times the fun

Popular jewelry store makes unique contribution to Lake Oswego

REVIEW, TIDINGS PHOTO: CLIFF NEWELL - Trios Studio in Lake Oswego is not just a jewelry store, its an experience, thanks to owners (from the left) Debbie Spencer, Mary Wong and Kathe Mai.

When it comes to Trios Studio in Lake Oswego, customers come in for the jewelry, then stay for the experience.

Owners and dear friends Mary Wong, Debbie Spencer and Kathe Mai go beyond everything that an outstanding custom-jewelry business can offer — expertise, artistry, experience, customer service that is almost cuddly, a social conscience and a tireless dedication to educating people about jewelry.

But what makes Trios Studio even more special is the fun factor. People seem to become instantly cheerful when they enter the big, bright studio in Oswego Towne Square, a shopping center at Monroe Parkway and Boones Ferry Road.

Buying precious gems can be a tension-filled experience, especially for men, but the trio at Trios make it invigorating. Shoppers might even find themselves humming, “Young at Heart.”

“We were confident we would be successful when we started this studio,” Wong said. “We did have some rough patches, but we hitched up our britches and got the job done. When we opened, we did not want to have an intimidating place, and we’re not.”

“We didn’t want to be stuffy or pretentious,” Mai said.

“We’re a happy place,” Spencer said. “Clients come here just to visit.”

Now it’s time to celebrate. Trios Studio will be observing its 10th anniversary on Saturday with a big birthday bash with cake, cocktails, sales and much more from noon-5 p.m. The world is invited.

While the three women were confident of success when they opened their doors in 2006, they were uncertain of just what they were in for. It turned out to be a much greater experience than they imagined.

For one thing, the Trios team say they have the largest collection of Fair Trade Gems in the Northwest. When they started, the ideas of fair trade and sustainable practices were almost unheard of in the jewelry business, but the Trios trio made it work.

“We give people the choice of feeling good with the choices they make in buying jewelry,” Wong said. “Things like eco gold and recycled silver so reflect a person’s value system. We’re trying to change the way the jewelry business is perceived, grassroots style.”

Trios doesn’t just sell jewelry, it’s a classroom on jewelry. Almost nobody enters Trios with vast knowledge of the jewelry business, and because of that, buying jewelry can be scary.

“Men are terrified when they come into a jewelry store,” Wong said. “They feel exposed and vulnerable when they’re trying to find the right engagement ring or wedding ring. We try to get rid of that fear.”

“Now, we have a nice stable of engaged men,” Spencer said. “When people come in here to get jewelry, it’s just the beginning of the dialogue, not the end.”

“People don’t realize how much they need to know about jewelry,” Wong said. “We do it over and over and over again, and that makes for good clients, who appreciate what we have to offer.”

In the case of Trios Studio, you can always get what you want.

“We listen well when people come in with their families,” Mai said. “We have the ability to do a completely custom-made job on our work. We definitely offer a different feeling here that is much more personal.”

All of these features are very good, but Wong said, “The biggest thing we offer is our expertise. People in Lake Oswego don’t have to send their jewelry anywhere else. We can do it the way they want right here.”

Being so good at providing what jewelry shoppers want has allowed Mai, Spencer and Wong to go beyond jewelry. They have developed an extraordinary commitment to the community that just keeps growing. Just a few of their causes are CASA, Lake Oswego Meals on Wheels, Dress for Success, Caldera (arts for the underprivileged), the Voices Lecture Series, and something quite out of the ordinary — supporting a school in Malawi in Africa.

“We’ve gone global,” Mai said.

“We’re local, too,” Wong said. “We’re everywhere at all times.”

It’s an impressive list of causes to take on. But the Trios artists figure they are just giving back.

“The community has given us the strength, the voice and the money to become something much more than we thought we could be,” Wong said.

A 10th anniversary is an appropriate time to look back. Especially because the three jewelers have a cumulative total of over 100 years in the jewelry business.

“We used to be the hot, young jewelers in town,” Wong said with a laugh. “Now we’re the old lady jewelers.”

Still, customers will be coming to Trios Studio for years to come.

“People do shop around for jewelry,” Spencer said. “We offer a different vibe and experience.”

For more about Trios Studio, go to the website TriosStudio.com or call 503-496-1285. The studio is located at 3 Monroe Parkway, Suite 1.

Contact Cliff Newell at 503-636-1281 ext. 105 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..