When Lauren Mora spilled a tray of drinks on a customer at Hacienda more than a decade ago, she expected a confrontation. Instead, she found herself a career.
Mora was working at the restaurant to put herself through nursing school at the time. The doused customer was Patrick Hopman, owner of Hopman Jewelers
 She apologized sincerely and offered to do whatever she could to make things right. He was so impressed by her customer service, that he offered her a job in his jewelry shop.

Lauren Mora, general sales manager at Hopman Jewelers, looks over a piece with a customer. Mora has worked in jewelry for 12 years and has developed a passion for custom design.
Photo by Jason Bryant.
When Mora accepted that job more than 12 years ago, she knew nothing about jewelry. Now she is Hopman’s sales manager, appraiser and a Gemology Institute of America accredited jewelry professional.
If she had continued with nursing school, she would have been serving people in some of their darkest times. Now, she gets to guide them through their happiest moments, from the birth of a child to an engagement.
"I love being able to show my creative side," Mora said. "I love making someone happy and helping someone celebrate a joyful time in their life."
For more than a decade, Mora has been studying jewelry, customer service and how to combine the two to make a great buying experience.

Lauren Mora, general sales manager at Hopman’s Jewelers, enjoys guiding her customers through joyful times in their lives. Photo by Jason Bryant.
"We strive to offer the best customer service," she said. "When you come in, we’ll know your name. We treat everyone the same whether they are wearing sweatpants or designer brands."
Mora has also developed a passion for working with customers on custom pieces — partly out of necessity. 
"A lot of brides or soon-to-be brides are more involved in the process now than they once were," she said. "With social media like Pinterest, women have already developed their dream wedding, their dream ring."
That means that Mora has learned how to make a soon-to-be-bride’s vision shine to life. She has also learned how to work with customers to make their dream design match their price range.

Lauren Mora, general sales manager, wants every customer to be treated well at Hopman’s Jewelers — whether they are wearing sweatpants or designer labels. 
Photo by Jason Bryant.
"A lot of people, when they think of custom designs, they see dollar signs," she said. "But that doesn’t have to be the case."
She said customizing a design does cost about 20 percent more than selecting something from the case, but customers end up more satisfied because the piece is exactly what they want.
The jewelry business has changed in the past 12 years since she has been a part of it, but Hopman’s continues to keep up with trends. The store has added an online engagement ring builder, for example. And Mora, noticing that statement jewelry has become more popular, has added new lines to the store that are fun but don’t break the bank.
Mora says has become a much better jeweler than she ever was a server at Hacienda — and for that, she is grateful.
"I love what we have to offer at Hopman’s and I love being here," she said. "The staff works really well together and we are all really close. We all pride ourselves on customer service, which I think is what sets us apart."