When he recovered, two of his closest friends, Kris Keller and Jason Bourland, took things into their own hands. Keller and Bourland, who had worked with him on Maynard, started Ten to showcase his work. "They said to me, 'We want you to do what you do best. We don't want you to have the pressure of the everyday business,'" Hoffmann says. "So I'm in semiretirement. All I do is design." Keller handles the sales floor and consults with clients, while Bourland executes Hoffmann's jewelry designs in a basement workshop.
"This is the first store we've ever had with big display windows," Hoffmann says. Most of his work is still custom, but he says that in his new space he's worked with a lot of students, who have been attracted by the window displays. While students don't come immediately to mind as luxury-jewelry consumers, Hoffmann says they do buy engagement rings.
"We wanted to put some of the more affordable pieces out for Valentine's Day," Kris Keller said in early February. In this world, of course, affordable is still a relative term: the example Keller pointed out was a $500 pair of earrings.