Houston personalities: Jimmy the Jeweler on why Houston means so much to him

The King of Bling on Houston, hustling and a new storefront in Chinatown

Jimmy the Jeweler (Jimmy Phan)

HOUSTON – Houston native Jimmy Phan—also known by his other monikers Jimmy Boi, The Streets’ Jeweler and Jimmy the Jeweler— is clearly a man of many names.

Phan, who owns Done Right & Company, has a reputation for making high-quality, custom diamond pieces, many of them for athletes or rap royalty like Floyd Mayweather, Devin Haney, Roddy Ricch, Flo Rida, Slim Thug, Blac Youngsta, Future and Tekashi 6ix9ine (He has a massive, diamond-emblazoned necklace modeled after Bruce, the snarling shark in Finding Nemo. The custom-made piece made an appearance in a recently released music video for the rapper’s new track “Gooba").

The list goes on and on and it’s quite a customer base considering Phan launched his business just 5 years ago in 2015. It didn’t hurt that during his first year in business, Phan’s daughter Savannah became a viral sensation after Phan published videos of her singing and dancing to rap songs while flaunting wads of cash. During his first year as a jeweler, he generated more than a million in revenue.

Now in his late thirties, Phan’s path to his profitable profession was a circuitous one. He was born into a family of Vietnamese rockers turned refugees in 1982 in Alief. He spent a portion of his youth on the streets and as a teenager, he was in and out of juvenile detention. Fast forward to adulthood, and a three year stint in jail, a rap career, and an introduction to fatherhood preceded Phan’s métier as an Insta-famous luxury jeweler.

Jimmy the Jeweler with his daughter (Jimmy Phan)

While a world-renowned jeweler with a massive Instagram following, Phan is known locally for his charitable efforts like his annual “Iced-Out Christmas Giveaway” in which the jeweler donates more than $10,000 worth of toys, food, and gifts to families in need. Recently, he gifted a 2.4-carat diamond engagement ring set in 14-karat white gold—retail value: $10,000—to a U.S. military service person who couldn’t otherwise afford such a lavish ring.

With a new storefront in Houston’s Chinatown in the works, Phan took the time to talk with KPRC 2 about his new book 48 Laws of Hustle and his love for Houston.

*Some responses were edited for length.

Q: What do you love most about Houston?

A: I was born and raised here. Everything I’ve been through that made me who I am today is from here. I love it. It’s where my heart’s at. I’m always going to be here. I even have a condo in California and eventually I’ll buy one in Miami and New York but Houston’s home. It’s where I feel comfortable laying down my head and that’s just how I feel about it.

Q: What places do you recommend to friends and visitors?

A: If you’re in Houston, you’ve got to go to Turkey Leg Hut. Not even just because of the food, it’s the whole vibe, the energy, everything. If you want to go somewhere where you can enjoy good food, good music or just good energy and people. It’s so amazing to me that they’ve been able to build up all of that together. It’s an amazing thing.

You’ve gotta check out the Galleria and you’ve gotta check out different things about Houston. You gotta check out Chinatown for sure. You’ve definitely gotta check out Chinatown. Ocean Palace is one of the best Chinese dim sum restaurants.

You know California is considered the largest Vietnamese or Asian community there is and the food doesn’t even compare to Houston. I have friends who come from California who testify behind that. I feel like the food, not even just the Asian food, I feel like everything is just made with love, it’s southern hospitality, southern cooking, southern love. That’s one thing I love about being from the south. Even when I travel to other places, they we’re too proper and to be honest with you, I’d rather be too proper than too rude.

I don’t even know how many times I can tell you I love it. Words can’t even describe the way I feel about Houston, the way I feel about being from here, the way I feel about living here, the way I feel about being able to build a business and become successful here. I feel like this is the land of opportunity and if you are a true hustler, which I feel like all of us are, we have the hustle in us, you know you can really make something of yourself living here.

Q: What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think of Houston?

A: Me. When I think of Houston I think of a lot of stuff but when you said it like that I actually thought about me and the reason why is because since even back when I was 17, 16 hitting up different cities and states doing what it is I was doing but I was representing where I was from. If you look at everything you see it’s just where I am and what I represent.

Q: Did you ever imagine you’d own a prospering jewelry business?

A: Man, it’s a blessing. Even on the bad days, it’s a blessing. I can’t even explain where I am in life. I’m so grateful and so thankful to be where I am. I have no complaints. I feel like if I spend any time, whether it be a millisecond or a second of my day thinking of anything negative or letting anything bother me then I’m disrespecting the blessing that God has given me.

Q: Your book ‘48 Laws of Hustle’ was published earlier this year. Could you share one of your favorite laws from the book and explain what that law means to you?

A: Never mind your starting time. When I think about it I get emotional. It’s crazy because it took me 33 years of my life to realize that: Never mind your starting time. When I faced all those times, when I was locked up all those years, I was getting locked up almost every year as a teenager, I’d come home and I’d see some of my friends doing food for themselves. And I was never jealous or bitter but I would always sit there and question why I kept getting slowed down, why I couldn't have what anyone else had at the time.

When life started changing, when I was 33, I felt like maybe I’m finally catching up or I’m finally getting to where I feel I need to be. It clicked to me. All this time, I’d been hard on myself because I was seeing guys that were 25, 26 that were rich and successful. I had been so hard on myself about trying to make it there when this whole time I’d been working at it in a timely manner. I feel like a lot of us get lost looking at the person next to us. Don’t ever let a couple hiccups get in the way. Don’t let someone else’s success or failure cloud your thoughts or how you feel about yourself.

Q: Could you talk about your plans to open a storefront in Houston’s Chinatown?

A: Chinatown has a lot of jewelry stores and I feel like they’re known for jewelry too. So I wanted to take it back to my roots because I feel like what I’ve done in the jewelry business, the five years I’ve been a professional jeweler, I feel like I’ve made a lot of people step up their game. I’ve brought a lot of creativity and I’ve brought a lot of heart to the business. I push the envelope when I make jewelry. Being that I was an acquirer for so long, there were so many times that a jeweler would bring something to me that I felt wasn’t right. Having the opportunity to become a jeweler, I wanted to make sure I gave my all, that I would never worry about trying to stay on budget. I’d rather not make any money and really bring something to life that’ll really satisfy my customers.

With that being said, I wanted to bring my business to Chinatown. I wanted to jump the game back up and make these other Asian jewelers step their game up. Not even as competition and if any competition, it’d be friendly competition, it’s just to push each other and inspire each other.

About the Author:

Briana Zamora-Nipper joined the KPRC 2 digital team in 2019. When she’s not hard at work in the KPRC 2 newsroom, you can find Bri drinking away her hard earned wages at JuiceLand, running around Hermann Park, listening to crime podcasts or ransacking the magazine stand at Barnes & Noble.