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Starting my own engagement ring brand!

so, just to clarfy…you are planning to make the prototypes in sterling/ rhodium plated,with CZ…will production be the same? or will you be getting gold/ platinum, and real diamonds?..

if production will be CZ, you might also research…“Pure Grown Diamonds” (the processes), “Moissanite”, etc as an option to CZ…to take it up (quite) a few notches…but price will be higher…

I bought quite a few very nice looking sterling/ rhodium “diamond ring” and “eternity” band settings with CZ, at a gem/ trade show (in the “cash and carry” section) for fun…caution: they were about $25 wholesale…

Julie

If you are looking to use standard rings without any customization, just go to Stuller or Hoover & Strong (or any other supplier) and order from them. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel by ordering CAD/CAM/prototypes of rings that already exist.

I get what you are doing, I think. Basically following the Starbucks model taking an already deeply saturated market and trying to offer something that stands out in experience without being all that unique in product. As one who has done this in a different market, let me just suggest that you’ll need more than just a slightly unique experience due to the price points. Ideally, see if you can’t offer something in the product or an additional product that is just a slightly unique twist that will draw in your customers. Experience alone, if the business is exclusively online, probably won’t cut it at these higher price points (assuming you are using precious metals and diamonds for the final product and not rhodium-plated silver and CZ).

Best of luck!
Erich

I recommend Dominic Ventura …917-923-6151
venturada@earthlink.net
Full service from cad, models, manufacture
Look at his bio on line. You will be impressed.
Diane
Dikra

One thing that no one has mentioned yet is that diamonds are still the number one stone of choice for bridal jewelry, and that really doesn’t show any signs of changing any time soon. You will be competing against Blue Nile primarily, as well as James Allen, Price Scope, Diamonds Direct and other major players. Your issues won’t be with jewelry design, they will be in diamond sales. Online bridal sales has become a real cutthroat industry in the last decade or so. The bottom line to competing in online bridal sales is going to be price oriented. In order to compete on price, you are going to have to have some very, very deep pockets.

If you’re serious and no one is going to talk you out of it (which I understand completely, I couldn’t tell you how many people told me I was insane to do what I am now doing quite successfully), learn all there is to learn about diamonds. That is no small task. Start with the GIA Diamond course. Then you will need some really good connections in the diamond business. Many suppliers offer a link to their inventory that you can link your website(s) to. That’s how the big players operate.

I wouldn’t even mess with the brass and glass stuff. There is no credibility there. I’m not just guessing, I’ve been there and done that. If you can’t show people the real deal, they simply won’t buy from you, especially in an online type of setting. You must also come up with a method of shipping fast, and I mean fast. One week shipping won’t cut it, you’ll have to offer same day or at the very least next day shipping if you intend to play in the online bridal jewelry marketplace competitively. If you can’t ship your finished engagement rings fast, people will simply not buy from you.

If you really have some money to play with, instead of trying to design jewelry before really understanding the marketplace, I would suggest that you become familiar with the customer’s experience. Order some stuff from different companies and see how you’re treated and how things are priced and shipped. If there are chinks in their armor, that’s how you’ll find them.

The very best of luck to you. You’re really going to need it in that business.

Dave

Here is my .02, although many Orchidians have already offered thoughtful and accurate counsel above. Keep in mind, our company specifically does not focus on anything but one-off custom (rapid prototyping), so I can’t speak intelligently about competing with the type of product offering you describe, I can only speak about what I know from firsthand experience, which is custom.

So - this is what I personally have figured out after several years in this business. I know some of it sounds obvious, but I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, so it was not obvious to me until I actually got cooking.

  1. If you sell low-priced stuff, even if you sell it at a high margin, you need to sell a lot of it to make any money.

  2. Today’s consumer wants higher quality, more personalization and selection, at a lower price, with better service, served up in a business model that fits their needs. They don’t want one or two of those things, they want all of them.

  3. Relationships drive value in the jewelry business. That’s relationships with suppliers, with customers, with manufacturers, and with employees. Real relationships take time to build.

  4. Jewelry manufacturing (the process of making a truly high quality product) is NOT a commodity skill. Orchid exists quite literally because manufacturing great jewelry requires a lot of experience. Like many things in life, lots of people will tell you they can do a great job, but lots of those same people cannot do even a good job. To understand what “great” looks like requires a meaningful investment of time to gain requisite experience. One cannot “stand for quality” if one does not know what quality looks like and what the drivers of quality are. If one does not stand for quality, one will not be in business very long (see #2 above).

Now with all that said, I do think this is a GREAT industry, and one where there is still tons of room for innovation. I am dedicating 100% of my time to the industry for just that reason.

I hope any of this is useful, and I do sincerely wish you the best!

Hi,

so…if you are just looking to buy the 15 most popular engagement styles, in 3 stone sizes,I concur with the advice given, that the best option is to just buy them from a manufacturer that already has them on their line…

as it has been said, there is no need to “recreate the wheel” and pay for stuff like prototypes, when this has already been figured out…

so you would be focusing on that instead…

Julie

I think I understand what you are saying in that you are selling the experience rather than just a ring so sounds like price will not be the issue. I would pick your target audience but for your product you could find a wholesaler, select your product and go from there. I’m guessing at some point your will get a custom request and figure out how you will handle it. Your concept is perfect for the millenial seeking the experience but someone is going to have to understand the product.

You will need to know about the product (stone quality, metals and the properties) because people will look to you as the expert or you’ll need to have a person that understands and can explain it to your customer. Think Bridezilla. “The stone isn’t what you said it was, etc.”

Going to shows is a great idea too and you may find the perfect person to work with. BTW, $10K sound reasonable for your prototypes. Worth the investment for you to get your product right before you start marketing. It also gives you the option to test your product before jumping in with both feet.

Good luck!

Just returned from a two week vacation and trying to catch up on my emails (550, can you believe it?), and I must admit I did not read all the mail on this subject, but I do have some experience here and had to respond. First, the notion that anyone could pick out 15 styles that people would buy is difficult to comprehend. I have been in retail for 37 years, and make something like 4000 different styles myself, and I don’t think I have ever made the same style more than once or twice, ever. Whatever you put in the case won’t be exactly what they want, and whatever diamond you put in them will never be exactly what they are looking for.

We cast our rings, and also cast a complete line of heads to set whatever diamond they want. Even McDonald’s offers more than 15 choices of burgers, and I am always happy when they offer the McRib for a change. A small-town store like mine offers at least 50 “live” pieces, 500 samples, and custom design is still our biggest seller.

Jon Michael Fuja

I think Erich is catching on to what I have in mind. The final finished product will be sterling silver with rhodium plate and CZ stones. Not looking to get into gold/pt or diamonds. I’ve researched other stone options, but the price point I have in mind means that I have to go with CZ. Will give Stuller a call and see if I can get an account with them. I think it’s best for us to go with a wholesale catalog, instead of designing our own pieces.

I do need a bit of customization though. Specifically, thickness of the rhodium plate.

We don’t want to be harsh or demoralizing to you. Maybe you will be the next great success of the jewelry world. But I think you can see that a lot of very experienced people highly doubt it. There is a gazillion of what you want to do out there on the internet. We can’t imagine that you can do it better or cheaper than what is already being done.

The thickness of ‘sample’ plating should be at least 3=>5 microns thick.
Anything less, it would wear off!!
My sample that I use for demonstration is measured at 5 microns. Believe
me, I’ve been using it in my classes for 4 years & still looks fresh &
clean like the day it was made!

Gerry Lewy

1 Like

I’m catching something that is not being said by you. You don’t care about the making and styles/designs. I am picking up on that you have a specialized market niche that you are not talking about that the actual work you mention is of no conern to. You have a captive market as they say. so all you want to do is get the product and then you can go sell to that niche. I may be wrong, but you had better have a lot and I mean a lot of people that need engagement rings that you can sell to. Unless their divorce rate is high? There is just more to this blowing off the advice and then turning around and asking if we want to participate.

Mother radar up on this old lady Aggie

Hi,

also, consider the size factor, sizing factor, re-plating factor, etc which may add cost(?) to the consumer(?)

Julie

Rhodium plating is the bastard stepchild of the jewelry industry.
Headache and grief for anyone doing repair or sizing.
Perhaps, check into one of the sterling alloys that do not need plating.

Hmm…that brings up the factor regarding sizing with a stone being CZ(?)

…perhaps look into Argentium, or Stuller’s sterling silvers which are anti-tarnish…that might be the ticket…

Julie

Not much danger sizing with CZ. It will stand a considerable amount of heat. You can’t retip on it but sizing is not usually a problem.

Hi Wade,

Thanks so much for clarifying that,much appreciated!

Julie

I have 7000 true master models available for sale. Mostly all bridal. contact me directly at jim@keylimebay.com

If all you are bringing to the table is the unique customer experience, wouldn’t you be better served trying to get in on wholesale purchasing of someone else’s product line or an assortment of various lines to resell in your store?

As a point of perspective:
“I know it sounds crazy but I want to open a hedge fund. I dont have any financial expertise but I have a savings account. Would all you people, who are in the financial industry and have graduate financial degrees, help me copy the top 15 hedge funds’ financial activity. I have a new way to talk people into investing in it.”

Where do I send my life savings?!? :wink: