NEW YORK — BaubleBar’s future just got a bit brighter.
On Tuesday morning, the online jewelry retailer disclosed that it had raised $10 million in a Series B financing. The leader of the investment: J. Christopher Burch’s Burch Creative Capital. Other investors include Aspect Ventures, Triplepoint Ventures and Comcast Ventures, as well as existing investors Accel Partners and Greycroft Partners.
Burch first came to know BaubleBar through a friend’s daughter, who happened to be one of the company’s first employees. “I was a big fan of their SoHo pop-up [in Manhattan] last summer and I wanted to learn more,” Burch told WWD in an exclusive interview. Since shuttering the pop-up in August 2013, BaubleBar has since developed retail partnerships with Nordstrom and Anthropologie, the former of which launched in April with 35 doors and has since increased to 117. Such partnerships were a large contribution to Burch’s decision to invest.
“I was incredibly impressed by BaubleBar’s growth and their move into traditional retail,” said Burch. “I thought this would be the perfect time to not only invest but mentor them as they continue to grow the business and distribution. The girls have an incredible passion for what they are doing and their success so far in setting up a vertically integrated business driven by data analytics really blew me away. Their passion and drive reminds me a little bit of myself building Eagle’s Eye at that age.”
Burch Creative Capital’s investment portfolio includes fashion companies Tory Burch and Trademark, chain discount store Five Below and fashion commerce and social media app Trendabl, among others. Burch’s investment in BaubleBar comes on the heels of several accessories acquisitions, including yoga accessories line Outdoor Voices and Hamptons, N.Y.-based beachwear company Solid and Striped, both in late 2013. Most recently, Burch made a small investment in Soludos, a footwear company specializing in espadrilles. “Given the increasing popularity of minimalist fashion, women will continue to use accessories to follow trends,” Burch said of his recent interest in accessories. “I have seen the strength of the accessories market play out in other recent investments, like Soludos, Outdoor Voices and Solid & Striped. [And] I loved the BaubleBar thesis that the modern women experiments with fashion through jewelry.”
With his new stake in the company, Burch disclosed plans to contribute more to BaubleBar than just financial aid. “This is not just an investment for me,” he said. “I feel so strongly about BaubleBar’s growth potential and the team. I wanted to make sure [founders] Amy [Jain] and Daniella [Yacobovsky] knew that I would always be there for them as their partner. With this investment and my experience in merchandising, sourcing, branding and distribution, I know that BaubleBar will continue to explode its direct-to-consumer and wholesale businesses.”
BaubleBar was officially launched in January 2011, with Jain and Yacobovsky working out of Jain’s apartment. The company initially raised a $1.1 million seed round, led by Accel in December 2010, and a $4.5 million Series A, led by Accel and Greycroft, in June 2012. BaubleBar now boasts about 160 full-time employees. The site features 850 to 1,000 stockkeeping units live on its site at all times, with 100 to 150 new styles introduced every week. In addition to its signature collection of necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings, the site features a “Guest Bartender” series that periodically features existing and exclusive baubles chosen by various influencers, such as model Coco Rocha, actress Ashley Madekwe and blogger Courtney Kerr.
Yacobovsky credited the company’s success in part to the current state of the jewelry business, particularly in the lower-price segment (BaubleBar’s average prices hover around the $20 to $40 mark). “We tend not to be an ‘It’ item business,” she said. “When you look at bags or shoes, there is always an ‘It’ item, but we find that there are broader trends in jewelry with which people get excited about and then shop for their own personal style within that trend.”
With this latest round of investment, the company plans to expand its current retail partnership initiative, in addition to experimenting with digital marketing channels and updating existing technology. “It’s important for us to control the customer experience from end to end, so we ship in-house,” said Yacobovsky. “This creates a lot of complexity, especially when you consider that we are a fast-fashion business and we turn inventory incredibly quickly. While that is great for us from a working capital management standpoint, it means that we need even more sophisticated software and systems. We’re going to be investing up front in a lot of mass infrastructure in some of the resources that build our off-line and retail partners.”
Asked about a five-year plan, Yacobovsky cited the company’s core mission. “We started with a very simple thesis: We wanted to provide a one-stop shop for fashion jewelry,” she said. “We want to keep reinventing and innovating everything from partnerships to how we reach the customer. But that core thesis still stands.
Added Burch, “The girls talk about ‘global Bauble domination.’ I think they will be a global brand with tremendous distribution around the world and the best retail partners in the industry.”
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