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.”
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)