Copenhagen has become a springboard for new brands and aesthetic concepts. Now two new entrepreneurs from the Danish capital are entering the fold with an e-commerce platform for fine jewelry that aims to alter the designer-retailer relationship and offer a one-stop shop for unique pieces.
Finematter, launching in early fall, is the work of Caroline Chalmer and Mie Ejdrup — longtime friends from business school who are well versed in retail strategy. Chalmer is an alum of McKinsey’s Copenhagen and London offices, where she worked in the retail and fashion spaces. She also served as the chief operating officer of Global Fashion Agenda, a non-profit that promotes sustainability in the industry. Ejdrup worked within Bain & Co.’s retail and commercial projects sector and also served on Pandora’s global business development team, assisting with the brand’s 2019 relaunch.
Together they decided to create an e-commerce platform that addressed the broken wholesale model, while also offering an elevated, curated home for fine jewelers to sell their products on a global scale. The company declined to name the designers who they are working with for Finematter’s launch, but said they are forward-thinking brands that are well known and respected within the fashion sphere.
“Looking at the jewelry landscape, we thought it was so fragmented and hard to work with wholesale distribution — we knew there must be a smarter way,” said Chalmer.
“Also looking at the jewelry space and seeing how misrepresented jewelry is in respect to fashion — it seems like jewelry is the chewing gum in the checkout aisle of the supermarket. It’s secondary to handbags and shoes and is presented in the same way as a T-shirt or dress. So on that thought we wanted to create a jewelry experience and present jewelry in a way that is missing online,” she added of the company’s genesis.
Finematter provides a platform for fine jewelers to sell their designs with minimal third-party retail overhead. Finematter will select designs from each label that suit the site’s aesthetic — photographing products and creating digital content to accompany each brand. Designers will then ship orders directly from their own studios, with Finematter taking a cut of the sale that will be “significantly less than wholesale,” said Chalmer.
Prices on the site will start at about $200 and run upward of $10,000. All styles featured the site will fit within the fine jewelry category, as Chalmer and Ejdrup are not currently interested in selling costume jewelry styles.
“We’ve built an entire Finematter experience. We want people who come to the site to enter into a universe. We will have interviews with designers, recommendations, inspiration to browse. We see Finematter as bigger than just its buying function — we see shoppers coming to the site to be ‘in the know,’ and browsing to learn more about designers,” said Ejdrup. The site will also describe each design in full detail — including its gold weight and stone content. All products will be shot on a model so that consumers can better understand a design’s scale — a shortfall of many current jewelry e-commerce sites.
Chalmer said that Finematter’s arrival is even more relevant in this time as shoppers adapt to making big purchases remotely via e-commerce. “For us what coronavirus has shown is that it’s underscored a need to support independent brands with reaching customers online. If people don’t go to stores anymore, and COVID-19 accelerated that trend, then these independent designers are going to become invisible unless they are given an online presence. COVID-19 just accelerated a need for designers to come online and support our model,” she said.
While Finematter plans to focus on both the gifting and self-purchase markets, Ejdrup said that marketing to women is the baseline goal today when aiming for gifting purchases. “It’s rare that a man buys something these days without being hinted at or knowing what a woman likes,” she said.
Assisting with Finematter’s aesthetic direction is Danish influencer and stylist, Pernille Teisbæk, whose sense of style and nearly 870,000 followers are expected to create momentum for the site. Teisbæk is serving as creative adviser to the site, and said of its forthcoming launch: “Ever since I can remember, I’ve been passionate about jewelry and with Finematter, it’s a perfect match. Not only is it a great idea, I personally get to pursue my passion and use my knowledge within the field.”
Finematter launches with more than 1 million euros in seed funding led by Danish fund Heartcore Capital, which has previously invested in Boozt.com, said to be one of Europe’s largest initial public offerings in the fashion space.
“Fine jewelry as an industry is not only large, it is also highly fragmented. The majority of fine jewelers serve a local and loyal customer base, but generate limited international revenue. From a consumer perspective having a go-to destination for discovery and expert guidance is an exciting new proposition. We were impressed by the founders’ passion and domain experience and concluded if anyone should build the dominating marketplace in fine jewelry it would be Caroline and Mie,” said Heartcore partner Jimmy Fussing Nielsen.