Two Danish entrepreneurs launched their version of Farfetch for fine jewelry Tuesday in time for the holidays.
Finematter, a multibrand web site dedicated to independent fine jewelry designs that are transparently made, went live in the U.K. and Denmark with 22 jewelers from across the world. Founded by former retail consultants Caroline Chalmer and Mie Ejdrup with 1.7 million euros, or $2 million, in seed funding, the site was designed as a tool for jewelers and consumers alike. The aim is to address the broken wholesale model while offering an elevated, curated home for fine jewelers to sell products on a global scale.
“With how COVID-19 has been ranging, it has underscored the importance of a platform like Finematter for independent fine jewelry brands. As streets continue to be deserted, having a strong online presence is increasingly paramount and we are really pleased about the amount of interest we have had from designers,” said Chalmer.
The site’s launch roster includes Repossi, Charlotte Chesnais, Prounis, Anissa Kermiche, CVC Stones, Wwake and a special collection by emerging Danish fine jeweler, Jo Riis-Hansen. Chalmer and Ejdrup say they already have a waiting list of designers hoping to be onboarded to the site. Launch product ranges from 100 euros to 16,000 euros ($118 to $18,900).
Finematter will expand its reach in the first quarter of 2021, launching in the U.S. and the rest of Europe. The company has future plans to grow its scope to Asia and other crucial markets. But while Finematter will eventually be available to consumers worldwide, some designers are hoping the site will help boost sales particularly across Europe where retail networks are more scattered.
Finematter acts as a virtual intermediary between jeweler and client. All product is selected, photographed, styled and promoted by Finematter’s team, but purchases are drop-shipped directly from designers’ studios. This manner of commerce allows Finematter to skirt traditional wholesale rules — the site only takes a small portion of sales compared with the 50-plus percent of typical retailers.
“We do content production, marketing, drive sales, have customer service and negotiate shipping agreements that are global so we can send from anywhere to anywhere with fully transparent pricing,” said Ejdrup
The site’s editorial content has been designed as an educational tool for shoppers, with Chalmer and Ejdrup hoping they can show fine jewelry “as an investment, as having more of a value than fashion items. Jewelry is something you keep for a lifetime. I think that’s been seen in the last few months as people gravitate toward jewelry purchases during lockdown,” Chalmer said.
Finematter has given each designer a profile page explaining their studio process and brand ethos. There is also a page dedicated to explaining the materials ratio across different gold karats, and each product is earmarked with icons to indicate sustainable sourcing, recycled material, and so on.
“We wanted to provide an experience of information and proper explanation around materials and what makes jewelry specific, why to buy one piece over another. We can provide that connection with designers, I think we are in the age of more mindful consumption and there is a real hunger to understand and learn more about the person behind a product. We can provide that deep connection with the designer or person who made the pieces,” said Ejdrup.
Fine jewelry was one of the last fashion categories to adapt to e-commerce due to skepticism over secure shipping. Chalmer and Ejdrup said they have created global contracts with shipping partners to ensure fairly priced, insured delivery to clients. Finematter is launching with free shipping for a trial period.
In an effort to promote the site, Finematter has teamed with a small group of influencers who have been appointed as ambassadors. The company has also retained Danish mega-influencer Pernille Teisbaek as a creative adviser — responsible for helping shape the site’s aesthetic direction.
In the coming months, Chalmer and Ejdrup say they have plans for a quick site expansion. They plan to launch a secondary market component of Finematter in 2021, allowing customers to resell jewelry and spread knowledge of fine jewelry’s inherent value as an investment item.
“The secondary market for jewelry is an exciting development,” said Chalmer. “It means people will keep coming back to us if they want to resell or know what their jewelry is worth, even for after-care services.”