JewelryPass seems like an idea born from an aha moment. A twist on the popular apparel subscription rental services that have been proliferating across a variety of retail channels and price points, JewelryPass, will charge members $99 a month for the rental of one piece of fine jewelry on rotation that can be swapped out any time for a different item, essentially giving subscribers a fine jewelry wardrobe of hundreds of designs. The service is being tested on VIPs in beta mode and will be launched early next year.
Subscription rental services, the next wrinkle in the retail concept, include Infinitely Loft, Urban Outfitters‘ Nuuly and Haverdash, among others. The benefit of the JewelryPass concept is in the fact that jewelry requires less maintenance than apparel and doesn’t show wear and tear the way clothing does. Plus, there are far fewer size issues.
Rent the Runway, which is recognized as one of the first clothing rental services, had recent challenges with fulfillment, causing some retail experts to question whether the business is ready for its previously announced intentions to launch an IPO.
JewelryPass’ vault contains bracelets, necklaces, earrings and rings for day and special occasions. Pieces feature stones such as diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, tanzanite, amethyst and aquamarine set in yellow, white or rose gold, platinum or sterling silver. Price points for the assortment range from $500 to $1,500. Jewels worth $5,000 will be added, available to rent for a higher monthly fee. There will also be occasion-worthy bling that can be rented on a short-term basis.
“I’m part of a family of jewelers. My father manufactures fine jewelry. Our company, Diamondere.com is based in California,” said Anish Godha, chief executive officer of JewelryPass, who left India to attend Northwestern and Stanford Universities. “I dabbled in online jewelry sales for a bit and worked on a social networking concept, which still exists, but we’re working on it at the moment.”
Godha has big expectations for JewelryPass — nearly $10 million in rental fees in the first year. “We’re looking at 100,000 members at end of first year,” he said. “We have a budget and marketing plan. We want to be aggressive with the assortment. We’ll have 200 different designs, each with four variations, and quantities of 10 of every design and its variations, or 8,000 pieces.”
According to Godha, 90 percent of the world’s diamonds are processed in India. “It’s easy to do a purchase order of 1,000 pieces or 5,000 pieces there,” he said.
“This is a great way for someone to keep their looks fresh,” Godha added. “We have product segments such as heart and butterfly pendants, classic designs like solitaire necklaces or solitaire rings, and infinity knots. It’s all elegant. Essentially, we’re going to [buy into] what we see that women are purchasing.”
Women who fall hard for a piece of jewelry they’ve rented, have the option to buy the item. “After you have an item for a while, if you absolutely love it, you’ll be able to purchase it at a discount of 20 percent off the retail price,” Godha said. “About 10 percent to 15 precent of subscribers may want to purchase something.”
Every item will be inspected by a jeweler and polished prior to being sent to a member “so we can be sure it’s maintained so it looks new. Every piece that’s shipped is insured. The customer is liable while the jewelry is in their possession. General wear and tear, we’ll forgive.”
Godha wants to maintain control over JewelryPass. “We may look at raising a venture round a few months after we launch,” he said, adding that the approach to subscribers will be selective in the beginning. “Initially, we’ll open this to select VIP lists, then it will grow through referrals. We have a referral campaign with incentives for customers to refer friends. Eventually, down the road, we will open it to anybody. We’re doing a phased approach.”