Monica Vinader is heading to a new home for the holidays — the United States.
“We wanted to wait a bit for the U.S. because it’s a big market, and we needed to get the team ready,” said Vinader. “We were working behind the scenes to get the infrastructure right. Nordstrom approached us a few years ago, but we were not able to do it because we just didn’t have the team.”
Today, the jewelry brand has a team of 80, with standalone stores across the U.K, and in Hong Kong and South Korea. The brand is additionally carried in Harrods, Selfridges, Liberty, Harvey Nichols, Brown Thomas and de Bijenkorf.
Vinader founded the brand in 2008 after identifying a gap in the market when shopping for jewelry. “I couldn’t find things that I really wanted to wear myself,” she said. “I wanted something accessible in price point, but that was really well done and made with good materials…Our idea was always very simple — to make pieces women can wear all the time with good value for money and don’t compromise on design or materials.”
The core collection is based around stacking rings, corded friendship bracelets that can be engraved and unique, colorful stones. “All of our stones are hand-cut — I draw them,” said the designer. “You aren’t buying a round stone. I’m cutting the facets of the shapes that I want. It makes the pieces unique and I think our customers appreciate that.”
The six-piece holiday collection, which will hit Nordstrom and Saks at the end of November, is heavy on these brand codes. Styles include the Fiji friendship bracelet done in rose gold vermeil, the Baja bracelet done in diamonds and a Riva diamond hoop ring. Price points range from $120 to $1,520. In addition to the capsule collection, the stores will stock various pieces from the brand’s core collection.
Vinader said that while the partnership with the department stores will act as a precursor to opening a standalone store in the U.S., likely to come in the next two years, she is using the opportunity to mainly learn more about the American consumer. “I’m looking at them as really strategic, longtime partners,” she said of Nordstrom and Saks. “First, I want to understand what the customer is looking for, what the different regions are doing, and really get to know the customer…There are a lot of stores, and we really need to work with them. Every door is its own world, so we need to look at who the customer is locally, how we serve them, how we train the staff, how we provide to counters — really make sure we bring out expertise and also that we learn from what our customers are saying. That is key.”