LONDON — With so many physical stores and showrooms shut, jewelry veterans Valery Demure and Darren Hildrow have come up with a business-to-business solution to selling fine jewelry brands online.
It’s called NouvelleBox, and is a marketplace-cum-educational platform that aims to bring the jewelry community together and offer brands a cost and time-efficient way to get visibility and sales all at once.
“There are plenty of platforms out there and they’re fabulous systems, but they mostly focus on fashion and jewelers just end up joining,” said Hildrow, who most recently served as director of jewelry at Rainbowwave showroom and has also worked with fine jewelry labels including Jade Jagger and Noor Fares.
“There’s a difference between buying 250,000 pounds worth of denim and coming to buy six or seven pieces of fine jewelry. You need [a platform] that’s simpler and quite focused. So we’re trying to keep it clean and tailored to the jewelry designers’ needs,” he added.
The platform is set to launch next week with labels such as Bea Bongiasca, Bee Goddess, Francesca Villa and Nak Armstrong already on board.
Once they sign up, those brands will be able to display new collections on their page, share content that tells the brand’s story, and connect with a wide network of retailers, ranging from bigger players like Matchesfashion, Liberty London, Moda Operandi and Nordstrom to more specialized stores like Browns, Dover Street Market or Twist.
In order for stores to view a brand’s information and communicate with them, the two would need to connect, just like on LinkedIn.
Brands also get access to an array of tools that make the selling process easier, like automatic linesheet, delivery note and invoice generators. NouvelleBox is one of the first marketplaces not to take a commission on the sales, and will instead charge brands a monthly or annual membership fee.
“Creating something all encompassing is the way forward. Small businesses don’t have strong structures in place and this platform can help them sort out their admin, wholesale activities and marketing activities all at once,” said Demure, whose eponymous showroom has worked with jewelers such as Fernando Jorge, Monique Péan, Delfina Delettrez and Alice Cicolini.
NouvelleBox is not looking to compete with showroom businesses, however. Brands joining the platform will not receive direct sales services, but rather access to a network that will ideally enhance their visibility and offer easier access to buyers.
“This is here as a marketplace, where brands can come on and if they’re confident within the marketplace they can connect and discuss with the stores,” Hildrow noted.
“It’s going to be easier to get noticed. Retailers will now have this platform to discover new brands. It doesn’t mean they will buy [into them] right away, but at least they can start a conversation.”
A NouvelleBox magazine is also in the works, offering specialist content targeting the buyers, designers and jewelry specialists using the platform — but not the end consumer. The bigger aim being to bring the jewelry community together and offer as much educational material as commercial opportunities.
Designers will be able to hear from buyers about what they’re looking for when buying into a brand or have their stories told by seasoned writers, with expertise in jewelry.
“We’re asking the questions that quite often designers don’t ask,” said Demure, adding that the NouvelleBox magazine will open up the platform’s network to more creatives, be it copywriters, consultants or photographers, with whom brands can work.
“These people have been vetted, we know they have integrity. It was important to have people who can offer cost effective work and real experience. Too many people are calling themselves consultants after two years in the field, which can be pretty dangerous.”
Personal shoppers will also be invited onto the site, to source jewelry directly for private clients.
“This isn’t competing with retailers. The end client is not going to connect with the platform, the only b-to-c element will be via personal shoppers,” Demure said. “These personal shoppers have their own businesses and address books and will be styling VIP clients who wouldn’t necessarily go to the retailers.”
While retail dynamics are rapidly changing, with many of the big players being hit hard during the pandemic, both Hildrow and Demure still believe in the power of wholesale, particularly when it comes to niche, specialized stores.
“There’s been a big change with larger stores finding it quite difficult [to keep up]. But the smaller, more nimble stores have been doing really well, some having their best year ever on record in 2020,” Hildrow said.