Millennial direct-to-consumer jeweler Brilliant Earth was listed on the stock market today, with an afternoon share price hovering around $16.80 — about 40 percent higher than its original listing price.
Now listed under BRLT, the company had made a last-minute change and cut its original initial public offering by half — putting up a total 8.33 million shares at $12 each. Last week, Brilliant Earth said its IPO would encompass 16.67 million shares priced between $14 and $16.
The firm’s IPO brings its overall valuation to about $1.1 billion.
Brilliant Earth — founded in San Francisco in 2005 by Beth Gerstein, the company’s current chief executive officer, and Eric Grossberg, its executive chairman — labels itself a “disruptive” force in fine jewelry. It mainly trades in transparently produced engagement and bridal jewelry offered with naturally occurring and lab-grown diamonds. More recently, Brilliant Earth has made strides to increase its day-to-day jewelry offering — giving the company more runway with consumers besides special occasion and commitment jewelry.
Speaking with WWD, Gerstein said: “It’s a really special day, not just for me but for the entire team. Thinking back to starting this company with my cofounder in my apartment 16 years ago to where we are now is amazing. We celebrated with a proposal right in front of the Nasdaq building with a real-life couple.”
While the IPO raised about $100 million for the firm, Gerstein said a new obligation to shareholders and analysts does not alter her approach to business. “I don’t think it fundamentally changes anything. We are growing in a profitable way and are focused on long-term value. We will continue with the same position, same focus of really offering design-driven and beautiful products that are joyful, a personalized experience and omnichannel approach,” she said.
Brilliant Earth says it has so far served more than 370,000 customers. In its filing, the company said revenue over the 12-month period ending June 30 hit $323 million, representing a 56 percent increase over the same period last year. The company’s gross margins are around 45 percent, with an average order value of $3,152. Around 87 percent of Brilliant Earth’s “active” consumer base is either Millennials or Gen Z shoppers.
Gerstein said the company will use its newfound cash to continue scaling its everyday jewelry business, as well as traceability and sustainability initiatives.
“I think driving growth in the fine jewelry category is an exciting opportunity for us, we have a really strong customer connection with a design-driven approach that is informed by data. To have a creative design team behind it means we are incredibly well-positioned to continue to broaden our assortment and sell to an already loyal customer base,” Gerstein said.
On the sustainability front, she added: “I think it’s a continued focus for us. Our blockchain effort that we initiated a few years ago [will go further] and we will think of new and innovative ways to drive traceability and sustainability, which are core to our company.”
Brilliant Earth is one of few accessories brands listed on the stock market independent of a large conglomerate. Gerstein said the company’s San Francisco base was instrumental in helping it gain market share and attention leading up to this moment.
“I think being at the center of innovation and data, with my background as an electrical engineer and my cofounder Eric’s background in consulting, we always approached this from a tech and data-driven place. We are around disruption and innovation [in San Francisco] and that’s what we created at Brilliant Earth,” she said.