MEMO TO SELF: With online sales of fine jewelry on the rise, Deborah LaBudde, a former venture capitalist, is tapping into the growing market with the launch of a new online retail concept, Memo.
The new service offers customers the opportunity to take items on a three-day loan before deciding whether to purchase or return them.
Drawing inspiration from industry processes where editors can take pieces “on memo,” LaBudde said she wanted to create a more intimate shopping experience, where customers can try the jewelry on in the comfort of their own homes.
“What we’re trying to replicate here is a business-to-business concept,” she said.
The same values were applied to the designers featured on the site, a variety of labels ranging from established names such as Ileana Makri and Pamela Love to more niche ones, such as Emily P. Wheeler.
“The key for us is obviously someone who designs very high quality products, but who also has a story. We go really deep in terms of understanding the designer and the majority of them are female entrepreneurs. That’s been my background; for most of my career I have been working with entrepreneurs,” added LaBudde.
Products on the site are priced between $345 and $15,600. Taking something “on memo” for the three-day period is free of charge.
The site also offers editorial content in order to introduce customers to a designer’s process and inspirations and allow them to make new discoveries.
“It’s hard to discover new designers unless you’re able to travel a great amount. There’s something so special and unique about meeting a new designer personally and understanding them, and understanding their inspiration and their work, and unless you are traveling, that doesn’t exist today in your traditional retail environment. And it doesn’t exist online. Finding fine jewelry is something very intimate and special and the environment that exists doesn’t really replicate that. And so that’s what I saw as the opportunity,” said LaBudde.
Content on the site ranges from videos to designer interviews, trend stories and insights on different precious stones. LaBudde wanted to create “elevated but accessible” content with the primary aim of educating women about different designers so that they can feel confident about making a purchase.
The site’s primary target is professional women buying fine jewelry for themselves. “You can, of course, use Memo for gifting but we believe that it really starts with the woman knowing what she’s most interested in and what she wants. Our primary aim is to help her discover designers, and to help her think about how to consider new pieces on the website.”
LaBudde aims to continue adding labels to the site while simultaneously maintaining a carefully curated selection, as well as expand the service beyond the U.S.