The brand, launched at the end of September, is part of the De Beers Group of Companies’ Element Six, a maker of synthetic diamonds.
Lightbox is selling through its online shop and initially tested a temporary store at The Oculus shopping center in New York in November. Now, it’s bringing its 400-square-foot traveling store to the West Coast with another pop-up at Westfield Century City. Different this time is the fact that the company will actually have physical inventory on hand for consumers to purchase and will also debut a heart-cut diamond pendant and earrings, marking the first time it’s experimenting with a fancier shape.
The diamonds, not factoring in the cost of the setting, start at $200 for a quarter carat on up to $800 for a carat.
Market visibility is key for Lightbox with the eventual goal to build out a wholesale business, which is expected to come once the company’s manufacturing facility in Gresham, Ore., is completed next year.
“Our long-term strategy remains unchanged. In time, we absolutely plan to progress to wholesale supply to the brick-and-mortar retailers and our plan is certainly to do that with a few, select partners and then we’ll ramp up in 2020 when the new production site comes online,” said Lightbox chief executive officer Steve Coe. “At the moment, we’re very pleased with how the e-commerce has gone. I think we’re learning a lot from that. In particular, we found the first pop-up [at Oculus] very helpful for understanding customers’ perspectives on the brand.”
In the meantime, one of the greatest hurdles to gaining market share is educating consumers on what lab-grown even means.
“One thing that’s become very clear since the pop-up in New York and all the feedback we’ve had across the various social channels is that there is still very substantial consumer confusion about what this product actually is,” said Lightbox chief marketing officer Sally Morrison. “There is just sort of a bit of a mess out there right now where honestly lots of people don’t understand how these things are differentiated. So that was a big learning, which we suspected.”
Extensive training for the salesforce obviously comes into play to solve that pain point at the brick-and-mortar level. Education can also be done through its online site, the executives pointed out.
There’s also simply the in-person service that can be had in store and that selling jewelry generally requires, especially for a new brand looking to make waves in the market.
“It helps us whittle in further, deeper conversations and weed out what some of the questions are that we didn’t know we had to address online,” Morrison said of physical stores. “It’s a feedback loop….Jewelry is one of those high-touch categories where people like to touch it and feel it and see it with their own eyes before they actually purchase so, for us, it helps build confidence in a brand that’s four months old.”
The company is considering additional pop-ups this year, Coe said, likely in other markets beyond California and New York but still within the U.S.
Lightbox’s Westfield Century City pop-up opens Feb. 8 and remains open through Feb. 14. The company’s also leaning heavily on influencers to build buzz around the store with various events planned, including cookie decorating with Design Love Fest’s Bri Emery and a mommy-and-me event with Front Roe’s Louise Roe.