Jewelry line, Mejuri is the latest brand to prove that Millennial-izing a company strategy holds the potential to win big. In the past year, it improved sales by nearly 500 percent, mostly due to its digital-first approach. What this looks like in closer view is a robust social strategy that optimizes its digital presence as an ongoing customer dialogue with smartphone-centric communication and optimized production.
Mejuri reveals new product in weekly drops to analyze product popularity in real-time, and keep production overhead low. This in turn benefits the consumer — a savvy Millennial shopper who not only craves regular refreshes, but also looks for a steal. Product pricing is accurate, resulting in steady revenue that’s not dependent on shopping occasions like holiday.
According to the brand, drops sell out within 24 hours and its waitlist for staple items boast wait lists of 17,000 customers. Centered on its customer-first ethos that delivers heightened digital functionality, it should serve as an example for large jewelry brands amid the rocky retail landscape.
Here, cofounders Majed Masad and Noura Sakkijha discuss digital-first strategies, how Millennials are reshaping the jewelry market and relying on data for growth.
WWD: What in the market signaled drops as the best approach for the business? What have been the benefits?
Noura Sakkijha: We believe the age of launching seasonal collections is no longer relevant with consumers. Instead of building our business around quarterly launches and planning six months in advance, we created weekly editions. Every Monday, we launch on average two to five new pieces, alongside a new narrative because we believe our community should make luxury a habit.
By dropping weekly collections, we break the norms of fine jewelry being an occasional purchase. Forty percent of our revenue is from repeat consumers. Forget occasions; she treats herself 365 days a year. This means we out-market seasonality, so our business is significantly less volatile than traditional products.
We decided to produce handcrafted designs in small batches, which allow us to ensure the highest quality and consistency. By producing in batches, we often sell out of products and in order to forecast demand, we create wait lists. A customer can add their e-mail or phone number to get SMS or e-mail when we restock the product. Currently, more than 30,000 have signed up for launches to get early access and our waitlists for already launched products extend more than 18,000.
Majed Masad: We are able to go from ideation to full production in three or four weeks. This means as soon we determine a trend, we can release a product that reflects it immediately, so we offer products you want to wear right now. We test many products throughout our 52 yearly editions; and if one doesn’t hit, we learn by analyzing the data and iterate quickly.
WWD: What were key factors in the substantial year-on-year growth?
N.S.: Most of our significant growth is word of mouth (65 percent, in fact). Our community has opinions and we encourage open dialogue and conversation. We believe in the power of testimonials, transparency and feedback, customer happiness, and a straightforward approach to creating an awesome experience.
We treat this dialogue as an opportunity to educate and learn. By our community voicing what they love, we combine their qualitative feedback with quantitative data that has become the backbone of our decision-making. We are a fine jewelry company, but also a tech company. Our use of data and custom-built systems allow us significant insights into consumer behavior. This has resulted in our near 4.5-times year-over-year growth and selling about 80,000 pieces in the last 12 months.
WWD: How do you feel that Millennials are shaping the jewelry market?
M.M.: Millennials are shaping every consumer product market. We want brands to align with our values. Offering a product without context isn’t enough anymore. The brand story and ethos need to align with what’s important to the consumer. We release weekly capsules that convey our values as a direct-to-consumer brand.
N.S.: By being digital-first, our customer can experience a product in a space that fits into their every day, not one that feels prohibitive. Further, we’re transparent about our processes, from where pieces are made, the materials used, and the artisans behind the craftsmanship.
We coined the term “everyday fine jewelry” to democratize an inherently exclusive industry. Jewelry is an industry that previously catered to men to purchase for women. While we love gifting, our customers are primarily women purchasing for themselves.
WWD: How does having a Millennial-led company differ from a traditional model?
N.S.: We’ve created a community-centric culture within and around our company, which ensures each of our community members has a voice and a vote to influence brand and product. Our team is 75 percent women, and our community is 87 percent women. Our consumer is truly reflected in who we are.
M.M.: It also allows us to innovate our marketing based on our behavior. We offer the ability to get a text about a re-stock because we check our SMS more frequently than our e-mails. You can track your orders on your profile, because we always get impatient waiting for our shipments, too!
Our customer happiness team operates on text, social and e-mail, not phone calls with queues; our Instagram is a living, breathing feedback and discussion board for our team and community. These digital adaptations allow us to be more personal. We’re people and a company, not a faceless brand.
This also means our team functions like a tech company: we test fast and fail fast. We focus on innovation and changing consumer experience at a rapid pace, and by being nimble we can pivot into new technologies in very short time periods.
Adaptability will always reign supreme in digital, particularly as innovations and platforms get exponentially faster. Dreaming up a product, bringing it to market, and marketing it via our community in three weeks will always be advantageous over the traditional time periods.
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