Spurred by consumers’ appetite for fashion and fine designer jewelry and their affinity for shopping online, entrepreneurial Millennials Elliott and Adriel Darvish are launching Switch, a subscription jewelry rental service that aims to become the Rent The Runway of the jewelry market.
Playing to shoppers’ ever-changing tastes for a Kenneth Jay Lane beaded statement necklace or a Yves Saint Laurent Lolita Tassel Choker, the online platform, headquartered in West Hollywood, Calif. is currently in beta mode (www.joinswitch.com) with a launch set for later this summer.
For $29 a month, Switch offers members a chance to try a piece for an unlimited amount of time before switching it for another one. For $49, they can choose two at a time and for $69, three at a time from inventory from over 40 brands. Once a piece is returned — shipping is free both ways — a new one is sent out. If a member decides they want to keep a piece, they can purchase it for a percentage of the retail cost, similar to how they’d be charged if a piece became damaged or lost.
“It’s essentially try-before-you-buy,” said Elliott Darvish, 27, a former investment banker for Santa Monica, Calif.-based Sage group, where he advised clients including Intermix, Toms and J Brand. “We want to disrupt the jewelry industry and take the commitment out of it.”
Neither Elliott nor his attorney brother Adriel, 29, have formal jewelry or retail industry experience, but their mother Farnaz Abrishami owns an 11-year-old line of fashion jewelry called Chains + Pearls.
“We were inspired by watching her clients often struggle with the decision of whether to buy a piece,” said Adriel. “We saw an opportunity there, especially when jewelry holds up while clothes get worn-out more quickly.”
The brothers observed the tide turning toward a sharing economy, where ownership of objects isn’t as important as access to certain brands, at least for Millennials. That said, most pieces average only about $500 retail with some pieces by Chanel topping $1,000; there are also a few vintage items. Not only is Switch a marketing tool for their mother’s line and other emerging designers, it also offers a branded collection of gold and diamond “basics” such as diamond ear cuffs and bar earrings.
“We had those manufactured more as dainty fine jewelry staples, which we see as becoming a cornerstone of our platform as well, because customers are not always looking for a statement piece,” said Elliott.
As for how they manage inventory with no set rental timeframes, members rank their favorite pieces, and the highest-ranked pieces are sent out according to their availability.
“We don’t always know exactly what we will have in stock, but so far, members usually get their number one or two choices in every instance,” said Adriel.
A mobile app is in the offing, as is traditional e-commerce. The brothers said their goal is one million subscribers in five years. “The sky’s the limit. One of our long-term goals is to have a physical presence as well, where members can drop off or try on pieces.”