77 Diamonds, a small independent London company, has caused quite a stir in the shopping environment for jewelry by making bespoke jewelry in the UK and selling it online. The business was developed to cater to the change in consumer behavior of a generation that is more likely to meet their potential match by swiping right, than in person.
The online venture was founded by Tobias Kormind, his wife Ira and business partner Vadim Weinig in 2005, following a background at amongst others, Morgan Stanley. The aim was to create an online platform where customers could custom order any type of jewelry, to match any budget, without the need of an in-person consultation. “We want to be a modern version of Tiffany and be an aspirational brand,” says Kormind. “It’s not just about selling diamonds cheaply; it’s about craftsmanship. If you want people to refer you, you need to have that quality product, service and design.”
The jewelry can be as much as 70% cheaper than well-known brands, in part because the jewelers have direct access to diamonds from India, the US and Antwerp. This gives them access to nearly 400,000 stones, but they keep minimal stock in an effort to keep costs down. The company makes all its jewelry in the UK and employs skilled craftsmen, some of whom had previously done work for DeBeers and Cartier. “About 90% of the jewelry sold in the UK isn’t made here and we are clawing a little bit of that back,” Kormind says.
Since its humble beginnings, 77 Diamonds’ turnover grew from £400,000 ($500,000) to £2.4m. ($3m). Today sales near £18m ($22.4m) and, according to Kormind, are expected to rise to nearly £25m ($31m) this year. More recently, and as demand grew, the brand added a Mayfair showroom for customers who prefer the in-person consultation which is exclusively by appointment.