Featured DNVB: Taylor & Hart
DNVB List: Hi, thanks for chatting with us!
Taylor & Hart: You bet, we like what you guys are doing. There’s a lot of noise on the web these days so it can be tough to find new and interesting brands.
DL: That’s why we started DNVB List. There’s a lot of cool brands out there that most people aren’t aware of. Our goal is to help consumers find them while helping the brands increase awareness and sell product, it’s a win-win!
Speaking of brands…Taylor & Hart! Tell us more, how did it get started?
T&H: Yes! It started with our two founders, David and Nikolay, who were friends in high school in South Africa. Their paths separated after high school when Nikolay left for England for university and David started his own business in the diamond trade. While in England Nikolay got involved in digital marketing projects and worked for several companies in related roles. So with Nikolay’s e-commerce experience and David’s diamond expertise, they decided to start an online jewelry business.
T&H: Yeah, the idea itself actually came about when Nikolay was looking for an engagement ring for his girlfriend not long after he and David talked about starting the online jewelry business. Going through the experience as a consumer led to them both feeling the industry could be improved by offering better value online while maintaining a high level of service that’s not typical for most online companies.
DL: An obsessive focus on customer experience is one of the classic characteristics we use when defining a digitally-native vertical brand (DNVB), so you’re speaking our language. From the outside there seems to be a lot of competition in the form of brick-and-mortar stores with companies like Jared, Zale, Helzberg, etc., not to mention department stores and local mom-and-pops. Can you speak a bit more to the jewelry industry itself?
T&H: Yeah, the jewelry industry is big and is still growing quickly, in particular thanks to emerging economies and online sales. As a whole the industry is well over $100B worldwide and of that, the online portion is only 10%. There’s tons of runway online and it’s growing at 20% annually, so yeah, we think there’s an enormous opportunity for online jewelers.
DL: Sounds like there’s certainly room to grow purely online, but does Taylor & Hart have plans to go brick-and-mortar in the future, or perhaps a hybrid model?
T&H: Yeah, we think a hybrid “clicks-and-bricks” business model is the way forward, offering customers the best of online as well as the traditional store. This gives customers the convenience, choice, and value of the online business model, with the service, trust and touch-and-feel of the traditional store. Figuring out how to scale such a model, however, that’s going to be one of our challenges.
DL: “Clicks-and-bricks”, I like that phrase! Why go the custom route, rather than off-the-shelf or pre-made goods?
T&H: When Nick was buying his engagement ring, he realized early on he wanted to make this emotional product special; add a personal touch. Most companies he approached for a custom ring weren’t specializing in this and the cost reflected that. Their quotes were high and the timelines were 2–3 months.
After designing his own ring and finding the designers and craftsmen to produce it, he found other people were also looking for an experience like this. In fact, a recent study by The Knot suggested that over 45% of all people getting engaged today in the US are buying a custom ring.
DL: Wow, 45%. That’s a lot!
T&H: Yeah, and that’s only growing. Twenty years ago “custom” would not have been easily accessible or affordable to most, but thanks to innovations like 3D CAD design and 3D printing, it’s now at a price point similar to that of off-the-shelf jewelry.
DL: Very cool. Where do most of Taylor & Hart’s customers come from?
T&H: They’re mostly what we call HENRYs (High Earner, Not Rich Yet). Typically these are folks who work in tech, finance, banking, consulting, marketing, are fellow entrepreneurs, etc. They’re millennials around 27–35 and often shop with their partner, or at least she or he have nudged their ideas in some way. Most customers find us through referrals, Google Search, or via our inspirational social media channels like Pinterest and Instagram.
DL: “HENRYs”, another phrase I need to remember! I bet you’ve got some great customer stories. Can you share any?
T&H: Oh, absolutely, we love getting those stories! I remember the stories about Forrest and Andrew, and Shannon and Ali being good ones. You can read more on our blog. Some of our customers design unique dragon or lobster rings, others think custom-made means a small unique touch, like engraving the cardiograph of your heart onto the inside of the band…
DL: Back to business, what are some of T&H’s short- and long-term goals? Any plans to expand into new lines or new products altogether?
T&H: In the short-term our goals are to open a showroom in the US, which just happens to be the largest bridal jewelry market in the world. We’re already getting 25% of our sales from the US and think we can increase that number significantly.
Long-term we see Taylor & Hart as a brand known for custom-made jewelry with a robust online presence coupled with physical stores and pop-ups across the US, but also China, Europe, Australia, and South Africa.
DL: Well, we’re excited to see where Taylor & Hart goes over the years. Thank you for being one of our Featured DNVB’s. Anything else to add?
T&H: Yes, we’d love to offer all DNVB List followers out there a promo code good for 5% off their first purchase with us. Just use DNVBTH5 at checkout! *
DL: Awesome, thanks for that, we’ll pass that along! Keep us posted on how things are going and let us know how we can continue to support your growth. We’re committed to supporting all DNVBs out there!
T&H: We will, thanks!
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- This code can only be used by customers on their first order with Taylor & Hart. This code can’t be used in conjunction with any other code. This offer cannot be used in conjunction with finance plans. Please quote the code with your design consultant.