I had the pleasure of interviewing Slisha Kankariya of Fourmine.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
Becoming an entrepreneur was all about positively disrupting the industry I grew up in. I’m a third generation jeweller in the diamond industry.
My company Four Mine bridges the gap between online and offline shopping, replacing the uncertainties of traditional shopping with a hands on experience at home.
Consumers try replicas of their favorite ring styles before they buy. I decided to start this company to change the way consumers think about and shop for jewelry online and eliminate the need to ever walk into a jewelry store again.
Being an entrepreneur is not just about having an idea, it’s about effectively using industry knowledge and customer insights to solve a problem for a customer. In this way, you’re transforming and causing positive changes within an industry and carving out a place for yourself.
Why did you found your company?
Starting a business is all about taking calculated risks and making better decisions. It’s important to treat your business like you would a science experiment. Have performance metrics that you track, have a budget and a timeline for any marketing changes that you make. This is a smarter way to grow and also alleviates stress and confusion.
What is it about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
Large business (especially in traditional industries) start to neglect evolving customer needs as they grow. Millennials crave low prices, convenient shopping, on-demand product availability, and a personalized shopping experience.
Traditional in-store jewelry shopping is inconvenient and uncomfortable, however online shopping lacks the ability to view and experience the ring before purchasing. We’ve combined the best of online shopping with the ability to see rings before you buy.
With our Free At Home Preview, customers can preview 3 rings that mimic the look, and feel of a real diamond engagement ring before they buy. Our replica rings are 3D printed and crafted with diamond simulants and a metal alloy that looks like gold. By catering directly to all the needs of the millennial consumer, we’re able to combat the big players in the industry head- on. We give consumers the ability to shop as a couple or alone in the comfort of their own homes- with the product in their hands.
We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors?
Accelerators have a transformative and magical power to enable startups. They empower them to form the right growth trajectory and connections so that they have the best chance of success. We were a part of the Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator in NYC last year as a part of their summer cohort along with 9 other startups. The benefits are endless. Personal growth in terms of confidence, pitching, and speaking intelligently about the business landscape is just one. As a part of the accelerator we had the opportunity to learn and meet with higher level execs of relevant and inspirational companies that many would dream of being mentored by.
We had the attention of angel investors, angel groups and venture capitalists that would otherwise have been too difficult to approach. Finally we had the support, and camaraderie of the accelerator founders who have a wealth of knowledge about what it takes for a startup to succeed as well as the benefit of learning and working alongside the 9 other motivated startup teams that were a part of our class.
As a result of Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator we were able to quickly raise angel investments as well as a series seed round backed by a venture capital firm in NYC. We still turn to the founders of the accelerator and the connections we made through the program for advice. The growth was immense and lessons we learned were and still are invaluable.
How are you going to shake things up next?
Combining digital and physical experiences is the best way to ensure that you win over customers. Engagement ring shopping is a stressful purchase as it is high in monetary value as well as emotional. With our company Four Mine, we have combined the best of online and offline shopping to give customers the most stress-free experience. We send them realistic replicas of their favorite diamond engagement ring styles from our onsite catalog to sample before they buy. This gets them over the fear of shopping online. When they find a style they love, they return to our user friendly website to customize their ring. They can choose the metal, size, and pair the ring with one of over 200,000 GIA certified, natural and conflict free diamonds.
We find that this blend of online and offline, along with an emphasis on providing customers with a on-demand and at home experience has really won over our customer. We’ve seen 10x growth in the last year! We’re finding that this unique blend really addresses the needs of our customers and caters to their various shopping preferences. We’re going to continue with our Home Preview and expand it out to other jewelry types. We want to become the household name for easy and convenient jewelry shopping.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
1. Starting a business is all about taking calculated risks and making better decisions. It’s important to treat your business like you would a science experiment. Have performance metrics that you track, have a budget and a timeline for any marketing changes that you make. This is a smarter way to grow and also alleviates stress and confusion.
2. Find a a unique point of view and ensure that you have set yourself apart from your competitors. This creates a defensible moat around your business and gives customers a reason to by from you. In the long run this is a more definitive way to grow and prosper.
3. You need to get out there and test all your experiments. If you have ideas, find ways to experiment with them, prove them and take them further. Don’t focus on theory, go forward and just DO. You will make mistakes, but this is the best way to achieve results and to learn. Learning from experience is the best way to move forward. Take advice, but be clear and follow your own compass. Never lose sight of your path. Don’t be afraid to pivot if you need to and be confident and fearless.