Thinking like a tech company has fueled the remarkable growth of fine jewelry brand Mejuri

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Photo: Courtesy of Mejuri

Mejuri founder Noura Sakkijha has big aspirations, but she’s not afraid to fail. In fact, she rejoices in failure – and even sees it as a crucial learning tool for doing business.

“We cultivate a culture of experimentation and expect many of our experiments to fail,” she says over the phone from Toronto, Canada, where her company is based. “We really encourage it.”

According to Sakkijha, it’s just one of many things that looks more like a tech entrepreneur than a “fashion person”, despite the fact that her company Mejuri is a decidedly fashionable high jewelry brand. .

A third-generation jeweler from Jordan, Sakkijha launched Mejuri with her husband Majed Massad in 2013 using a business model centered around crowdsourcing. In 2015, the couple relaunched the brand with the help of Sakkijha’s brother, Masoud Sakkijha, and the brand has since evolved from crowdsourcing to an in-house design team.

Although the brand no longer relies on design submissions, lessons learned from the early stages of Mejuri – iterating often and listening carefully to customer feedback – still inform the very appropriate Silicon Valley way of running Mejuri today. . The brand handles everything from creating the online store to in-house influencer relations to ensure the customer experience is perfectly calibrated every time.

Mejuri also drops micro collections every week rather than releasing larger collections once or twice a year like a traditional jewelry brand would. In addition to keeping the product selection always fresh for customers, this method helps the brand assess which pieces resonate so they can quickly create more variations on products that are selling well.

This iterative process, combined with the network of jewelry makers from Sakkijha’s history in the family business, means that Mejuri can create new pieces with remarkable speed, given the handcrafted nature of his pieces. But she insists that despite its focus on speed of execution and its ambitious goal of making Mejuri “the number one global jewelry brand”, Mejuri will never be the jewelry equivalent of a jewelry giant. fast fashion like Zara.

“Everything is handmade in small batches, so we don’t create very large batches of products,” says Justine Lançon, Mejuri’s creative director, in a phone interview. “That’s the main difference with fast fashion.”

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Photo: Courtesy of Mejuri

Photo: Courtesy of Mejuri

Still, some of Mejuri’s pieces boast prices not too far from the high street despite being made of materials like solid gold, diamonds, or gold vermeil. Priced at $29 for mini hoops and $950 for an engagement ring, the brand is trying to bridge the gap between expensive fine jewelry and cheap, breakable costume jewelry. The goal is to create pieces that customers don’t need a special occasion to wear or buy.

It’s easy to see why Mejuri’s offering of high-quality, fashionable jewelry at a relatively low price would be appealing to its largely female millennial clientele. That he claims to produce pieces ethically in intimate workshops in Toronto and Seoul certainly doesn’t hurt in an increasingly conscious consumer market either.

A more discerning jewelry shopper might notice that the brand’s claims that its “diamonds are conflict-free” and that it works “exclusively with suppliers who guarantee ethical sources” are largely softball claims – that is to say that the brand relies on the certification of its suppliers by the tastes of Kimberley Process and the Responsible Jewelery Councilboth of which have been widely criticized for creating deeply inadequate standards when it comes to implementing environmental and human rights protections.

Asked about the possibility of using recycled gold, Sakkijha says it’s not really environmentally friendly, but then adds “I’m not an expert on this” when asked to cite sources that led her to this conclusion. Still, the fact that Mejuri goes out of its way to ease customers’ consciences about where and how their pieces are made shows that the brand has a better understanding of its target customer’s values ​​than many competitors. And for the average consumer, that’s probably more than enough.

It is the keen understanding of the next generation of fine jewelry customers who are working so hastily in favor of Mejuri. The brand maintained 400% year-over-year growth at scale, selling more pieces in one week of 2018 than the full year of 2017, according to an email from the brand. Mejuri also recently secured investment from Felix Capital, an investor who also backs Goop and Farfetch, and opened its first US store in New York in the fall with plans for more physical spaces to follow.

At this rate, Mejuri could truly become a global superstar in the jewelry world within a few years.

“Our aspirations are quite huge,” says Sakkijha. “Yes, we’re a fine jewelry brand, but that doesn’t mean we can’t operate as a technology company when it comes to business.”

This article has been updated to clarify that Mejuri’s suppliers, not the brand itself, are certified by the Kimberley Process and the Responsible Jewelery Council.

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