Founded by former eBay executive, Iconery is changing the way we buy and sell fine jewelry. Combining years of experience in ecom and retail, and new experiences with 3D printing and influencer marketing, Iconery is a marketplace that truly empowers commerce for influencers in the fine jewelry space. I had the pleasure of speaking with Ivka about what makes Iconery sparkle.Ivka Adam,
LM: Why don't you start by giving me a snapshot of you and the company?
IA: I started the company three years ago. We launched September 15, 2015. We work specifically with influencers, brands, and celebrities to produce branded products.
LM: Tell me a little bit about your origin story. Why did you start the brand? What was the starting point?
IA: I started my e-commerce career at ebay during the mid to early 2000s, and I saw the pros and cons of what it takes to be a seller who is really passionate about a particular product. After that, I ran mobile and marketing for a fashion retailer in LA, and saw what it was like to hold over 8 million dollars in inventory and the challenges that come with that. At the same time, about three or four years ago, I was really fascinated with this idea of 3D printing inside jewelry, and the ability to design a piece without ever having made it. At the same time, influencers in commerce started to poke its head out. I put all these different things that I learned together.
No one else is helping influencers create their own brand product in the fine jewelry space. There are a lot of other categories that are handled. For instance, you can go create your own makeup line, and it's easy to find manufactures to do T-shirts, but it is extremely difficult and expensive to find someone that will help you do this in fine jewelry. So, that's where we started. Now, the cool thing is that we have a supply chain where we are able to produce everything on demand, so we don't hold any inventory.
The other really nice thing is that we can test influencers, very quickly, and how their audiences will resonate with a fine jewelry collection. We can launch with several different styles and price points, but pretty quickly we can see which pieces, styles, and price points do the best, and then we optimize for those.
We're doing something different. When we are working with influencers, we're not doing collaborations. These aren't co-branded products. We are truly launching these collections on their behalf.
LM: Do you think that this was a "right time, right place" scenario, with the commoditization of influencers and the ability to print on demand? Is this something you think someone else would have come up with naturally?
IA: Oh, that's an interesting question. There were a couple of market dynamics that were coming into play three years ago when I started this. One, we were coming out of the recession, so the price of gold happened to be at a place where it made sense to go into fine jewelry again. People were starting to buy fine jewelry again. Also, influencers had seen so much success from pushing other people's products and making 15% affiliate commission, but they were starting to want to create their own branded products. The fine jewelry industry hasn't truly been disrupted. It's still one of those industries with incredibly high margins. It's an 80 billion-dollar industry in the US alone - so high margins, very huge market - and a lot of people are trying to figure out, "What's the right way to disrupt this industry?" I think we've found the right way to do it.
LM: Talk to us a little bit about why you think you have been so successful?
IA: It's two things. Influencers wanting to have their own brand, and wanting to create a brand in the luxury space. There're so many opportunities for them to create iPhone cases, T-shirts, hats - lower-cost items, even fast-fashion products - but there aren't a lot of ways for them to truly create something in the accessible luxury space. We can also design a piece in a couple of hours, and have it ready for sale in a couple of days, at a very low cost. We like to say that it takes two months for us to get someone live, but in reality, we can do it a lot quicker. They're not having to wait in a 6-month production cycle to get an apparel line live; they are getting something live very rapidly.
Within our first year, I think we did twelve or thirteen full collections. It also gives us the opportunity to have our own brand of products. If someone's going to come to Iconery to buy a Rashida Jones or a Stone Fox Bride piece, they probably also want nice staple pieces, and we want to give them those without them looking elsewhere for those basics. It didn't make sense for us to attach a celebrity to them, or give away that royalty margin. So we do have an iconic collection of basics.
LM: And what are the pieces that are having the most impact that you are seeing now?
IA: The great thing about jewelry is that styles stay in vogue. They kind of hold their style for quite some time. One of our all-time best selling pieces is the dainty opal ring that's part of the Wren collection. Opals are still very popular. Our other best-selling item is the nameplate necklace that we make. We give women the ability to get something with the perfect size, the perfect font. You can go to Etsy for things, but we can turn it around very quickly, and you get exactly what you want. I would say that those are two of our bestsellers.
LM: If you were to pick three words to describe your brand, what would those be?
IA: I have three words that we use to describe everything that we do with the company. Everything we do - the leaders we work with, the influencers we work with, the people we hire - we look for people who are kind, cool, and connected. The kind part is first and foremost every single time. We only work with people that are very nice, have high integrity, and are really good people. The cool part - as a brand, you have to have that cool factor, and have something that is sexy, unique, and interesting. As for connected - we want to work with people that are connected to the world, connected to their passion, connected to the people in the community around them, and ultimately connected in a way that spreads the word about their brand and our brand.
LM: That's great. What's next for you guys? What's next in terms of product development, and in terms of partnerships?
IA: To date, we've powered collections that are sold in Iconery.com. We are starting to get in the business of truly powering other people's commerce; working with bigger celebrities and influencers, and from start to finish, helping them create their brand; powering their website, being the experts on their marketing/pricing/distribution. We want to be the Luxottica Group of fine jewelry.
We can't wait to see what else Iconery has got up their sleeves.