Richline Buys Gemvara



The Boston-based e-tailer has technology no one else has, says Richline

Richline Group has purchased Gemvara, the Boston-based e-tailer specializing in custom jewelry.

Deal terms were not disclosed.

“We have been interested in building a bigger digital footprint for Richline,” says Richline chief marketing officer Mark Hanna. “Gemvara is a good online retailer of jewelry based on a unique platform. That is their niche. It’s a good fit for us. It’s a place we aren’t in.”

Hanna sees several possible benefits from the acquisition for Richline:

– It will approach its major retail customers about adapting Gemvara’s personalization technology. “We don’t believe any major retailer has the capability the same way they do it. If they are interested we could provide some variation of the Gemvara platform.”

– Richline will receive an advanced course in digital marketing. “We see Gemvara not just as a profit center but as a testing lab. It’s a business from which we can learn a lot.”

– It will have access to a steady stream of info about consumer buying patterns. “We have developed many private label programs. Getting closer to the consumer and understanding them better is better for all our customers. We don’t have gigantic designs on B2C, but we would like to understand that environment better so we can become better strategic marketers and producers for our customers.”

Hanna doesn’t foresee any change in Gemvara’s leadership or locale. “The guys who are leading it will continue to, which is how we have always done it with acquisitions. Our main thrust in any of these acquisitions is to bring together efficiencies and leave the front end.” 

According to BostInno, the purchase sparked an undisclosed number of layoffs, but most of the company’s employees have not been affected.

The move is an unusual one for Richline, which has never before purchased a B2C brand. However, for the past year, Richline has been “supporting” another B2C site, Jewelry.com, Hanna says. That website is owned by Ofer Azrielant, who sold Andin to Richline in 2009. The company is looking at ways to integrate the two sites.

Richline is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, the Omaha, Neb.–based holding company chaired by billionaire Warren Buffett.

The company was cofounded by students Jason Reuben and Matt Lauzon in 2006 as Paragon Lake.

(Photo courtesy of Richline)

JCK News Director