While Blue Nile has predicted it would hit $1 billion before, Kell noted that the company’s sales are on track to hit $600 million this year and have grown roughly 20% during the pandemic. Blue Nile’s average price point has also risen, by 10 to 20%, Kell said.
The company also hopes to keep up its ongoing retail rollout. It just opened its 13th showroom this week, in King of Prussia, Pa., and plans to open another store in Short Hills, N.J., soon. By the end of the year, it hopes to reach 18 showrooms.
Jennifer Licata, who worked for Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton, was hired as the the company’s first vice president of stores in February.
Blue Nile is also offering more fashion-oriented and differentiated product. This week, it introduced a nongendered wedding band and engagement ring collection in collaboration with designer Zac Posen.
Some of the fashion-forward engagement rings offered in De Beers’ Ten/Ten collection had an “amazing reaction,” Kell told WWD. But De Beers’ lab-grown Lightbox brand, which Blue Nile has carried since last year, has not lived up to expectations.
“We honestly thought it would sell much more with the combination of a lower price point and some messaging around what lab stones are, that it would resonate,” Kell said. “I was surprised—they sold well, but I thought they would sell really well.”
Overall, Blue Nile’s customers have not “embraced” lab-grown diamonds, he added.
“You can come to our site and look at the difference between a 1 carat lab-grown stone and a natural diamond, and consumers are favoring to pay extra for the natural stones,” Kell said. “But I think the lab-grown stones are a good proposition and a great product—so we are not giving up on it.”
The company is also continuing its international push; around 20% of its sales now come from abroad, slightly higher than in the past. It is particularly focused on China.
“The Chinese consumer base is very exciting and incredibly energetic,” said Kell. “They love jewelry.”
Top: Zac Posen’s unisex collection (photo courtesy of Blue Nile)
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