David Minster Becomes CEO of Judith Ripka’s Wholesale Division

The veteran jewerly exec wants to make the brand more modern as well as giftable

Former Scott Kay CEO and David Yurman exec David Minster has joined Judith Ripka as CEO of its wholesale division, the latter company announced today.

Minster (pictured) has also held positions at Elizabeth Arden and Unilever. He has worked for Ripka since September.

Evert DeGraeve, a former executive from Yurman, Mikimoto, and Harry Winston, is spearheading creative and merchandising. Fran Pennella, head of Benali Consulting, will spearhead marketing and branding. Pennella has 17 years of jewelry experience and has worked for David Yurman, Maurice Lacroix, Mastoloni, and JCK Events.

Indian company KGK holds the wholesale license to Ripka, and the new team works for KGK. Xcel Brands purchased the company in 2014 and oversees all marketing, branding, and design.

Judith Ripka herself is staying involved as an on-air spokesperson for QVC and chief designer.

Minster says the Ripka brand still has a strong consumer fan base, and the new team hopes to give its traditional DNA a more modern spin.

“The Judith Ripka DNA tends to be vintage and use big bold colors and has skewed toward an older consumer,” Minster says. “We want to take that and give it a more modern interpretation so those collectors will give their daughters and granddaughters a piece of Judith Ripka jewelry, so they, too, become collectors.”

It also wants to make the line more “giftable.”

“Unlike other brands, the Judith Ripka consumer tends to collect the jewelry,” he says. “The self collector has always been there, but as a retailer you are missing half the sale. The traditional DNA didn’t lend to itself to being giftable, to being given for Mother’s Day or another holiday you want to celebrate with jewelry.”

KGK also owns the Gregg Ruth and Martin Flyer brands, and the wholesale company will leverage its “mine-to-market infrastructure,” Minster says.

One thing not in the cards, at least for now: Ripka retail stores.

“Xcel decided not to move forward with retail,” Minster says. “That doesn’t mean in the future we won’t bring back a flagship, but for now we are focusing on selling to retailers.”


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JCK News Director

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