Jesper Nielsen is aiming for 500 stores by the end of 2018
Endless Jewelry founder Jesper Nielsen, who split from his former company last week, is already on to his next project: a global retailer he’s billing as the “H&M of jewelry.”
Amazing Jewelry, Nielsen’s new Zurich-based company, is modeled after apparel chains like Zara, H&M, and Primark, which sell proprietary items with minimal markup.
The franchise stores “will sell all the trends, but we will do it at half or a third the price,” says Nielsen, who in addition to heading Endless, was a former executive at Pandora. “Items that cost $300 elsewhere will cost $100 with us.”
The company can price things so low because it will manufacture its products at an Asian factory, so there is “no distribution channel,” Nielsen says. He’s also opting for lower margins: “At Pandora and Endless we had an EBITDA of 40 percent. That is sensational. I am willing to accept the lower EBITDA.”
In addition to lower EBITDA, the items will also bear lower prices (though he specifies they will all be “fine,” as opposed to “fashion” jewelry). The highest priced item will sell for $100.
“We are losing the mid-range segment all over the world,” he says. “People want Cartier, Bulgari, or they want cheap. Hopefully, we would get a lot of new customers interested in fine jewelry.”
The new stores are “extremely modern,” he says, styled by the designers behind the W hotels and new Victoria’s Secret stores.
“They will be black, with soft lights and music,” he says. “It will be the kind of store we have never seen before in our industry.”
The first store opens in Copenhagen, Denmark, in May. Next come stores in Germany, Scandinavia, and the United Kingdom. He hopes to open his first store in the United States, as well as Russia and China, next year. The goal is to have 40 to 50 stores by mid-2017 and 500 by the end of 2018.
The stores will all be franchises, and Nielsen believes in that model.
“If you are just an employee, you can be good, but not as good as when you are running your own business,” he says. “I want 500 kings and queens.”
He doesn’t have any firm U.S. franchisees yet but is talking to several prospective partners, he says.
For contractual reasons, he may carry Endless items in the stores, though he says those items are “too expensive [for this concept]. Endless does the normal jewelry calculation.”