Yet another dot-com jewelry operation has become a casualty of the cyber wars. Enjewel-the New York-based e-commerce firm that connected consumers with jewelry and watch manufacturers, jewelry designers, and retailers in the U.S. and Canada-alerted its affiliates yesterday that the company was closing.
Jewelers and investors confirmed that an e-mail message was sent to Enjewel affiliates stating that the company was closing. Last week, it was rumored that the staff had been told they would soon be out of jobs. The Enjewel toll-free customer service line, 1-866-ENJEWEL (365-3935), was disconnected.
Enjewel CEO Sheldon Ginsberg, declined comment, except to say, ”In a few days, we will tell you what you need to know.”
He confirmed that the site’s ”shopping cart” has been enabled and is no longer taking orders.
Backers told JCK they still believe in the model, but say the market has turned its back on dot-coms, and the site couldn’t get further funding.
”Samuel Gordon Jewelers and several other progressive retailers had very high hopes that the Enjewel concept would be a success,” says Gary Gordon, president of Samuel Gordon Jewelers, Oklahoma City.
”Although we are disappointed at the closing of Enjewel, there is one positive aspect,” Gordon adds. ”That is this experience has demonstrated that bricks-and-mortar retailers have always been successful and probably always will be-that the customer wants an attractive environment, an attractive product, and to be able to see it, touch it, and feel it. This is what bricks-and-mortar retail stores offer. From this standpoint, I’m not terribly disappointed.”
The company was founded in January 1999 in a Jackson Hole, Wy., cafe by a group of jewelry industry veterans.
Founding Jewelers were Bachendorf’s, Diamond Cellar, Fink’s Jewelers, Greve Jewelers, Hamilton Jewelers, Hyde Park Jewelers, Lee Michaels Jewelers, London Jewelers, Lux Bond & Green, and Tivol Jewels.
Founding Manufacturers were Honora, Lagos, Lazare Kaplan International, M. Fabrikant & Sons, Leslie & Penny for Penny Preville, Inc., and Scott Kay Platinum.
The board of directors consisted of some of the biggest names in the jewelry industry. In addition to Ginsberg, they were:
Andy Johnson – Founder, President, The Diamond Cellar
Joel Schechter – President & CEO, Honora
John Green – President & CEO – Lux, Bond & Green
Steven Lagos – Founder & CEO, Lagos
Tom Tivol – President & CEO, Tivol Jewels
Leon Tempelsman – Vice Chairman & President, Lazare Kaplan International
Gary Anstey – Senior Managing Director, THCG, Inc.
The site was up and running by September 2000. By the time of its demise, it included approximately 300 retail jewelers members and more than 100 manufacturer members.
Although Enjewel was technically a ‘pure-play’ site, a complicated formula included retailers and manufactures in the mix, as well in the profit and increased business. Under the business model, consumers could buy jewelry from the Enjewel network by entering a participating retailer’s site, a participating manufacturer’s site or the Enjewel site. Each sale of jewelry was linked to a local affiliated retailer with a profit sharing and service arrangement for the retailer.