A single question bonded two MBA students and led to their starting a business together: What do you do with your favorite piece of jewelry if it breaks and you don’t have a relationship with a local jeweler who can repair it?
Louma Bachrach and Jesse Johnson say their company, By Vive, represents a new approach to a much-needed service. They describe it as an online aftercare concierge, which uses a network of verified artisans to repair and care for luxury jewelry and handbags.
“Customers have an expectation that if they buy luxury, there is a promise of longevity there. What we try to communicate to our clients is that [By Vive’s services] are not only good for the planet, they are good for profits and branding,” Bachrach says.
The cofounders—who met in 2021 while attending IE Business School in Madrid and workshopped their company idea with classmates—debuted By Vive in 2022 and are scaling it quickly with individual customers, corporate clients, retailers, and resale companies.
Pretty sophisticated for two graduate students? Well, these weren’t your ordinary students. Bachrach was an e-commerce veteran whose work history included a stint at Amazon. Johnson came from a jewelry background: His family had a jewelry-repair company turned retail store in Ohio. The friends took what they learned from previous jobs to create a white-glove service where they see unlimited potential as the luxury market grows.
“We’re extremely passionate about aftercare. We believe it is a lot sexier than a lot of people think it is,” Bachrach says. “A lot of brands put off aftercare, seeing it as an annoying part of their operations. They feel like they have to do it. But we see it as a great part of the industry. We want to empower more brands to explore aftercare and how much their customers can enjoy it.”
In the jewelry industry, several recent moves suggest a greater focus on providing services for jewelry owners—among them, Signet’s purchase of SJR National Repair Center and plans to convert the Blue Nile fulfillment center in Seattle into a central repair facility for all of Signet’s brands. In its quarterly sales report released Aug. 31, Signet noted that repairs, warranties, and extended service contracts are going to make up a larger part of its overall growth.
Moreover, at the Conversations in Park City industry conference in September, Jewelers Mutual brought in Trove CEO Andy Ruben as a speaker, giving jewelry brands and retailers a look at the resale market as a potential revenue source.
The name By Vive alludes to the idea of reviving your favorite possessions, from a high-end necklace that needs replating or a new clasp to that couture handbag you spilled a drink on. Bachrach says she wanted the word life in the company name, to let people know that their products would come back to life through its services (vive means lives in Spanish, French, and Italian).
Bachrach came to her career with an international perspective. She grew up in Munich—her parents had immigrated from Israel, and her grandparents have roots in Czechoslovakia, Lithuania, and Italy. As a student, she volunteered in Tanzania. She joined Amazon for what was supposed to be a one-year gig but stayed for five years.
“My parents told me to go out into the world, and I always dreamed of starting a company in the United States because it felt far away and so big,” Bachrach says. “I started doing work in the tech world.… I was one of the first five hires for Amazon in its accelerator programs. It was great to be within the Amazon ecosystem. But five years at Amazon is like dog years—it felt like I had been there for 100 years by the time I left.”
Johnson’s entrepreneurial story began with trading vintage guitars in college in 2015. That grew into trading watches, jewelry, handbags, and streetwear online—and finding ways to rejuvenate luxury items. In addition to getting this experience in the circular economy, he earned a GIA applied jewelry professional certification.
By Vive has succeeded because it’s built trust with brands and consumers, Johnson says. “We wanted it to be a luxury experience. So we had to address everything we did from that lens, whether it was the imagery or the communication we offer.
“So much effort is put into the sales process in jewelry, but many brands are horrible at aftercare,” he says. “That’s where we see opportunity. Customers want the same luxury experience after the sale as when they were buying it.”
Top: Louma Bachrach and Jesse Johnson cofounded By Vive, to provide aftercare services for jewelry and other luxury goods. (Photos courtesy of By Vive)@jckmagazine
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