Multimedia Commerce Group, the owner of home-shopping jewelry channel JTV, has invested over $100 million in Jedora.com, a new direct-to-consumer jewelry site that will debut in October.
Jedora is intended to be a “one-stop shop” that will offer a wide range of jewelry and host storefronts from brands, some of which have never been sold online before.
Among the known names that will be featured on the site: Stephen Dweck, Beverley K, Le Vian, Miseno, Nanis, Honora, Bellarri, Gumuchian, Bayco, Zeghani by Simon G., Versace Watches, and Philip Stein Watches. The site will also carry generic product as well as an assortment of house brands. Influencers and designers will have pages where they can curate “shoppable looks.”
Jedora grew out of several years of brainstorming about ways to expand the jewelry market, says Tim Matthews, current president and CEO of Knoxville, Tenn.–based JTV, as well as CEO of Jedora.
“We have to be mindful of shifting consumer presences,” he says. “Some would argue younger consumers have less interest in traditional jewelry. A lot of diamond vendors have issues with financing and would like to have access to the U.S. retail market. Going into various mall stores, we are seeing a lot of sameness, particularly in bridal. We have been thinking about how we might leverage some of our core capabilities as an existing D2C company to reenergize the industry.”
While Jedora is hardly the first direct-to-consumer jewelry site, Matthews says its JTV connection will let it succeed where others have not.
Matthews feels that JTV has a “supply chain that is second to none.”
“We already have a substantial direct-to-consumer business. We handle 30,000 packages every day with automated equipment. That’s allowed us to drive down the costs of handling an item for less than 40 cents an item. No one else can get items that efficiently into the hands of the consumer.”
He adds that, by having so many brands aboard, Jedora will be able to pool and optimize its marketing—a major issue for online brands.
Its owner decided to give Jedora a different brand name than JTV, though it will be a sister company to the channel and promoted heavily on it.
“The JTV brand is limited in the sense we are primarily appealing to a baby boomer demographic,” Matthews says. “We don’t really sell bridal. That’s not our audience. This will be a mix of price points and goods that are mostly complementary to JTV’s product and outside our standard demographics.”
And while JTV owns most of its product, Jedora will only sell consigned inventory, and jewelry drop-shipped from vendors. Certain items will bear the mark “Fulfilled by Jedora,” much like how items are now sold as “Fulfilled by Amazon.”
“We felt that an asset-light strategy will allow an exponential increase in our assortment and appeal to a much wider set of demographics,” says Matthews.
One of the things that’s historically been unique to jewelry e-tail sites is, because they sell a complicated product, they require a heavier customer service component than standard online sellers: About half of Blue Nile’s customers end up speaking with a consultant by phone.
Matthews says that the site will have back-end support but expects it to be “more push-button than Blue Nile,” with a lot of “self-service features.”
Jedora will also have a strong search component and “robust self-filtering,” says Kimberly Kanary, the Signet and JTV veteran who is serving as Jedora’s senior vice president of brand marketing and communications. “But we will also allow discovery, so consumers can also find new and up-and-coming brands and designers.”
The name Jedora was chosen because it appealed to focus groups, as it sounded like adore but connoted jewelry, Kanary says.
Kris Kulesza, formerly of HSN, shopNBC, and Peoples Jewellers, will serve as the site’s senior vice president of merchandising; Lori Kluempke will serve as its senior vice president of partner relations; and Chip Smith will serve as its chief marketing officer. All three currently hold the same titles, respectively, at JTV.
Richline founder and founder CEO Dennis Ulrich is serving as an adviser.
Also on board are Benjamin Guttery, who will serve as designer brand ambassador; Jon Step, who will be its watch brand ambassador; and Alberto Milani, president of the Italy America Chamber of Commerce in New York, who will act as Italian brands ambassador.
(Photos courtesy of Jedora)
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