Every Thursday during the pandemic, we’re checking in on members of the jewelry trade in an attempt to glean shareable tips and tricks for doing business—and living as well as possible—during the COVID-19 crisis.
Today we hear from Kimberly Berry Haisch, founder and CEO of KBH Jewels—a sustainable fine jewelry brand based in New York City.
JCK: Hello! How are you, and how is your state of mind during this stage of the pandemic?
Kimberly Berry Haisch: Hi! All things considered, we are pretty good. It’s been one heck of a year, but we see the other side of the tunnel and are running toward the light! Spring is here and summer feels so very close, and we are happy to be back focusing on the issues that are meaningful to the core of our brand.
Where are you located, and who do you live with (including pets!)?
We’ve been living, working, and schooling from our home in New Jersey for most of quarantine. That’s myself, my husband, three kids, two dogs, and a lot of Wi-Fi usage. Recently, we’ve been able to travel up to our house in Vermont, which has been a great escape back to nature with hiking, skiing, and lots of fresh air—nothing better for the soul. We’re looking forward to the summer and returning to our beach escape in Amagansett, N.Y.
When quarantines began last spring, how did you adapt your business to the scary and changing environment?
2020 forced the world to pivot, and being a new, small business, that touched every area—from manufacturing to design, communication to sales. I think the entire world understood that we were all just trying to survive. We are fortunate to be built on a direct-to-consumer business model, and although sales weren’t as strong as we originally planned, we found that our audience grew substantially.
We were all spending more time on our devices, screens, and social media, which was a silver lining for our business. We saw our level of engagement increase among our community, and we were able to connect with new consumers to share our story and brand mission.
How has your customer changed their habits since the pandemic began? What shifts have you seen?
A phrase that I always say is, “It’s not about being perfect, it’s about trying to do better.” 2020 forced us all to reflect on the impact we have on the world around us, socially and environmentally. It increased consumer demand for brand transparency and, more importantly, it amplified consumer purchasing power.
Now, more than ever, our consumers care about where their purchases are sourced from, and how they’re made. They’re aware that as individuals we have the power to make an impact and create change.
How has business been this last year for the brand?
Sales were roughly flat for the year. All things considered, we were grateful for that. We weren’t able to have in-person selling events or expand our retailer footprint as much as we had expected and previously planned for. The good news is that 2021 has taken back off and we’ve been up month over month. We are also back on track to begin planning events and to work with new retail partners coming soon!
How has not doing trade shows changed the way you do business? Do you plan on doing trade shows this year?
For KBH, trade shows enabled us to meet with multiple suppliers from around the world to find growers of lab-grown diamonds and sustainably cultured South Sea pearls. This helped us streamline and expand sourcing options, and connect with teams and companies that were sustainably like-minded.
It was a learning curve, but we’ve been able to navigate and connect through other means. To me, trade shows have always felt like I could take a snapshot of the state of affairs in our industry. I’m looking forward to going to them again once they’re back up and running.
Are there changes you’ve made in your business during the pandemic that you think you will continue? If so, what are they?
In the summer of 2020, we launched our KBH Wear Your Values charity campaign, which is dedicated to deepening our brand commitment to creating impact and supporting organizations that are taking action to fight for Black rights, human rights, social rights, equality, and environmental rights. This season, we’ll continue our campaign.… We’ve teamed up with a dear friend of mine, fellow mother and incredibly talented stylist Gabriela Langone, to launch the KBH x GAB Linked Up anklet collection.
In 2021, we continue to be open-minded, and committed to integrity and innovation.
How have you been relaxing during this time?
I haven’t been able to do a ton of relaxing since the pandemic hit, but I’ve had time to reflect a lot on our situation. Getting outside with my family, enjoying nature and, most of all, our health is what helps me relax.
Any TV/movie/podcast/book recs?
I recently tore my ACL and needed to get surgery so I’ve been stuck in bed for a bit. Due to that situation, I’ve been binge-watching some guilty pleasure TV. Currently, my husband and I are enthralled by Yellowstone (I do realize we are late to the game on this one)!
Top: Kimberly Berry Haisch (left) with friend and stylist Gabriela Langone (all photos courtesy of KBH)
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