The Jewelry District, Episode 41: Guest Madeline Fraser


You’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky and news director Rob Bates talk with Madeline Fraser, founder and CEO of Gemist. They’ll be discussing her entrepreneurial spirit, how she started her company, and how she views the jewelry industry as a former outsider.

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Show Notes
00:30 Victoria and Rob introduce their guest, Madeline Fraser, founder and CEO of Gemist.
04:04 Madeline explains how she started Gemist.
09:46 Gemist has evolved over the years to include fashion jewelry.
15:43 Rob asks Madeline about her marketing strategy; Victoria asks about AR technology.
19:24 Madeline gives her take on the jewelry industry, and recounts a meeting she had with De Beers.

Episode Credits
Hosts: Rob Bates and Victoria Gomelsky
Editor: Olivia Briley
Producer and engineer: Natalie Chomet
Plugs: gemist.co, jckonline.com@jckmagazine

Show Recap

Introducing Madeline Fraser
Victoria and Rob introduce their guest, Madeline Fraser, founder and CEO of a direct-to-consumer company called Gemist. Last year, JCK senior editor Emili Vesilind wrote that Gemist was like the Warby Parker of jewelry. Madeline tells her story of becoming an entrepreneur, which begins with her starting her first business in college. She created the very first online interior design company. Her idea got her a spot on Shark Tank and ended up being developed into a platform called Hutch. She then explains how her engagement to her then-fiancé sparked her to start Gemist.

What Is Gemist?
Madeline explains how she started Gemist. First, she noticed a hole in the jewelry industry: There weren’t any companies that allowed you to design your own piece of jewelry online. She figured out the market, who Gemist’s competitors were, how big the industry was, and what problem it was looking to solve. What makes her company stand out? Customers can not only create their own jewelry pieces online or in the app, but also try the pieces out at home before they buy them.

How Gemist Has Evolved
While Gemist originally started out as a brand revolving around creating your own custom engagement ring, the company has evolved into selling fashion jewelry as well, including rings and earrings. This expansion of the inventory was at the request of customers who loved being able to create engagement rings but wanted more diversity. Rob asks Madeline about security risks with potential customers trying out the jewelry at home, and she explains how her customers get a replica product. Victoria asks about what the reaction was to her company from investors and Silicon Valley, and Madeline explains the challenges of getting investors interested in the jewelry industry.

Marketing and AR Technology
Victoria asks if Madeline has seen any men shopping for themselves despite Gemist being a female-centered company, and she says yes. Rob then asks about marketing, and Madeline explains how affiliate marketing has especially worked well for them. Victoria asks Madeline about AR technology, but Madeline doesn’t think the tech is fully developed yet, and believes AR still needs to catch up with itself before she incorporates it into Gemist.

The Jewelry Industry Through Entrepreneurial Eyes
Victoria asks Madeline what she believes entices people into a store, keeps them there, engages them, and drives them to make a purchase. You’ll hear her answer that question, and then explain how the jewelry industry and the furniture industry, where she started, are pretty similar in that they’re pretty fragmented. Madeline says the thing she was most surprised about was the supply chain, and how intricate the manufacturing of jewelry was. Madeline also describes a call she had with De Beers where she pitched to all of the company’s C-suite executives and top stakeholders.

(Photo courtesy of Madeline Fraser)

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