It’s the moment that this industry is built on. The moment that has spurred countless jewelry commercials. The moment when the woman receives her engagement ring and—hopefully—cries and says yes.
Now, a group of Michigan entrepreneurs has invented a product that captures that instant forever: the Ring Cam, a jewelry box with a small camera installed, so that the reaction to the proposal can be saved, memorialized, and even posted on Facebook.
The product started as a design project at Hope College. One of the participants came up with the idea after a friend got engaged.
“He had hired a secret photographer to take pictures of the proposal,” says cofounder Scott Brandonisio. “They didn’t come out that well. He couldn’t really see any facial expressions. He felt like, ‘If I just got a little bit closer…’ ”
From there came a napkin sketch of a ring box with a camera in it, and eventually the idea turned into reality. The current iteration has a camera on top of the box, meant to be the perfect angle for a groom down on one knee.
Originally, the camera would record only if the box was open. But that was fixed when the team realized that meant “you actually missed a lot of the moment,” says Brandonisio.
So far, not one fiancée-to-be has noticed the camera, Brandonisio says. The couples sometimes send their videos to the company, and the results are often “priceless,” he says.
One of his favorites is the second one ever recorded:
The idea is a natural for jewelry stores, and there are already a dozen or so offering it for both sale and rental. (The sale price is $200; rental, $100.) The company is looking into adding different styles and colors, says Brandonisio.
“People who have done it love it,” says Joe Koester, owner of Herzog Jewelers in Fort Mitchell, Ky., who typically lets the groom-to-be borrow the box for free. “It depends on the customer, if they are tech-savvy. The people who are excited about it are the people who get excited about that kind of thing. I don’t offer it to everyone.”
“It’s a cute little idea,” he adds. “It has potential. It does create a lot of buzz. It’s definitely for the younger demo, the 20- to 30-year-olds, who want to share everything and post everything.”
Men’s Wearhouse has even expressed interest in it, Brandonosio says, as a lot of men getting fitted for wedding-party tuxedos are about to get engaged themselves.
Meanwhile, the company has applied to be on the next edition of entrepreneurial competition show Shark Tank, and so far has made it to the second audition round.