Clicks-and-bricks jewelry brand Ritani looks likely to do $50 million in business this year, president Brian Watkins told JCK.
The company did $13 million last year, he added.
The clicks-and-bricks model has proven a big draw to customers, Watkins says, with about half of its sales being done online, and the rest at its network of local jewelers, which currently stands at 200 stores. But Watkins, a believer in the power of omnichannel, thinks more business will migrate to local stores over time.
But he adds: “We don’t think about online vs. offline. I don’t think most people look at, say, the Apple store in that way.”
Watkins, a former Blue Nile executive, feels that his former company’s experimenting with showcases in Nordstrom is a “huge validation of our model.”
“We feel, as omnichannel grows, it is taking market share from pure online players,” he says.
He is, however, skeptical about whether his alma mater, the largest player in the jewelry e-tail space, can make its Nordstrom experiment work. “The team there is very smart, and they have a great model. But it will be hard to imagine Nordstrom having a different jewelry brand in their stores.”
He argues that what his new brand offers—handcrafted product—is very different from what his old company does.
“The Ritani brand stands for more than value,” he says. “There is a big difference from a die-struck engagement ring. We create a mold and cater to a customer’s exact ring size. That’s a different product.”
Ritani has also begun a national advertising campaign, which makes reference to seeing the product at “a local jeweler.” He declines to give an ad budget, but notes it’s likely among the top marketing spends in the industry.
The company is also looking to expand into China and imagines a future where its network of brick-and-mortar retailers can place their aged inventory online or trade it with one another. Regarding whether the company will go public, he says, “it’s too premature.”