Want to play dress-up without the commitment of purchasing a designer jewelry piece? The new e-commerce platform RocksBox lets women explore a variety of styles by sending them higher-end jewelry samples monthly.
“E-commerce sites such as Rent the Runway have reinforced the idea of being able to try something on before purchasing it,” founder and CEO Meaghan Rose says. “I was inspired by RTR and other platforms—ranging from Netflix to Pandora Radio—which allow customers to discover and sample new products or services.”
However, unlike straightforward jewelry rental businesses, RocksBox (which charges $15 a month for a yearly membership) customizes a selection for each individual based on a style survey. Each month you never know exactly what three pieces you’re getting—kind of like the grown-up, fashionable version of prizes in a cereal box. If you like the pieces, you can pay to keep them. If not, you can send them back within 60 days and wait for the next month’s collection.
The discovery mentality has risen in popularity in recent years, led by beauty-sampling business Birchbox, founded in 2010. Rose, who has found a way to adapt this craze to the jewelry sphere, took the time to talk to JCK about her startup business.
JCK: Can you tell me a little bit more about your company and how you originated the concept?
Meaghan Rose: We designed RocksBox specifically for how women want to shop for jewelry. We wanted to give women an opportunity to experiment with different styles and try something out before she commits to buying it.
JCK: When did the company launch? Did you have a background in the jewelry industry before starting the business?
MR: We launched our beta site in November. Before starting RocksBox I had a small jewelry brand that I created when living in New York. Through that experience, I came to appreciate how many designers were out there and how hard it was for these great brands to get distribution and build brand awareness. I created RocksBox as a way for designer to connect with women who love them—we see ourselves as a platform to connect designers and customers, more than just an e-commerce site.
JCK: How does RocksBox differ from other brands with similar concepts?
MR: RocksBox is not a typical subscription service. At RocksBox, we are all about discovering new designers and finding the pieces that you really love.
RocksBox works differently than other “box” services—A RocksBox member can borrow three pieces of jewelry at a time, she can return her jewelry anytime to exchange them for three new pieces, and when she finds something she loves she can buy it for 20 percent off of the retail price. Our vision is that instead of accumulating a bunch of low-quality jewelry, you can experiment with different styles and trends and only buy the pieces you really love.
JCK: How many members does RocksBox have so far?
MR: Sorry, trade secret!
JCK: What are some of the more popular designers and styles on the website?
MR: We carry a range of designers and styles—including CC Skye, Isharya, Gorjana, Samantha Wills, Lucas Jack, Salty Fox, and many others.
JCK: And you match the jewels given to a customer’s own personal style?
MR: Yes, we personally curate every box that goes out to a RocksBox member. When a member signs up she completes a profile to tell us about her style. After every box she can also tell us more about what she liked, didn’t like, and what she’s looking to try next. We work hard to get to know our member’s style so that we can send jewelry that fits her.
JCK: About how much do the pieces retail for?
MR: RocksBox pieces typically retail from $30-$250 per item. We’ve found that our members would rather buy one higher quality jewelry item every two to three months than accumulate a bunch of low-quality jewelry that she may or may not ever wear.
JCK: So if a customer likes the piece she received, she can purchase it through the website?
MR: When a RocksBox member finds something she loves, she can just keep it and we’ll charge her credit card on file.
JCK: Where do you see the future of the company? What is it about jewelry that attracts customers to the “borrowing” and “sampling” mentality?
MR: Our vision for RocksBox is to be the best way for women to find the jewelry that they love. With jewelry, you want to know how something goes with your wardrobe and how it feels to wear it before you buy it, so we created a way for women to do that. We’ve been amazed with the awesome response from women and designers so far and are excited to keep it going!