The first U.S. Forevermark retail store will open this fall in an outdoor mall in Walnut Creek, Calif., across the bay from San Francisco.
The less-than-500-square-feet store will sell only Forevermark product and will be owned and operated by Padis Jewelry, a well-regarded, local, four-store retailer that has long carried the De Beers–owned brand. The plan is for the store to carry 70 percent bridal product, 30 percent fashion product.
“It’s an evolution of our broader omnichannel strategy,” says Charles Stanley, president of Forevermark USA. “We want all our jewelers to have some form of a Forevermark branded presence. We are exploring whether some form of freestanding experience is something we should have for the brand.”
He adds that “Forevermark will be the name above the door, but Padis will run the show—no different than how Rolex runs their freestanding stores.
“We are clear where we have experience and where our partners have experience,” he continues. “We are good at building brands and attracting consumers to that brand. We have amongst our base already some of the best jewelry retailers in North America, who have long-standing experience. It makes no sense not to collaborate. That is the essence of the Forevermark brand, which is a partnership.”
Forevermark will contribute to the build-out of the store, in the same proportion that it contributes to any Forevermark branded presence, Stanley says.
For now, the brand sees the store as an experiment—although it clearly has its sights on more.
“If we get the formula down, there is no reason why we wouldn’t expand it,” says Stanley. “We don’t have specific plans for additional stores at this time, but it will be our intention to look for others for our partners to own and operate.”
But he doesn’t foresee a large network of stores.
“We want to walk before we run on this. This is only one store. We want to make sure this is a profitable exercise. We’ll see what we learn from it. Then we’ll see where we it leads us.
“[This] was a little opportunistic,” he adds, “in that [Padis] was looking to take this location and we were looking for a place for a stand-alone store and that is how it came together. And that is how we plan to expand. I’m sure partners will come to us with ideas and [we’ll see] if those look interesting to us…. So rather than say, we are going with a predefined plan to be in ‘x’ stores in the next couple of years, we feel it is better to grow organically with opportunities that go with our strategy.”
The new retail outlet will be located in the Broadway Plaza shopping center, in between an Apple Store and a Nordstrom, and across from a Tesla store. The hope is to for the store to open by late November, though it is possible it may open before then, says Padis Jewelry president Steve Padis.
“We see Forevermark as our future,” says Padis. “It’s not as commoditized as GIA-graded diamonds.”
This is the second store Forevermark has opened within the last year. In May, it opened up a new store in Shanghai called Libert’aime by Forevermark, part of a new sub-brand that targets Chinese millennials.
“This is a new retail concept that is specifically in China and targeted to Chinese millennial consumers,” says Stanley. “We don’t have any specific plans to introduce Libert’aime here. We would like to see how that develops. If we do introduce it here, it would be in collaboration with our partners.”
Top: Stacking rings from the Forevermark Tribute Collection (image courtesy of Forevermark)