Buying jewelry can still strike fear into some men. But thanks to the digital era, there’s an app for that!
More accurately, there’s an online service for that. Heirlume.co is a digital service that helps men find the perfect baubles for their significant others.
Elaine Russell, the company’s cofounder and CEO, talked to JCK about how an algorithm for jewelry buying can help make a woman’s heart beat faster.
JCK: What inspired you to start Heirlume?
ER: Over the years, I have watched my husband struggle when trying to buy a gift for me. Every year around my birthday or anniversary, he starts quizzing me on what I would like. I wanted to create an easier way for men to shop for the women in their lives while still maintaining some surprise element. Jewelry is a gift that most women love to receive—you can never have too much—but at the same time, it is a category in which men typically could use some help. We created Heirlume in an effort to curate some of the top up-and- coming designers in one place, while using data and trends to help recommend the perfect piece to gift buyers.
JCK: Tell me a little bit about the process a guy will go through when logging on to your site.
ER: When a gift buyer comes to our site and navigates to the Find a Gift section, he will be prompted to fill out some initial information about the recipient, such as age, relationship, and occasion. He will then answer seven lifestyle-based questions about the woman he is purchasing for. We performed significant research to find questions that gift buyers typically are able to answer in addition to questions that signal a woman’s personal style. We have a proprietary algorithm that uses purchasing data and women’s style preferences to recommend nine pieces of jewelry. From there, the gift buyer is able to choose his favorites and if he wants to, he can ask friends and family to vote on them to receive additional opinions. After votes are received, the buyer can log back into his account and see all of the votes and comments placed by his trusted friends and family. The combination of using technology-driven recommendations and the personal touch from friends and family almost guarantees you’ll find the perfect gift!
JCK: Have there been any memorable customer stories since you launched?
ER: We have been fortunate enough to help many gift buyers (men and women!) find some great pieces of jewelry over the past few months. I can remember speaking to one customer who was buying a necklace for his wife’s birthday. He received recommendations from us and also used some help from her friends. When the necklace came in the mail, he was too excited to actually wait for her birthday, so he surprised her with the necklace a week early. She loved it, and he has come back for a holiday gift as well!
JCK: Do you think sites like yours will one day replace independent jewelers as a source for jewelry buying? Or do you think it’s more of a symbiotic relationship?
ER: We are not looking to replace the independent jeweler. We want to enhance the customer’s experience and choices when looking to buy jewelry. We offer an online, frictionless experience that allows more options to the consumer while retaining the boutique feel. We also work to develop symbiotic partnerships with up-and-coming jewelry designers that are a fit for Heirlume and our customers. We look to drive additional demand and awareness to their collections while offering our customers access to some of the top styles in the industry.