Cheers to the one DTC millennial brand I really hope succeeds

Mejuri, for "Everyday Fine Jewelry"

Vanessa Qin 🌿

Mar 27, 2020

#14dayblogchallenge
DTC

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It's not that I don't (literally) subscribe to all the quintessential dtc millennial brands - Glossier (guilty), Away (I have a dupe I love), Quip (guilty), Billie (guilty), Warby Parker (don't wear glasses but probably would if I did), Everlane (guilty).. it's just that it seems many of them have some crippling issue that eventually make their way to the headlines and makes me lose faith.
cc: Away, Casper, and most recently, the maker of my beloved turtlenecks, Everlane..
Honestly, I'm their ideal consumer: a 22 year old designer with a Venmo debit card linked to Chrome autofill, feels flattered by targeted Instagram ads, and pays an extra $1.50 for the dish soap with nice packaging and a wholesome mission. But, a couple negative headlines and my trust is gone. DTC brands are reliant on their paying customers' perception of their brand, which, beyond the neutral colors and abstract shapes, is more volatile than it seems.
That being said, there is one DTC brand I'm especially excited about - Mejuri. If you haven't heard of Mejuri, then you must not be familiar with the niche community of semi-micro-influencers on Instagram who take photos of their thick gold hoops illuminated by the highlights of golden hour (me). Or, you must not have a girlfriend/girl friend who most likely has a 6+ step skincare routine and shops at Aritzia (also me).

Anyway, if that didn't paint the picture, Mejuri is a DTC jewelry brand selling "everyday fine jewelry." Basically, they're in between Tiffany & Co. and $8 earrings from Urban Outfitters. They sell timeless, high quality pieces but at a fraction of the price of something like Cartier.
Growing up with parents who sold fine jewelry for a living, I was never interested in their vocation until around when Mejuri came along. My parents' 25 year old jewelry shop with decade old furniture, carpets, and jade buddha statues (think Crazy Rich Asians jewelry shop but for regular suburban moms) is cool for the middle aged Asian moms, but not exactly cool for 22 year old me. Mejuri bridged the gap from having an interest in fashion accessories to having an appreciation for finer quality.

Snaps to Mejuri

I did a quick search trying to find some numbers, but I'm not a VC and I don't really know what I'm talking about on that side. But what I can say is what I think from a consumer who knows their market and knows (a tiny bit about) their industry. The jewelry industry is old, and the profit margin is high. The perception of value on jewelry is so high, and while the value is high, it's not THAT high. Newsflash, the $250 sterling silver necklace your bf just got you is probably worth less than $50 at cost, but that's the price we pay for ~that teal box~. So I think there's been opportunity for innovation in the space for a long time.
First of all, I just think there's a very clear gap in the market that they have filled and can easily dominate. Like I said, between Tiffany's and Topshop, there isn't an esteemed brand that people look to and think are elegant and admirable but also achievable (I guess there's Pandora but I think Pandora is tacky).
Second, I love the way they've shifted the dynamic of purchasing jewelry. Their marketing goes straight to women rather than men. Rather than waiting around expecting a man to buy a $200 sterling silver necklace with a heart on it, why not buy yourself your own damn necklace, and make it real gold too. I've been following their socials, and I've noticed that their influencer strategy is different from many other consumer companies. Rather than collaborating with aspirational 200k+ follower bloggers, I've seen a lot of really normal everyday people (including myself.. lol.. this post is not sponsored!!) subtly displaying a dainty piece of jewelry on their feeds.
Third, they've tastefully created their collections to appeal to both younger people (like me), and me in 5 years with a little more cash. (I'm sure this isn't a unique strategy, but I haven't taken a textbook business class that taught it to me, so I thought it was smart lol.) For example, this "Capricorn Necklace" is sold as two versions that are comparable in style, but one is of lesser quality and a fraction of the price. They're clear about the difference in quality by explaining what sterling silver vs. gold vermeil vs. solid gold means, which most people my age don't understand.

Basically, they can catch me when I'm earning a few bucks at internships over the summer, and have me dreaming about the higher quality version when, a year later, the lower quality necklace inevitably starts to fade or rust. They'll still have me when I'm earning an annual salary and willing to spend a little more, and I'll naturally be willing to fork over the extra hundreds for high quality pieces from a brand I already trust.
Lastly, I think their take on brick-and-mortar stores is really smart. Mejuri currently has four physical stores, or "showrooms" as they call it. The showroom experience perfectly captures their demographic and where they want to be in the market – an approachable take on a luxury product for the tasteful modern woman. But what's really smart is that they don't carry any of the actual jewelry stock in stores. Anything you purchase in the store is essentially the same as ordering it online – they just fill out an order from the Mejuri site on their store iPad, and it's shipped to you from their warehouses in a few days. I'm sure this eliminates a lot of cost in inventory stocking and security precautions, and probably only builds up the hype for their products.
That being said, I'm aware that Mejuri isn't the only (and probably not the first) mid tier jewelry company that's tried to serve as a middleman between cheap fashion jewelry and high end luxury brands. There's also plenty of independent artists and smaller brands deserve their recognition, Mejuri is just one company that I think has nailed it with their product development and strategy.