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Jewelry Firm with Unique Business Model Raises $5M, Will Open Physical Stores

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It rolls out new products weekly.

Direct-to-consumer jewelry brand Mejuri has closed a $5 million financing round led by London-based venture firm Felix Capital.

Launched in 2015, Mejuri was founded by Noura Sakkijha and Maj Masad with the goal to create a brand for millennial women. Prior to this round, Mejuri had raised only $1 million in funding, according to a press release from the company. Still, the brand has sold 150,000 pieces of jewelry in the past year alone.

“We’ve done a lot with little, and we consider this efficiency and attention to spend to be one of our biggest strengths,” said CEO Sakkijha, who serves as CEO. “I am inspired by entrepreneurs like Katrina Lake, who took Stitch Fix to its initial public offering with only $40 million in funding. It’s a great example to help entrepreneurs realize that they can achieve substantial growth without seeking large amounts of capital prematurely.”

Also participating in the new Series A round were Real Ventures, Incite Ventures, BDC Capital Women in Technology Fund and Dash Ventures.

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The company refreshes its collections regularly and pioneered the “drop model” in the traditional fine jewelry industry, according to the release. Instead of large seasonal releases, Mejuri introduces new products contextualized with a new narrative every Monday.

“The frequent drops also keep the company in constant communication with its community to challenge the long-established belief that fine jewelry is an occasional purchase,” according to the release. “Mejuri’s key strategy has been to continuously engage customers and micro-influencers to establish direct one-on-one conversations through social media, email, and SMS.”

With the Series A funding, Mejuri aims to further its relationships online and connect with more customers in-person.

“We’re thrilled to have more capital to extend our brand to physical stores over the next few quarters,” Sakkijha said. “We’ve recently opened our first location in Toronto, with the next one being planned in New York City, and have been excited to connect with our customers and have them experience the brand IRL. I’m looking forward to meeting more of our customers in person.”

Sasha Astafyeva, principal at Felix, said: “Mejuri is a brand we have been watching for some time – their mastery of the digital space has engendered their impressive success to date and we are very happy to be able to support them to take the next step in their growth. We are proud to have worked with the likes of Farfetch, The Business of Fashion and goop since their early days so have high hopes for Mejuri.”

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Online Jewelry Brand Raises $6.2M in Funding

Ross-Simons has taken a majority stake.

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CRANSTON, RI — Luca + Danni Inc., a online jewelry brand based in Rhode Island, has closed on $6.2 million in funding, with Ross-Simons Inc. becaming the majority investor in the deal.

PJC, a Boston-based VC Fund and early investor in Luca + Danni, will retain a stake in the company.

The investments “create a powerful partnership between an iconic jewelry company and three-year-old digital brand,” according to a Luca + Danni press release.

Fred Magnanimi, founder of Luca + Danni, will remain as CEO and board member.

“I started this brand to honor my family’s 50+ year heritage in US made handcrafted jewelry and help others embrace the journey of life as I learned to do after losing my brother to leukemia,” said Magnanimi. “With the amazing resources and strategic support of Ross-Simons and PJC, I am confident we will help millions embrace their own journey and continue to build our community.”

Ross-Simons, also based in Rhode Island, has a long history in retail and direct-to-consumer jewelry sales.

“Luca + Danni is a digitally native brand rapidly taking market share in the jewelry space,” said Jim Speltz, president of Ross-Simons. “Our resources, product expertise, and go-to-market experience matched with Luca + Danni’s powerful brand will foster meaningful growth in the evolving e-commerce world.”

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She Woke Up Without Her Engagement Ring. Guess Where Doctors Found It …

It all started with a dream. (Story with video.)

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A San Diego woman woke up without her engagement ring, and she immediately remembered a dream she’d had the night before.

One where she’d swallowed her engagement ring.

Jenna Evans immediately told her fiance, Bob Howell, and they headed to urgent care. She told the story in a Facebook post that has gone viral, garnering 62,000 shares as of Sept. 16.

She ended up seeing a gastroenterologist, who performed an upper endoscopy.

“Everything went great, they found my ring just beyond my stomach in my intestines, retrieved it and gave it to Bobby, not me,” she wrote.

She also divulged a bit about the dream that got her into the predicament.

“I was having a dream that Bobby and I were in a very sketchy situation involving a high speed train and bad guys (I have very exciting and vivid dreams) and he told me I had to swallow my ring to protect it; so I popped that sucker off, put it in my mouth and swallowed it with a glass of water riiiight about the time I realized what I was doing,” she explained. “I assumed this too was a dream, because WHO ACTUALLY SWALLOWS THEIR ENGAGEMENT RING, so I went back to sleep.”

The ring was made by Simone Jewelry Designs in Houston. CBS8 reports that it includes a 2.4 carat diamond.

Watch a news video about the incident:

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US Claims Overseas Jewelry Chain Supports Terrorism

It’s among 15 entities being targeted for sanctions.

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The U.S. Treasury Department is targeting al-Hebo Jewelry Co., which has stores in Turkey and Syria, for allegedly supporting ISIS.

Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control hit the company, along with more than a dozen other organizations and individuals, with counterterrorism sanctions, according to a press release from the department.

According to the release:

As of late 2017, al-Hebo’s location in Gaziantep, Turkey was involved in an ISIS scheme to convert gold into cash to more efficiently and secretly send funds via hawalas in Turkey to ISIS sleeper cells in Iraq and Syria.

As of early 2017, Raqqah-based al-Hebo was a cash transfer business used by ISIS members.

In September 2016, an employee of Raqqah-based al-Hebo likely coordinated a money transfer on behalf of a now-deceased, Syria-based, ISIS senior operations official.

Turkey-based al-Hebo owner Muhamad Ali al-Hebo is named specifically. As of late 2016, he was “involved in procuring precious metals to enable ISIS to produce its own ISIS coinage,” according to the release.

In all, the Treasury Department is targeting “15 leaders, individuals, and entities affiliated with terror groups,” according to the release. They include entities affiliated with HAMAS, al-Qa’ida and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods-Force (IRGC-QF), as well as ISIS.

“Since the horrific attacks of 9/11, the U.S. government has refocused its counterterrorism efforts to constantly adapt to emerging threats,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “President Trump’s modernized counterterrorism Executive Order enhances the authorities we use to target the finances of terror groups and their leaders to ensure they are as robust as possible.

“These new authorities will allow the U.S. Government to starve terrorists of resources they need to attack the United States and our allies, and will hold foreign financial institutions who continue to do business with them accountable. These new tools aid our unrelenting efforts to cut off terrorists from their sources of support and deprive them of the funds required to carry out their destructive activities. They serve as a powerful deterrent to radical terror groups and those seeking to aid their nefarious goals.”

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