WHEN BAILEY’S FINE Jewelry began to generate an unprecedented level of online interest during the COVID shutdowns, Marci Bailey began to think about creating an alter ego for the North Carolina family business she joined when she married third-generation owner Trey Bailey (whom she met at GIA).
By 2019, the Bailey’s team had launched a new website and cultivated an active social media community. The next year, when virtual outreach became more important than ever, they picked up online clients from all over the country, with particularly keen interest from shoppers in California.
“In our industry, we have such an amazing opportunity with internet and social media,” Marci says. “In the store, we might have a piece of jewelry in the case that a customer glances at and walks right by it. But I can show a woman on social media all the different ways I wear it. That’s an advantage you do not get in a brick-and-mortar.”
Still, Marci noticed Bailey’s online shoppers often hesitated to buy from a store with a strong local identity. “If you’re in Oklahoma and you come across a website for a local jeweler in North Carolina, you’re not going to buy from that jeweler, you’re going to buy from something that feels more national,” Marci says.
“We’re blessed to have a strong family business with a strong DNA,” she says. “But I saw an opportunity to utilize my experience with engagement rings and custom and take that experience and put it exclusively online and have it feel very different.”
So, she created the Marcilla Bailey Jewelry brand, developing both a shoppable website and a Los Angeles-based showroom to launch it. She has focused on fashionable pieces that she not only would wear, but that she is wearing herself, to help clients build their own jewelry wardrobes.
Marci Bailey has branched out, with an office and showroom in Los Angeles for her online brand.
“I thought, I’m only going to do this if I can be 100 percent authentic in my experience,” she says. “It’s jewelry that I truly love and want to share; whatever I wake up in the morning and feel excited about. That gives me the confidence to know the quality is great. I’m not guessing about stuff I’ve enjoyed wearing.”
One hot seller among her curated MB Essentials grouping is a 14K gold signet ring, dubbed MB Essentials World’s Most Perfect Signet Ring, that she painstakingly created in house, collaborating with Bailey’s in-house jewelers after she couldn’t source one that she loved.
“It was either hollow or I didn’t like the shape. I wanted it to be solid gold that had a really feminine taper. I wanted something that was lighter. Our jeweler kept casting it in silver, I’d wear it for a couple days, and I’d say, ‘I want it a little narrower here.’ So we went through several different iterations.”
The signet ring is priced at $995. Most MB Essentials are priced below $1,000.
Price point is important online. “At Bailey’s, we might get the most clicks on a $150,000 pear shape engagement ring, but when we get into conversations with people or look at what they do end up buying, it’s the $895 bracelet that was paired with that engagement ring.” For MB, then, she curates pieces that work for everyday life and deliver good value.
She’s also planning to launch a collection of six mix-and-match wedding bands and engagement rings to simplify shopping even more. The rings’ aesthetic is modern with antique inspiration.
Marci primarily connects with female self-purchasers, although there is a section for guys on the MB website as well with a different approach. “When I’m face to face with a couple buying an engagement ring, I almost have to have two conversations. Men have a different sensibility and understanding of the process of shopping for jewelry. Women know what they want and what they don’t want. Men tend to be much more guarded because they feel like they don’t know what they’re talking about.
“Online, I pretty much speak to women, but it’s important to have the two languages.”