Last fall Caroline Chalmer and Mie Ejdrup, both former jewelry retail analysts who met a dozen years ago when they were students at Copenhagen Business School, made a choice career paths that they would probably have advised their clients to avoid. In the midst of a pandemic, they started a jewelry business.
As Ms Ejdrup said in a telephone interview from her home in Copenhagen, the experience “was both incredible and crazy”.
Still, Finematter, the website they launched in November, seems to have had good timing: it offers a selection of fine and semi-fine jewelry from independent brands in Europe, Britain and the United States that it would be hard to find in one place, virtual or physical. Prices range, for example, from 100 euros for an elegant silver earring from the Danish brand Kinraden to 16,000 euros for a white gold and diamond ring from Repossi, one of the site’s most famous brands.
The Copenhagen and London-based website uses photographs of models wearing pieces for sale, but its founders say they make sure to stay focused on jewelry. “When you go to buy jewelry online, you will see that it is presented to you in exactly the same way as a dress or a t-shirt or a pair of sneakers,” said Ms Chalmer, who is based in London. “It really does not honor the value of the jewel.”
Shoppers are increasingly buying precious jewelry over the internet, especially over the past year: Online jewelry sales have grown 8% year over year, but worldwide they are have fallen nearly 20% over the same period, according to Euromonitor International, a retail market research firm. . “The pandemic has given a big boost,” said Irina Ivanilova, analyst in London for the company. “Consumers have become more familiar with online features, and they are now more confident in purchasing high-end items online.”
As Wing Yau, the founder of the Brooklyn-based WWAKE line, put it, “Online, that’s it for now.” His brand is one of eight US brands now sold on Finematter, which currently ships only to Europe and Great Britain. Delivery to the United States is expected later this year.
The founders of Finematter are working with Danish influencer Pernille Teisbaek to choose a mix of established labels, like London’s Anissa Kermiche, and lesser-known brands, such as Completedworks, another London-based company. Danish designers, including Rebekka Notkin and Jo Riis-Hansen, are the focus.
And by the end of this month, the site intends to carry a selection of previously owned pieces from brands like Chanel and Dior.
“It’s important to us,” Ms. Ejdrup said, “when customers come to Finematter, they find well-known brands that they know but also get inspired by new designers, so Finematter becomes a larger destination than the purchase intention itself. . “
It’s a concept that appeals even to brands widely available elsewhere. As Gaia Repossi, whose designs are also worn by large online retailers like Mytheresa and Net-a-Porter as well as a long list of physical stores around the world, puts it, “if we don’t get involved in new projects like this one, then we become useless. “