In the past few years, we’ve seen a number of online jewelry sites popup, making beautifully made jewelry more accessible than ever. We’ve also seen numerous crowd sourcing companies enter the marketplace, helping independent designers find a market for their one-of-a-kind designs. Yet until we came across Shopbevel, we had never seen the two come together.
Founded by Stanford Business School Graduate, Courtney McColgan, Shopbevel works with independent designers to bring the best in jewelry design to market. Designers submit designs, the community votes and Shopbevel produces the selected winners with designers receiving royalties. Shopbevel’s first design challenge, held in January 2012, received 68 entries and attracted over 4,000 votes. Hundreds of design entries later, Shopbevel is on its way to changing the jewelry industry.
Excited to learn more, TWF sat down with the Founder and CEO, Courtney, to ask her a few questions of our own.
TWF: What inspired you to start Shopbevel?
CM: I actually have a ton of friends and family members that are jewelry designers. They all share the same problem –exposure. They have shops on Etsy, sell in local boutiques and have house parties to get their name out there, but have a really hard time reaching past their immediate social networks. At the same time, I have always been a fan of great design, especially great designer jewelry. Aware of similar platforms that exist in other markets, I thought, why not try it for jewelry?
TWF: What value does Shopbevel have compared to other companies in the fashion tech space?
CM: Shopbevel is the world’s first crowdsourced jewelry design website. Other websites have launched crowdsourced platforms in other fashion verticals, but never jewelry.
How are we unique from other online jewelry companies?
- Discovery– We work with 3,500+ designers from 32 different countries (and growing larger every day) who are constantly submitting new designs to our platform, allowing you to discover new designs every day.
- Price– Because we cut out the middle man and sell direct to consumer AND we don’t mark up for brand name, our pricing is accessible to everyone.
- Limited Edition– All of our designs are only available on our site in the volume we manufacture at (now 100 per design). When they are gone, there is no guarantee we will rerun the design.
- First Access– We give consumers first access to our designs before they hit any other channel (stores, magazines, even our online shop.)
How are we unique from other crowdsource fashion companies?
- Designers– Jewelry designers are very widespread, so there is great word of mouth about our platform. Who doesn’t know a jewelry designer of some level?
- Sizing– There is no sizing in jewelry like there is clothing. A necklace is a necklace and they are adjustable to necksize.
- Brand– Consumers don’t associate brand in purchasing jewelry like they do clothing. They buy jewelry because it’s pretty, end of story.
- Manufacturing– Quicker manufacturing times, more substitutable materials, and lower minimum order quantities then with clothing.
TWF: What has been the hardest obstacle for you in starting Shopbevel? What has been your favorite part?
CM: Hardest obstacle is that it is really hard to get a platform like this going. Where most ecommerce sites focus on selling exclusively, we have 3 jobs: sourcing, manufacturing AND selling. It’s really hard as a 5 person team to make that happen and actually work (5 as of today haha).
My favorite part is working with designers. It feels great when you get an email from a designer like B.J.Baker who sold 12 earrings in during the contest because of exposure he got as a result of entering our challenge. Or a letter when a designer mails you their sample for production like Brehan Todd that says: “ This is an opportunity like I have dreamed my whole life.” That’s the stuff that makes you excited to wake up in the morning.
Kellie Friedman is the Research & Editorial Intern for TWF. Third Wave Fashion has been your fashion tech think tank since 2011. We publish the first ever printed fashion tech magazine, Third Wave. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest in fashion tech + wearables.
Image via chictoronto.