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Engagement ring shopping from home with Ring Concierge

Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Christoforous and Brian Sozzi speak with Ring Concierge CEO about the business of at-home engagement ring shopping, and how technology is transforming the jewelry-buying experience.

Video Transcript

BRIAN SOZZI: Some weddings may have been postponed due to COVID-19, but the business of engagements has a nice ring to it. Luxury private jeweler Ring Concierge is offering a way to shop for and try on engagement rings from home. Let's bring in Ring Concierge's founder, Nicole Wegman, to discuss how this works. Nicole, good to see you.

So we have seen a lot of weddings have been postponed during the pandemic. What are you seeing in your business?

NICOLE WEGMAN: We're seeing a lot of postponements, but we're not seeing a lack of engagements, which is great. Obviously, we're in the engagement ring business. That has not slowed down at all, even though they know they're probably not getting married in 2020, maybe late 2021 if they're lucky.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Nicole, your business model is an interesting one. You let people try on/ try out rings for a certain amount of time, and then they get to mail them back to you and make a decision. And if they do, they're able to put some of the money-- I guess they put up front-- for their actual purchase. But are these the actual diamonds that are going to people, or are these, like, knock-offs? I think it's cubic zirconia replicas that are going to people.

NICOLE WEGMAN: Exactly. So we've created this home try-on kit. It's a brand new concept for this new online-only line called Vow that just launched. And basically, you can pick out your three favorite designs, and we send you replicas with CZ center stones.

So no, they're not real diamonds. We send them right to your home. They come in this really cute kit with a nail polish-- you can give yourself a manicure-- a ring size. They're kind of this whole experience so you don't feel like you're missing out. And that way, you really can try before you buy.

Because an engagement ring is a really-- it's a big purchase. And a lot of people are nervous to pull the trigger online. So we wanted to make it really comfortable. And you know, it's kind of perfect timing. It's COVID safe. You don't have to leave your house, but you still get that full experience.

BRIAN SOZZI: Nicole, your rings are offering span the price spectrum, from thousands of dollars to, really, over $100,000. Where are you seeing the biggest growth?

NICOLE WEGMAN: Currently, our average ring is around $30,000. We're a luxury brand. So this new online-only line starts at 3,000. It's a whole new market for us.

Before this line, all of our rings started at 10,000. They really were custom. They're a luxury. And we have captured that market. We have a huge luxury clientele that hasn't slowed down at all.

But the average ring in America is around $5,000. So we are missing out on this mass market. And we have a huge social media following. And when we polled them, we realized that our opening price point was prohibitive for about 50% of our followers, which is why we've just launched this new opening price point. So it's too soon to tell, really, what our new average will be, but we're really excited to offer this wide breadth of prices now.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: So what about the demographic? Are you still seeing this being concentrated among millennials? Are you getting older people involved in this right now? And who's doing most of the buying? Is it women, or is it men?

NICOLE WEGMAN: So this is interesting. Currently, our luxury line, the women are the drivers in the decision. Even if the man is the one paying for the ring, really, the woman comes in saying exactly what she wants. She wants to make sure she's getting her dream ring. If she doesn't come to the appointment, he has a screenshot that she sent him saying, this is exactly what she wants.

With this new line, I think couples will be doing it together as well. It's a similar demographic, also millennials. We're seeing a similar geographic range-- New York City, LA, Miami, some of the big cities. But we're just making it more affordable. So I think younger couples can now afford Ring Concierge. It doesn't just have to be the wealthy, basically.

BRIAN SOZZI: Nicole, is your business recession-proof? The average price on a ring-- $30,000-- Is no joke. And really, economic growth this year has fallen off a cliff because of the pandemic. Who is coming to your business?

NICOLE WEGMAN: We were nervous. When COVID started, we were really nervous. And shockingly, our business is up, way up, this year. We're small and we're nimble, and we were able to very quickly pivot.

And we can offer our entire services remotely, whereas most of the big heritage brands cannot. And we were able to basically operate almost at full capacity throughout the entire pandemic, where a lot of our competitors had to shut down. So we were operating without competition for the first time in history, which was pretty unbelievable.

And we've found that even now that everybody is open again, nothing slowing down the engagement ring business. The average price point, it's actually remained the same. But this new line that starts at 3,000 certainly had a recession in mind. It was certainly our way to diversify and not just have cornered this upper luxury market.