Last April we wrote about a $5.2 million funding round raised by Gemvara, a startup that allows you to customize (and order) jewelry online. Since then, things have apparently been going quite well for the company, and it’s making some changes to help spur further growth. I spoke with CEO Matt Lauzon, who told me about the site’s recent progress and some of the changes it’s been making.
First, some stats: Lauzon says that Gemvara, which was previously known as Paragon Lake, has grown from around 20 employees last April to 40 today, and is on pace to close the year out with 60. The average order size has been nearly $1000, and the site is now drawing 2 million page views a month. Lauzon says that Gemvara’s revenue has doubled every month or two since launching in February, and its sales this holiday season will top what an average jewelry store sells in a year. He expects to close out the year with North of a $10 million run rate.
So what’s changing on the site? Lauzon says the biggest change is coming to the homepage, which is going to increasingly highlight select pieces of jewelry and the emotional stories that are attached to them. That’s a good start but it’s mostly aesthetic — in the future though, the site will offer these highlighted pieces of jewelry in fire sales, where many people buy the same item.
Lauzon also had a few interesting facts to share about how the site has grown. Given the site’s customization options, you’d think that most people visit it with the intention of crafting their ideal piece of jewelry. But that’s not exactly true — Lauzon says that while people aren’t keen to be talked into something by their local jeweler, they aren’t necessarily setting out to craft a custom piece, either. Instead, they just want to come across exactly what they’re looking for.
It’s a subtle difference, but Gemvara is taking advantage of it. Lauzon says that the site dynamically builds a custom landing page for each of its jewelry permutations. Then, when a user goes to Google and searches for a piece of jewelry that’s very specific, there’s a good chance that Gemvara’s landing page will show up as exactly what they’re looking for.
Gemvara originally had a model that included selling jewelry from in-store kiosks at partner jewelers, but it has since abandoned that to go online-only.