Custom jewellery startup Taylor & Hart raises another £3.6m to continue its international expansion. Custom made engagement and wedding rings are the company’s main products that brought £3.2m of revenues, or more than double growth, last year. The company is on its way to open a second showroom and a new production facility in London, where its customers will be able to see the final polishment of the jewellery they purchase online.
“Taylor & Hart is a true challenger in a traditional category, with a unique and genuine focus on customer service and product quality, which has impressed us,” says Jason Mahendran from Active Partners.
“Focus is now on further growing in London, followed by replication of this model in other locations. In an otherwise fragmented industry, there is a moment in time and opportunity to create a premium “bespoke” brand that fills a growing gap in the market,” says CEO Nikolay Piriankov.
The round is led by Active Partners, a VC firm that specializes in consumer brands, and is a result of “strong growth and significant development in the executive team,” says Stanislav Sirakov, partner at LAUNVHub Ventures. LAUNCHub is one of the first investors in the company and has significant participation in the current round.
“With Active Partners on board we now believe we have the external capital and expertise to complement our amazing team to succeed in growing the business and owning the ‘bespoke’ space in fine jewellery,” says founder and CEO Nikolay Piriankov.
The e-jeweller disrupting the traditional industry
How big could be the business of a company that offers engagement and wedding rings online and how is that innovation? It appears it could be a business generating over €3M yearly, as much as the founded in 2013 Taylor&Hart managed to make last year. Furthermore, according to one of its first investors LAUNHub, the company is already profitable. The innovation of the based between London and Sofia company lies in the unique way the rings are designed – by the customers themselves and online. The price of a Taylor&Hart ring might vary between £1.5K and £50K, depending on the size of the diamond (80% of the rings) or the precious stone, and the average is around £4K.
The potential of premium jewellery, which according to founder Nikolay Piriankov is about $100b market, naturally attracted the VCs’ attention. Back at the beginning, in 2012, while the company was still operating under the brand Rare Pink, it got received its initial financing of €200k from LAUNCHub Ventures. The Bulgarian fund led also last year’s £1m round.
According to QY Research, the market will reach $96B in 2025. It’s a tough market as there are 10K design and production businesses and 35% of the market is dominated by big retailers as Bain&Company report shows. Digital technologies, on the other hand, are one way for smaller players to find their place on the market. The acquisition of the online jewellery retailer Blue Nile back in 2016 for $500M is an evidence that new business models are interesting.
The physical presence
Up until two years ago, Taylor&Hart was pretty much a digital business – a platform where customers look for inspiration and get in touch with the team of rings consultants. The communication would than move to another digital channel, where the couple would discuss anything together with the designer and see 3D designs of the ring. In the first years, the only offline part of the business has been the production, which was handcrafted by the company’s partner ateliers. However, following the trends on the premium jewellery market and the big players on it, Piriankov decided it’s time for physical consultancy and showrooms. The first one was opened in London and another one will be launching in New York. To open up a second showroom in London and strengthen the US presence is part of the reason Taylor&Hart raised the latest round.
To grow its team, both in Bulgaria and internationally, polish its processes and optimize the supply chain, is also on the agenda of the startup. Last year, Taylor&Hart partnered with technology enterprise Everledger to produce the first engagement ring in the UK that could be traced from mine-to-finger via blockchain.
Despite selling internationally in 20 countries, and surprisingly having Bulgaria as the fourth-strongest market, the UK and the US are the most interesting destinations for Taylor&Hart. Currently, 65% of the clients come from the UK and 30% from the US. “Today they are onto their path to be a market leader in the UK, which is a £50m+ business, and if they manage to crack the US market, it will increase exponentially ”, Sirakov said in a previous interview. According to intilligence platform Dealroom, the company is now valued at at least £14m.