Moissanite manufacturer to increase marketing

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US-based simulated stone maker to use social media to reach consumers

US-based Moissanite gemstone maker Charles & Colvard has announced plans to add to its growing sales momentum with a series of marketing initiatives this year.

Chief executive Randy McCullough discussed plans for a social media-based marketing initiative, direct sales on the company’s website and support for "home trunk sales" during a conference call with analysts and in a phone interview afterward, however the company hasn’t disclosed how much it plans to spend on these efforts.

Charles & Colvard also released fourth-quarter financials that showed that its turnaround is continuing, with 48 percent sales growth and a fourth consecutive quarter of profitability, a reverse from the losses it struggled with in 2008 and 2009.

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Losses at the synthetic gemstone company have seen it cut costs through redundancies, however Charles & Colvard has now hired a marketing firm to oversee its social media initiative, which will encompass "a series of projects that we believe will increase sales and market awareness," McCullough said.

Those efforts, which will be phased in during the coming months, will include reaching out to bloggers who focus on the jewellery market to monitor what people say about moissanite online, with a view to interacting as necessary.

McCullough contrasted this new social media effort with the $39 million that the company spent on traditional advertising between 2004 and 2009. "That resulted in less than 8 percent consumer awareness," he said. "I don’t think anyone wants us to do more of the same."

The company also plans to sell finished jewellery directly to consumers at its moissanite.com website later this year. It will conduct a controlled beta test before it opens sales to the public. The company is also looking at a trail-run of ‘Tupperware-like’ parties hosted by independent contractors who are paid on commission in the third quarter.

 A key focus for some simulated stone manufacturers is the notion of the stones being ‘ethical’ as they are not being mined and causing damage to the environment.

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