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INTERVIEW: Meet the jewellery matchmaker helping consumers around the globe

BEAN

In Detail is a jewellery concierge that specialises in matching clients with their perfect engagement ring from the most exceptional jewellers worldwide. This is not how the business start out though.

Launched in 2011, In Detail began life as an online jewellery publication documenting the jewellery boxes of inspiring women and providing a platform for jewellers around the world.

Garnering over fifty thousand visitors a year, the platform quickly evolved into the go-to destination for discovering unique and design-led jewellery.

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As more and more people got in touch for advice on buying their engagement ring, founder, Beanie Major, realised there was a jewellery buyer, who like her had a deep appreciation for originality, design and quality. When consumers couldn’t find what they wanted, Major made it her mission to find it for them and the In Detail engagement ring concierge was born.

Here, Asha Pitt finds out more about how the business has evolved over the years…

You’re clearly a jewellery lover. Tell us a bit about your jewellery journey?
I was introduced to jewellery design whilst at school; my teacher had studied silversmithing at the RCA so she set up a jewellery bench in the classroom and encouraged us to get involved. I fell in love with the design process and with her support I went on to study jewellery design and silversmithing at Edinburgh College of Art.

Every summer I worked at Tiffany’s within Harrods. It was a really amazing insight into the jewellery buyer. Jewellery is so personal, it was there that I learnt how to get to the heart of what each client wants, a skill I still use today.

After completing my studies I started working for Shaun Leane as an intern. I bombarded the office prior to placement — there was nowhere else I wanted to be. I started out working on the bench, then joined the sales team but I was keen to design. I planted my sketchbook in my handbag on a night out and shared it with the creative director after a little dutch courage. The next thing I knew, I had landed a junior role with the design team.

What was your inspiration for In Detail?
I started In Detail whilst still at Shaun Leane. Shaun gave me the impetus to really drive it forward. I could see a gap in the market for a content platform that would make jewellery more accessible to people. E-commerce was growing but I instinctively knew that jewellery was a touch and feel product — the question was how to bring it alive online.

I came up with a name, my co-founder built a website and we went down to London Fashion Week to photograph the jewellery people were wearing to the shows. We launched the platform in September 2011, and a week later Grazia got in touch to ask us to create a guest blog for their platform. A week after that we were invited to cover an event at The House of Garrard.

With the seal of approval from one of the oldest jewellery establishments and a global publication we were off. We started contacting inspiring women to ask if they would be prepared to share their jewellery collection with us. It didn’t matter where the jewellery was from; it was all about the stories and how people styled it. That is what set us apart from the beginning. It was about real people wearing real jewellery.

Last year you announced the launch of your personal shopping service. How did that venture come about?
Over the years we have connected with the world’s best jewellers, providing a platform for them to share their own stories. As our knowledge of the industry grew people started getting in touch asking for help in sourcing jewellery for special occasions. Our aim has always been to connect people to jewellery in a meaningful way. Now we are doing that on a very personal level.

What sort of audience is In Detail aimed at? What’s your USP?
Our audience is approximately split 85% female, 15% male, with an average age of between 25 and 45 years old. Our core demographic is fashion forward, seeking unique design-led pieces with well-crafted back stories.

We communicate differently to other jewellery platforms; our tone of voice has been compared to that of a trusted friend, I think reinforced with our honest writing and imagery. We don’t focus on trends; we prefer to create content and feature jewellery that remains relevant irrespective of trends.

How do you use social media to drive your business forward?
The link between the main platform and social media has enabled us to grow In Detail from a blog to a business. It’s fantastic when we post an image of a model wearing three rings stacked and we then get a request via social from a client who wants to buy all three because our imagery has inspired them.
From a personal viewpoint, In Detail has enabled me to grow my professional network and I have been able to interview people and discover new designers and brands from all over the world.

What tips would you give aspiring jewellery influencers? How do you create impact and gain traction in today’s marketplace?
Don’t try and be an influencer — for influencers sake. I absolutely credit much of my success to my passion for jewellery. That passion led to a thirst for deep knowledge of the industry.
Knowing why you do what you do is so important. Even when I’ve had doubts or challenges, having a clear vision of what I am trying to achieve has helped me to prevail.

Has your age or gender ever been a barrier to your progression within the jewellery trade?
I’ve come up against challenges and difficulties like everyone who makes their own path in business, but I don’t think it has been due to my gender or age. If anything my age and gender was an advantage when I started out, as it was my generation that the jewellery brands were trying to target.

I’ve had some phenomenal support throughout the years. There is a lot to learn in this industry and I try to pass on my own knowledge now I have been in it for a decade. It’s so important to search for and encourage new talent and ideas. The industry needs to engage with young, passionate and innovative people who have their fingers on the pulse. And also support the next gen of jewellers through mentoring; the two-way exchange of experience, knowledge and skills is so important.

If you could, what advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
I have learnt to move – grab opportunities or try ideas – then improve. Things don’t have to be perfect when you take them to market. You can build your product or service with the help of your customer. Not everything works. And that’s all okay; as long as you learn from experience and always strive to create the best value for your clients.

From a consumer perspective, what do you think the biggest challenges are for the trade?
Lots of exciting jewellers have burst onto the scenes over the last decade so the consumer has a lot to choose from. For designers, this means it’s very important they stay true to their core in order to stand out. There is a lot of noise out there, so having a clear brand will act as a beacon to your clients.

Online and social is critical; it’s simply how we shop now, for everything from groceries to holidays. It’s where life is happening.

The industry has a long way to go online; but the last couple of years we have seen great advancement.

Tags : Beanie MajorIn Detail
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The author Stacey Hailes

Editor, Professional Jeweller

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