The founders of Motley London have written an open letter to customers outlining the factors that have forced them to shut the business for good.
Cecily Motley and Ilana Lever aimed to provide consumers with access to affordable jewellery based on creations by world-class designers.
But they said changes to terms imposed by Apple and Facebook had prohibited their marketing activities at the same time as precious metal and shipping costs had soared, leaving them with no alternative but to make the “heartbreaking” decision to close.
They explained: “Our vision was ambitious. Probably the most ambitious the jewellery industry has seen. When we started, customers couldn’t get real, well-made designs without paying huge mark-ups. Profits were at the expense of quality, design and the people behind the pieces – designers and makers. We did things differently.
“We teamed up with the best independent designers and skilled ateliers to bring you groundbreaking design at more accessible prices. We paid our designers a commission on every design we sold and made sure our makers were paid fairly.
“By selling to you directly through our website, instead of going through retailers, we could cut out middle man mark ups and charge the very fairest prices (retailers increase the price of products by at least three times their value).”
However, the pair said their growth plans had been thwarted by changes made by the tech giants they relied on to market their products, and rising supply chain costs.
“Against a backdrop of increased inflation and consumer uncertainty, times have been very tough for small businesses. In order to keep our prices fair and accessible, we had to use lower-costing marketing channels than the traditional ones big companies use. For a long time, this was paid adverts on Facebook and Instagram.
“However, last year Apple made some changes which meant that Facebook marketing was far less effective. Then, Facebook put up their prices. This made our marketing unaffordable for us (and many other small businesses too). Many of our other costs also went up, including precious metals and shipping.
“We tried to explore other ways of reaching new customers, like selling our products wholesale to retailers. Unfortunately, the small margins and punishing payment terms which retailers work to meant we would have had to either reduce the quality of our pieces or hike up our prices.
“Ultimately, this would have meant compromising the Motley mission, which did not feel right for our customers, designers or partners. So, we made the heartbreaking decision to close Motley for good.”
The company said its last day for international orders will be 19 April, and for UK orders 5 May 2022. All orders will be fulfilled.
Ms Motely and Ms Lever said that despite the sad ending they remained “incredibly proud” of their work in the industry.