Online Jewelry Startup BaubleBar To Open Retail Stores
In the four years since its inception, e-commerce startup BaubleBar has become synonymous with trendy, inexpensive fashion jewelry, boasting 200% growth in 2014 over the previous year and 1,500 orders a day on average.
Now, the web favorite is set to open retail stores to complement its online business, starting out with a 1,200-square-foot outpost in Long Island’s Roosevelt Field Mall, one of the largest shopping centers in the country (it’s operated by big industry player Simon Property Group SPG +0.9%).
BaubleBar’s Harvard MBA co-founders Amy Jain and Daniella Yacobovsky, both 32, saw the suburban New York shopping hotspot as an obvious first location in a store rollout that will be very deliberate, based on data accrued since the company’s 2011 launch.
“We have a very strong customer base in the Tri-state area,” said Jain, adding that BaubleBar’s team is by now familiar with the kind of stylish millennial women they aim to attract to the mall store.
“She’s been shopping with us for four years,” she said. “We get her.”
BaubleBar doesn’t disclose revenues, but industry sources suggest the company’s sales are in the region of $75 million, up from $11 million in 2012, its first full year in business.
Jain and Yacobovsky have raised $15.6 million to date in three rounds of venture capital investment, including a $10 million Series B led by retail maverick Chris Burch’s Burch Creative Capital in 2014. Other VC backers include Accel Partners and Greycroft Partners.
While BaubleBar’s Long Island outpost will mark its first solo foray into brick-and-mortar retail, the company has been testing offline sales almost since its inception with both pop-ups and partnerships with its target customers’ favorite fashion chains.
The startup’s colorful, modestly-priced wares (in the $18 – $68 range, mostly) can be found at Nordstrom JWN +1.02%, Bloomingdale’s and Anthropologie. BaubleBar will maintain its presence in these stores as it grows its own network of mall and street-side shops.
“We’ve been dabbling in offline concepts since we launched the business,” Jain said. “Fashion jewelry is a category that’s very early in terms of e-commerce. Our product is small and impulsive. We want to be wherever our girl is, whenever she wants to buy the product.”
Jain and the 200-strong team at BaubleBar’s Manhattan headquarters have taken time ensuring they have the capability to update their in-store inventory at the speedy rate shoppers have come to expect.
“We have 75 to 100 new styles per week, and an operation built to do that online,” she said. “It’s tougher in a retail format.”
With a 52,600-square foot distribution facility not far from Long Island in Brooklyn’s growing Industry City district, BaubleBar is prepared. Investor Chris Burch, for one, thinks the company has a winning formula on its hands.
“Walking into BaubleBar’s 2013 Soho pop-up shop made me fall in love with retail again,” he said. “Their use of technology and the reaction of the customer when she was able to touch and feel the product before buying showed me how much potential the brand had. Their success in Anthropologie and Nordstrom also shows how well this will translate into their own brick and mortar stores.”