Best friends Amy Jain and Daniella Yacobovsky share a love for fashion. So much so, that they used to spend their afternoon breaks shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue while they were working in finance several years ago. It was during one of those shopping sprees that the two realized that while their closets were filled with clothes, shoes, and handbags, they rarely bought any fashion jewelry. Yacobovsky and Jain observed that boutiques and department stores only offered new products once every season, and there weren’t any places that sold high quality pieces without a high price tag. After probing around, the pair learned that retailers were marking up jewelry as much as 20 times above cost.
Hence, during their first year at Harvard Business School, Yacobovsky and Jain came up with the idea for an online fashion jewelry store that offered high quality yet affordable pieces, with plenty of variety. Once they had gotten about 30 designers to sign on, they created a website called 816. Because Jain and Yacobovsky sourced their collections straight from the designers and didn’t have a physical store, they could set their prices for less than those of retail stores. To build credibility, they partnered with established jewelry company Erickson Beason and allowed free shipping and returns.
Soon, 816 was attracting a lot of customers, but the site could still use some improvement. So after raising $1.1 million from Accel Partners, Yacobovsky and Jain renamed 816 to BaubleBar and gave the website a makeover. The duo also decided to leave the world of banking to focus on their venture full-time.
BaubleBar now gets 200,000 unique visitors per month, with a conversion rate of 4-5 percent. The company introduces new collections twice a week (Mondays and Wednesdays) and has become the only independent retailer of DKNY jewelry as well.