The success of Mark Shami’s online personalized jewelry brand, Jewelers M did not happen overnight. After years of working alongside his family in New York’s diamond district, Shami decided to put his knowledge and experience to the test by launching his own digital brand in 2014. Shortly after launching his own account, his friend Anthony Frisina joined as a partner and the two decided to take advantage of what was then the The golden age of Instagram. With that in mind, they’ve invested their money heavily in Instagram ads and influencer giveaways. It wasn’t until the 2016 holiday season that they saw the impact of their investments, with record sales. Today, M Jewelers is the largest online personalized jewelry company to date, loved by celebrities and consumers alike in the Instagram generation. As their sales continue to grow, we caught up with founder Mark Shami to discuss the evolution of the brand’s continued success.
Tell me about the brand’s launch in 2014. Why did you decide to launch MJewelers and how did you do it?
I grew up around jewelry. My father and two uncles were all involved in jewelry in different ways. Growing up, my dad owned a mom-and-pop store in New York’s Diamond District, and my two uncles are heavily involved in the world of department store jewelry. I was able to learn all the different aspects of the business of retail, wholesale, sourcing, development and production from all three of them which led to my love for personalized and personalized jewelry. I always made name necklaces and rings while working in my father’s store for clients and friends. I started creating TheMJewelersNY.com in the summer of 2013 while working in the diamond district in New York. I built our original website, designed our initial collection of 25 items, photographed all of our products, and launched TheMJewelersNY.com. As excited as I was at launch, once I officially launched the site in 2014, a week went by and my sales stopped coming in. ‘would love to make yourself a personalized nameplate necklace.’ I remember spending all I had on these gift items for months. Everyone started to respond, I was shocked and got hooked. The timing was perfect, we were still in the heyday of Instagram and the playing field was completely open. My best friend Anthony Frisina loved what I was doing and wanted to join the business in 2016. He asked to enter the business with a small amount of money, so I made him a partner. We both didn’t know what to do with the money back then. We thought about buying inventory, opening locations, hiring more staff. Instead, we took the money he brought in, pooled it with what the company had, and put it all in Instagram ads that, at the time, had just been released. launched a few years ago in November 2013. We spent every penny we had on ads and nothing happened. . It wasn’t until our first big holiday season in December 2016 that we realized that all of the influencer outreach and ad spend really worked and orders started arriving every second. It was time to expand.
What was a specific achievement or milestone that you felt most proud of at the start? And also more recently?
It was all surreal when we rented our first office in New York City and hired our first employees. It was only an 800 square foot office in the garment district and we quickly passed it. We ended up moving to bigger floors of the building every few months because we were running out of space. We just rented a 4000 square foot office in SoHo, NY and started building a brand new production space which was always our dream early on.
Tell me about your brand partnership strategy.
We always try to align with the brands and partners we believe in that match our New York philosophy. We have been working for 2 years on a license with the MLB that we are finally launching this year, as well as an activation with programming to follow where we will highlight the creatives of NYC.
MJewelers is favored by celebrities like Gigi Hadid, Kylie Jenner and Billie Ellish. How did it happen?
The celebrity aspect of the brand happened in a very organic way. We get a lot of requests for styling and prints for shoots. We have been able to maintain excellent relationships and friendships with the stylists and editorials with whom we work. We are able to manufacture our parts in-house, which allows us to produce a custom item for overnight turning.
What was your experience during the Covid? What changes did you have to make, if any?
Our process is very unique and each piece is completely personalized and handcrafted, so the covid really rocked us. It really forced us to become more aloof overall and get creative with our deployments of new styles and collaborations. Our sales increased dramatically during covid, we even had to make some of our jewelry equipment work from home. We supported him [and] it made us stronger than ever.
Projects for the future?
We are opening our permanent New York store on Mulberry Street in the summer of 2021. We constantly continue to find ways to improve our functionality and customer experience while expanding our production capabilities.