According to TheKnot.com, a bridal website, the majority of weddings that were postponed in 2020 will take place in some form or fashion in 2021. Elsewhere, the Wall Street Journal reports elopement is at an all-time high amidst the pandemic.
Marrow Fine Jewelry, a Carmel Valley-headquartered jewelry company which was already on a rapid growth trajectory since being founded in 2016, is profiting from the booming COVID-19-related matrimonial trends.
Despite the global coronavirus crisis, the fine jewelry co. grew its revenue by 20% in 2020, according to founder Jillian Sassone. And, so far, 2021 is shaping up to be another significant growth year, she said.
Gang Buster Year
“This year is going to be gang buster – we just opened a second store (in Lido Marina Village in Newport Beach) and are doing a pop-up trunk show in a new city every weekend this year,” said Sassone. “That first year we opened at One Paseo, we more than doubled our growth projections. The new store, which opened the last week of January, is 750 square feet in size. We are projecting it will double our sales from last year, which is a huge jump.”
Marrow Fine grew its revenue 350% in 2017 and by 400% in 2018, she said. In 2019, it was originally projected to grow another 300%, but that number doubled thanks to the opening of the One Paseo flagship store. Sassone rents an apartment at the mixed-used development by Kilroy Realty, which the company’s 15 employees use as their main hub, she said.
Bells + Whistles
While Sassone wasn’t necessarily looking to expand Marrow Fine during the pandemic, when the operators of Lido Marina Beach called her about the opening of a space where a former jewelry store was housed, it was a no-brainer, she said.
She hired Los Angeles-based interior design firm Bells + Whistles, which also oversaw the One Paseo project, to create a bright, inviting space with modern white display cases and pops of greenery throughout.
Much like the inaugural One Paseo location, which opened early 2019, the new Marrow Fine store will offer all of the services the company is known for, said Sassone. This includes its White Glove program, she said, through which the company creates custom pieces for its customers via a very detailed, collaborative and luxurious eight-week-long experience.
It will also take family heirlooms and turn them into beautiful, innovative creations, whether that is by way of a previous Marrow Fine design or a complete overhaul, Sassone said, as well as source stones for those looking for a brand-new concept.
Luxury Experience Without the Stuffiness
For Tim Sassone, husband of Jillian Sassone and business partner, it is Marrow Fine’s approach that has always made and continues to make the company successful – even amid an economic downturn.
“Lots of people were buying non-branded jewelry and having lackluster experiences in jewelry exchanges and corner jewelers (and) they were uncomfortable, the sales process was sleazy and they were being presented with traditional/stale design concepts,” he said. “We address that gap by providing a luxury experience without the stuffiness. The designs have an edge but have an everyday sensibility to them. We love to make people happy and feel welcomed. We love design and artistic expression. We want to share that sentiment with anyone who wants to engage with us. The response to the work has been very positive.”
Sassone is best known for reimagining heirloom stones and stacking rings. It is her designs’ art deco approach that really appeals to her loyal, cult-like clientele. A pair of everyday baguette studs in 14-karat-gold go for $540 on her website, while a 14-karat-gold wedding band called the hand-carved Geo everyday band runs for $600.
Today, Marrow Fine boasts clients like reality star and designer Lauren Conrad, Natalia Cordova Buckley from the television show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Coco, Karrueche Tran from TNT’s Claws and singer Hillary Duff.
Now that the new store is up and running, Sassone said she plans to rest on her laurels for most of this year. It won’t be until Q3 of 2021 that she will start narrowing down where the next Marrow Fine store will be, she said. Based on the experience the company has had via its pop-up trunk show, Dallas, Texas, is a major contender, she said, with potentially New York City – her husband’s hometown – being a likely possibility.
By Q1 of 2022, she expects a third Marrow Fine brick and mortar to be in full operation.