Jewelry Brand Vrai Opens First U.S. Store in L.A. – WWD

Vrai has opened right this moment at 8470 Melrose Place in Los Angeles.

“Melrose actually felt proper for our model,” mentioned Vrai’s chief government officer Mona Akhavi. “After all, Melrose Place is an iconic road, but additionally it has that timeless luxurious and West Coast really feel.”

This marks the primary U.S. location for the advantageous jewellery model — which produces man-made diamonds created in-house in Washington and California with zero emission, in accordance with the corporate.

Vrai, launched on-line in 2014, unveiled its first brick-and-mortar location final 12 months in Shanghai. It now seems to increase to San Francisco, residence of founder Vanessa Stofenmacher, in addition to internationally. (Since January, the corporate has bought on-line in Germany, France, Spain and the U.Ok., although the U.S. makes up 90 % of complete gross sales.)

The brand new house, with porcelain tile flooring, is impressed by the look of an artwork gallery, mentioned Akhavi. It’s meant to really feel accessible, nonetheless, she famous. The items are positioned on useful metallic, geometric hooks, displayed in custom-built wood frames which can be impressed by artist Donald Judd’s Seventies sculptures.


Vrai was launched on-line in 2014.

“It’s for purchasers to take all of it in, perceive the which means, origins, the way it’s made,” Akhavi mentioned of the bodily house. “I need this to be a spot the place individuals can study in regards to the model, find out about our diamonds, our certification. We’re the primary producer to be licensed impartial, and the way and why that issues.”

It leaves much less of an environmental footprint than mined diamonds, she mentioned, and Vrai — by rising their very own diamonds and controlling the whole provide chain with an in-house crew — gives transparency and ensures that supplies are responsibly sourced. The corporate makes use of recycled gold and packaging is compostable, she added.

“Inside custom jewellery, the diamond can change 15 fingers, from the miner to the distributor, to the customer, to the wholesaler till it will get to the designer,” Akhavi went on. “And sadly, each time it’s marked up. And that markup is just not going to return to the group or surroundings it got here from. It’s really handed on to the buyer.”

For the direct-to-consumer firm, the shop permits customers to view the items in particular person — an particularly key component for many who have but to embrace lab-created diamonds.


A take a look at the unisex line, created partnership with stylists Rob Zangardi and Mariel Haenn.

Designed by architect Cass Calder Smith, the house (that includes iPads and two non-public again rooms) presently showcases the model’s collaboration with Amanda Hearst (which has a charitable part), in addition to partnership with stylists Rob Zangardi and Mariel Haenn — a unisex line worn by the likes of Adam Levine, Jennifer Lopez, Heidi Klum and Angelina Jolie.

There are additionally Vrai’s signature designs and choices, earrings, necklaces, bracelets — and engagement rings, gross sales of which did significantly nicely for the corporate, “up 3X” throughout the pandemic.

“I feel it was due to a few causes,” mentioned Akhavi. “Retail was down, but additionally customers began to make extra acutely aware selections.”

{Couples} purchased greater stones than in years previous, 1.5 to 2 carats on common, she mentioned, with emerald, marquise and oval cuts being hottest. Costs begin at $2,500 for the rings, whereas necklaces begin at $500.

“The pandemic didn’t have an effect on our gross sales, as a result of our important level of gross sales is the web site,” mentioned Akhavi. “We’re a web based model to begin with. And we had been on a development path.”

The corporate has targeted on participating with customers on social and on-line with their digital appointments, which grew 5 instances because the begin of COVID-19. Additionally they started providing personalization two months into the well being disaster, permitting customers to choose the diamond shapes (they’ve 17 complete) and sizes of their selection for necklaces and earrings.

“Individuals actually love having the ability to decide and select the stone themselves,” mentioned Akhavi, including that they’ve a buyer return price of 40 %.

“Though we didn’t have a storefront [then], our customer support and gross sales crew, social media crew are so in contact with our clients,” she mentioned. “We’re a expertise firm first…We are able to transfer quick.”

The Vrai shop is open Wednesday by way of Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. | Jewellery Model Vrai Opens First U.S. Retailer in L.A. – WWD


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