August 13, 2022


Make Somone Happy

How London-Based Nouvelle Box Is Upgrading The Global Fine Jewelry Marketplace

9 min read

The first year of the global COVID pandemic took a tragic toll on humanity and on the global economy. 2020 also made dings and dents the fine jewelry industry. As the year progressed, independent jewelry designers, established luxury brands and emerging ones, plus jewelry showrooms and retailers, all watched in anguish as sales flatlined. While some businesses soldiered on by selling via their websites and social media, others with severe losses were forced to shut down.

Determined to create business solutions for their jewelry designer, stylist, personal shopper and retail colleagues, London-based veteran brand strategists Valery Demure and Darren Hildrow have just launched an online, business-to-business virtual jewelry marketplace called NouvelleBox.

With 45 years of business experience between them, Demure and Hildrow have created the first wholesale marketplace designed specifically for jewelry. Along with the revolutionary website’s marketplace, there is a service directory of thoroughly vetted jewelry industry professionals who are available to work for hire. (NouvelleBox also contains a newsmagazine and an area that services stylists and personal shoppers.) Important designers based all around the world have already signed on to NouvelleBox. These include: Nada Ghazal (Beirut), Hirotaka (Tokyo), Capucine H (France), Francesca Villa (Italy), Milamore (New York) and Nak Armstrong (Austin, Texas). With a robust online luxury jewelry website plus physical boutiques in Portland and Seattle, Twist was one of the first luxury jewelry retailers to join Nouvelle Box. This writer caught up with the two entrepreneurs via Zoom to learn more about their new virtual venture.

In the history of jewelry wholesaling and retailing, what is NouvelleBox offering that is entirely new?

While there are other virtual wholesale marketplaces, NouvelleBox is the first created specifically for jewelry. We are also the first to tie together every aspect of the jewelry industry community, including personal shoppers and stylists. NouvelleBox helps jewelry brands everywhere by giving them the opportunity to connect directly with jewelry retailers anywhere through our virtual platform, 24-7. Let us be clear: we are not a showroom, rather, we are a digital community and marketplace that serves clients in multiple ways. For example, we also offer brand consultancy services and informative editorial content from industry experts. NouvelleBox opens doors to designers, brands and stores that have been hitherto tightly guarded, thus making retailers more accessible to designers. Our platform facilitates communication between brands and diverse characters and jewelry companies by allowing all parties to connect in a streamlined, enjoyably direct manner, wherever they are in the world.

How will NouvelleBox benefit jewelry designers as never before? How will it help retailers? Jewelry loving shoppers and jewel collectors?

Up until now, it has cost jewelry brands, including small firms with limited budgets, tens of thousands of dollars a year to travel to trade shows where they present their creations to buyers. If they avoided shows, then they’d have to pay agents large commission fees on top of their sales and they’d still never directly connect with jewelry retailers. Through NouvelleBox, the brands can engage with the stores and buyers they want to talk to for a very affordable membership fee without paying commission. To clarify, if the brand has the resources to manage their own sales, they need never pay commission. If they want to work with a showroom, however, our site also works side-by-side with the showroom. We would love for NouvelleBox to collaborate with showrooms. 

We intend for NouvelleBox to open up the world of wholesale and empower our brands so that they can put their profits back into their designs; grow at the right pace, and develop to their fullest potential. While we definitely want NouvelleBox to complement what trade shows do, we have also designed the site to help advance gifted brands that can never afford the expense of ordering a booth in a luxury jewelry trade show, plus traveling back and forth with their jewels to that show.

It’s a fact that jewelry and luxury retailers, along with luxury media companies, spend hundreds of thousands of dollars sending their respective teams around the world to view collections. Weeks are spent traveling around Milan, Paris, London, New York and Las Vegas to view the latest collections and discover new design talents. The carbon footprints generated by the tens of thousands of people participating in these annual shows damages our environment. With NouvelleBox, designers, brands, retailers and media can save their time, money, and the planet by simply logging in to our website.

What are the foundational pillars of your client service philosophy?

Honesty. Transparency with our brands. Integrity in design.

Working hard for those who put their trust in us.

Availability to help and guide

Willingness to listen to the opinions of our brands and stores, and change for the better

Continually striving to improve our communication and services

Why should potential clients trust in NouvelleBox and sign up?

Valery Demure: Between the two of us, we have 45 years of experience in the jewelry industry. I have experienced the ups and downs of running and working within showrooms in several countries. I have witnessed the pitfalls that brands fall into and I have seen what makes them succeed. I understand how stores and brands can forge long and fruitful relationships and also what hinders them. Like Darren, I have developed many brands from the ground up. 

Darren Hildrow: I have launched and worked with many small to medium-sized jewelry brands as a consultant, most recently, while I was at London’s Rainbowwave showroom. I understand the pressures and constraints that small, high luxury brands face in terms of cash flow, staffing and business development.

The jewelry industry is a very beautiful, but very tough business in which to succeed. Great and gifted designers are often overwhelmed by the difficult realities involved with wholesale, production and running their businesses. Both Valery and I aim to use our business experience and knowledge base to make that ride smoother, easier, and financially more beneficial for NouvelleBox clients. Between globalization and COVID, it’s clear that the jewelry industry needs and wants

How is the cost of signing up for NouvelleBox compensated for in terms of the exposure, business development, new retail outlets that it brings?

Brands want and need exposure to stores, and many times, a designer will post their work on Instagram, Facebook or spend masses of money on PR in the hope that the stores they want to be in will see their work. NouvelleBox will give them immediate exposure to the very stores they want and need to engage with.

From our experience of working with small jewelry brands, one of the major hindrances is never quite knowing who to approach to obtain the most valuable information and services. Once a brand becomes a member of NouvelleBox, they will have access to our “Services” area. This is a space in which vetted experts, consultants and business partners list their expertise and direct contact details. All of the brands on the site will be able to reach out to any one of these professionals to enquire about how they can help them grow their business. This is a game changer, for it is giving brands access to years of people and companies that have proven expertise and experience. 

Please tell about the type of writers and jewelry authors who will be supplying editorial content to NouvelleBox

Our intent for the NouvelleBox magazine is that it informs, amuses and inspires the reader. Every article will add to the reader’s factual and emotional and physical jewelry knowledge. After all, jewelry is an emotionally and physically charged product. Shopping for jewelry, wearing it and giving jewelry: these are emotional and physical experiences.

In order to express all of this, we are working with seasoned jewelry writers, those people who have a deep understanding of design, materials, jewelry designers and the trade.  Valery and I will be writing for the magazine, but our writers will also will be available for each one of the brands to help them with writing bios, copywriting, various editorial texts, books, and other work. NouvelleBox is designed to be a jewelry network in which every partner comes together for the betterment of the other. 

In the global and epic narrative of jewelry history, what is NouvelleBox contributing?

Historically, the jewelry world has always been very fragmented into far-flung niches: jewelry brands, stores, business development consultants, PR, editorial media; direct to consumer sales, etc. Each sector has always floated on its own island and struggled to connect with other sectors. NouvelleBox connects all parties and gets them communicating and doing business together in a cost-efficient and time-efficient manner.

Are clients of NouvelleBox mostly European or are they also Chinese, Middle Eastern, South American, etc.?

At present, most are from Europe and the USA, however, we are pleased to have two wonderful brands from Lebanon and another from Japan. The aim of NouvelleBox is to become a global marketplace reaching every area of the world. While there are many upsides and downsides to the Internet, perhaps its greatest capability is that it unites so many people and thus makes business so much easier to conduct. You can be a designer sitting in your living room communicating in real time with a retailer or a consultant in another hemisphere. You can be a U.S. retailer looking for emerging Japanese, Lebanese or French designers. Or you can be a personal shopper or stylist anywhere in the world, ordering jewelry for all of next month’s shoots and client meetings. We are excited about forming a website community that forms a United Nations of jewelry as it will create many new opportunities for brands in particular, and for the jewelry industry in general.

How will NouvelleBox help support the industry to become more sustainable? How will its editorial inform jewelry shoppers about sustainable gemstones, Fairmined gold and other urgent environmental and human workplace issues?                                                                                                           

The two of us started our respective careers in jewelry over 20 years ago and we’ve both watched how various designers, retailers and stylists have implemented sustainable materials and business practices. We’ve both launched and worked with brands that exemplify sustainable business practices. We believe in the next 5 to 10 years that sustainability will become paramount to the survival of jewelry businesses. The writers we have engaged for NouvelleBox have a knowledge base in areas of environmentally sustainable mining, ethical gem material sourcing and other jewelry industry practices. Our magazine, monthly mailers, and also our consultancy programs will inform brands and consumers as we all work towards becoming carbon neutral.