Aurate, a digital luxury retailer, is making the firstmove into wholesale in its 10-year history. The company is introducing a collection called Laure by Aurate, an exclusive partnership with Helzberg Diamonds.
The 100-item collection, priced from $100 to $1,500, includes rings, earrings, bracelets, and necklaces, which will be sold in 30 of Helzberg Diamonds' 170 stores and on its website. And with a collection called Audrey by Aurate, it will also begin selling its products in some Macy's locations.
Together, the two partnerships will make Aurate products available in 200 stores.
The shift "is a huge next step as we scale our business and continue to democratize fine jewelry," says Sophie Kahn, chief executive officer and co-founder, in its announcement. "The 'Laure by Aurate' collection was made exclusively for Helzberg Diamonds and will tap a new audience for Aurate, introducing the Midwest customer to our earth-friendly, luxury and quality jewelry pieces."
The company, which closed its stores during the pandemic, is also known for collaborations, including a line with YouTube celeb Michelle Choi and another with actor Kerry Washington.
The physical expansion comes as other D2C jewelers are stepping up their omnichannel presence. Brilliant Earth, for example, has expanded to some 30 showrooms. Mejuri, a Canadian company, now has close to 20 stores.
Women's Wear Daily reports that the new initiative came after the company closed on additional funding earlier this year, bringing its total funding to $25 million. WWD also reports Aurate has grown by 50% year over year and that some of the new funding will go to stepped-up marketing.
It's not the easiest of times for the jewelry business, as consumers cut back on discretionary spending. In its most recent quarterly results, Signet Jewelers, for example, parent of brands such as Jared, Kay Jewelers, Zales and Jared, reported a drop of 9.3% to $1.7 billion, with same-store sales falling 13.9%. Signet, which says it's "the world's largest retailer of diamond jewelry." attributed the dip to those macroeconomic pressures and a decline in engagements linked to the pandemic. And it lowered its forecast for the months ahead.