Millennial D-to-c Jeweler Brilliant Earth Files for IPO

·3 min read

Brilliant Earth, the San Francisco-based fine jewelry start-up that sells diamond jewelry in a direct-to-consumer format, has filed for an initial public offering.

The company, founded in 2005 by Beth Gerstein and Eric Grossberg, has been gaining steady steam in the Millennial bridal jewelry market — offering an assortment of lab-grown and naturally mined diamonds, custom engagement rings, and an increasing number of collections for everyday wear. The label aims to offer transparently and ethically sourced jewelry, and says it has so far served more than 370,000 customers.

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The Brilliant Earth IPO is expected to be priced from $14 to $16 a share, with more than 16 million Class A shares offered — resulting in an anticipated $229.4 million in net proceeds for the company. Brilliant Earth has applied to be listed as BRLT on Nasdaq. The IPO is being led by J.P. Morgan, Credit Suisse, Jeffries and Cowen.

In its filing, Brilliant Earth said that revenue over the 12-month period ending June 30 hit $323 million, representing a 56 percent increase over the same period last year. The company’s gross margins are around 45 percent, with an average order value of $3,152.

“From our first order shipped from my apartment, to over 370,000 customers across all U.S. states and over 50 countries, it’s been an honor to be a part of unforgettable moments in our customers’ lives. We are excited for the next chapter and are grateful to our community, our partners, and our employees — and to you, our investors — for joining us on this journey,” Gerstein and Grossberg jointly wrote in the filing. Gerstein serves as Brilliant Earth’s chief executive officer while Grossberg is its executive chairman.

In its history, Brilliant Earth has forged a strong link between its jewelry offering and cynical, young consumers. In its filing, the company said that 87 percent of its “active” consumer base are either Millennials or Gen-Z shoppers.

The brand has benefited from the pandemic, during which consumers began shopping nearly entirely online. While the fine jewelry category had seen a sluggish adoption of e-commerce, the pandemic accelerated the culture of buying expensive luxury goods online.

In April, Gerstein told WWD: “I think it was a challenging year in that it was challenging for everyone, having to change and adapt to new practices. But with the pandemic you did see a large increase in e-commerce adoption, which now in jewelry is over 20 percent. That acceleration was beneficial, so overall we are pleased with how 2020 ended.”

During this time, the company saw a rise in self-purchasing on its website, leading Brilliant Earth to up its output of everyday jewelry collections. Gerstein attributed it to the fact that, “with a little extra disposable income, people are more excited to spend. They’ve been cooped up for a long time and are treating themselves. I think [self-purchase] tends to be a little more trend forward, when women purchase for themselves, whereas men tend to go a little more classic.”

In addition to its e-commerce site, Brilliant Earth has 14 “showroom” style stores across the U.S. where consumers can try on jewelry in-person. Gerstein has told WWD that the company intends to open more of these stores, in addition to ramping up business in international markets including Canada, Australia, the U.K., Japan and China.

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