Meeting growing demand for ethical jewellery
Founder and CEO Nikolay Piriankov was frustrated in his attempts to find ethically sourced engagement rings online and spotted a gap in the market. He soon realised that there was robust demand, most notably among the millennial market, as “no companies were offering ethically sourced rings at an affordable price,” he says.
Piriankov believes the industry has been slow to innovate. “The jewellery industry was ripe for disruption, and that is what we are hoping to do,” he explains.
Harnessing the power of technology
Piriankov decided technology was the key to successfully solving this problem, so he created an online platform. His business connects the work of 3D diamond printers and designers with customers from across the globe.
The internet’s global reach allowed Piriankov to source diamonds from cultures with unique traditions. These can be ethically sourced, while also maintaining speedy production rates, with delivery times of between two and five weeks.
Taylor & Hart’s distinctive market positioning and intellectual capital have played key roles in its successful expansion. Its main international markets include the US and and Australia, and exports account for 45% of the company’s sales.
Feedback drives decisions
Piriankov also used the power of technology to secure early equity investment through crowdfunding, helping him source 200 supporters via a Seedrs. He explains how many of these investors grew to become customers, brand ambassadors and advisors. And they have provided the company with essential early word-of-mouth referrals.
Taylor & Hart is primarily a data-driven company. But Piriankov explains how he often turns to investors for advice. “Sometimes just having someone you trust point you in the right direction is enough of a cue to take action,” he explains.
Piriankov is always happy to receive feedback from investors and customers and believes this can be key for decision-making. “Even if I’ve heard it before, sometimes hearing something five times means it is more urgent than I originally thought”.
As an online company, we have to work extra hard to make sure customers who spend £4000 upwards on a ring have a huge amount of trust to invest in us.
Nikolay Piriankov, Taylor & Hart
During the company’s growth journey, Piriankov recalls the importance of bespoke investment expectations at each stage of scaling up.
Early on, he says, a small scale-up company has to work to its strengths. It needs to be nimble and agile, unlike many large companies. Investment has to fuel market experimentation and development during the seed stage, before placing a heavier focus on profit later in the scale-up journey, he explains.
Diamond in the trust
Although it’s an essential ingredient for Taylor & Hart’s success, being a technology-orientated company has caused some complications, most notably when winning customer trust.
“As an online company, we have to work extra hard to make sure customers who spend £4000 upwards on a ring have a huge amount of trust to invest in us,“ says Piriankov.
He expects to launch further equity investment rounds to fund marketing campaigns – particularly in public places like the London Underground. Building brand trust creates a virtuous circle, he says, as it “allows you to attract future investors and engage new customers”.
Piriankov believes his legacy will play a part in “changing people’s perceptions about how the positive effects of technology improve their experiences”. He hopes that increasing awareness of his ethically sourced rings will make this ambition a reality.