Fortrove News

Gemist is a fine jewelry platform that was launched only last year by Madeline Fraser, who called her company “a tech company that sells jewelry.” She entrepreneurial spirit from Fraser didn't go unnoticed as the world-renowned diamond manufacturing company De Beers had invested an undisclosed amount of capital in the business. In an interview with JCK, Fraser talks of her initial goals with Gemist as well as De Beers.

When asked about her biggest objective in starting Gemist, Fraser said, "I’m an entrepreneur. It’s all I’ve ever done. When I find a problem, I feel I have to solve it. I experienced a big problem trying to design my own engagement ring. I thought Gemist already existed…I thought I could design a ring, try it on, and then buy it. When I dived into it, I realized the industry was really fragmented. You had mass-produced brands like your Blue Niles, your big jewelry retailers like Kay Jewelers and Jared. Then you had these mom-and-pop people. Then you had Tiffany. I needed something that was easy to execute but also affordable. I found that no real version of try-on was available. I was super shocked by that. I went around to retail places in Los Angeles, and everything felt expensive and I didn’t leave any stores being like 'that was great.'  It was  more, 'What do I do now?' I ended up going downtown to this little shoebox office where I literally drew the ring on a piece of paper and gave the guy cash and left. I was like, “Will I even get a ring?! What’s even happening?” As I started talking to friends about it, everyone understood the pain point. The ring came out beautifully, and it’s totally me. I love to say that I designed it, and it was affordable by the measure of what I saw everywhere else. I thought, There is a viable product here, we just have to change the process. And that is what I do—I innovate in industries that need a refresh and a breath of fresh air for a younger demographic. I wanted to build a meaningful transformative experience that allows consumers to easily design jewelry from scratch on a digital platform. But that only got me halfway there. We’re still a society that likes to touch and feel things. I thought, I need to create an amazing digital platform and give it some semblance of reality. For me that was try-on—the ability to actually wear a design. And that’s the goal. I launched into beta in 2019 hyper-focused on engagement rings. Beta is the time to test, and I’m one of those founders where I’m like I’m at 80% of having this all together, and now the customer is going to tell me what to do."

Fraser was then asked if Gemist was intended to be backed from the very beginning, saying "Yes. You need funding to start something. I’m not doing this to have a little tiny company, I’m doing this to disrupt an industry. And you need to surround yourself with smarter people than yourself. I’m not smarter than anyone, I just had the idea and the guts to do it. I’m surrounding myself with the right people to do that. I was on Shark Tank at 22 years old. I’m super persistent. When I believe in something, I go for it 100%."

"I was connected to Stephen Lussier during what was essentially due diligence—you talk to hundreds of people when you’re looking for investors," said Fraser about her connection with De Beers. "He and I hit it off. It was boom, off to the races. The worse anyone can say to me is “no,” then I’m right where I started. Stephen said to me, “De Beers is starting a venture fund, and I think Gemist would be perfect for it.”

Information originally sourced from JCK.