When Millennials think of affordable and noteworthy jewelry brands, Catbird often comes to mind. Since its inception in 2004, this fine jewelry retailer has become highly sought after by today's young luxury shoppers. It is a direct-to-consumer company that has become a multimillion-dollar enterprise, ditching diamond-encrusted traditions for a style that is enticingly modern. As an example, Catbird's gold band is its hottest selling piece. With at least 20,00 of them sold and worn by celebs and royalty like Meghan Markle according to
WWD. The band itself is priced at a modest $44.
When it came to founder Rony Vardi's "retail-first" business model, she recalled a memory of working at a "total hippie futon place" during her twenties. "We made everything by hand, and that was where I learned about this idea that if you’re making stuff yourself, you can control your quantities and your margins, and you’re not artificially marking stuff up and then having sales," Vardi said in a statement to Fortune.
Currently, the Catbird studio employs around 40 jewelers, working full-time to create 500 or so pieces of jewelry a week. The workers are primarily women based in the Brooklyn, New York area. Each jeweler has benefits and salaries while working in a properly ventilated and hygienic studio. "One time, someone who is very entrenched in the jewelry world—a fifth-generation diamond dealer—came in and saw our studio, and said, 'wow there is nothing like this,'" said Vardi. "I didn’t know that until someone said it."
Catbird has made it a point to keep diamonds a rarity in its designs, considering the gray areas of how it isn't readily known if a stone is received through conflict-free means. As a result, in 2018, the company decided to use recycled diamonds and other gems as well. Each of Vardi's stones is delivered from a dealer that works with estate jewelry on an exclusive basis. "That’s something that helps me sleep at night, that I’m not contributing to the mining industry," she said. All of the gold is recycled, too, which Vardi says is pretty common these days: "Everyone touts that, but that’s industry standard. Everybody does that.”
Information originally sourced from Fortune.