Enough with the baby metaphors. After all, this isn’t a story of how parental leave can boost entrepreneurship; rather one of passion and conviction and a turbo-paced setup of an online business.
But sure, co-founder Emelie Blom is on maternity leave again. With her one-month-old sound asleep in her arms, she tells us how the business came about.
“We’re two of a kind,” Emelie Blom says of her business partner Karolin Leeb. “On our toes, know what we want, plus we share the same passion for diamonds and jewellery.”
The pair had worked for many years together at the buying department of Swedish fashion retailer H&M, hands-on from raw product idea to store shelf. As it turned out, both of them had their own projects on the side, independently exploring jewellery designs and what an up-to-date expression could look like in rings, necklaces and bracelets.
How Craving for was born
On a September night out in 2017, they had their road-to-Damascus moment: As they were sipping a glass of bubbly at a local brasserie, shooting out ideas, the duo suddenly realized what they were craving for: A brand of their own. Diamonds and jewellery with a modern touch. Hand-crafted, but affordable.
”We just felt ‘we have to do this’,” Karolin Leeb remembers. “We moved fast but didn’t cut any corners. We surveyed the market, looked at suppliers, made new designs, mood boards and wireframes, then invited friends and interested colleagues to give us input and pose with jewellery for product photos. That gathering actually served as a quick and super agile market survey, if you like.”
Emelie Blom says this gave them a clear vision of what the store would encompass. At this early stage, participants of the survey event were offered the chance to buy the first Cravingfor designs at purchase price plus VAT, no add-ons. In return for this deal, the founders would develop some buzz and get a first understanding of their future market.
They then moved on to book locations for product and fashion shoots, with pro photographers, models and the lot. On a parallel track, with assistance from family members, they calculated projected earnings and worked out what a sustainable margin would look like.
Three months after that momentous glass of bubbly, the online store premiered, set up on a Shopify platform with five different collections on offer. Today, almost two years later, here’s how things are looking:
- The original idea stands. There was – and is – a gap in the market for hand-crafted jewellery with an updated look and feel, and an affordable price tag.
- Wedding and engagement jewellery is great for drumming up sales and return buyers. Around half of the revenues this year stems from here.
- Participating in key trade fair events is crucial for understanding competition and market opportunities.
- Royalty loves pearls. The biggest splash yet came when Swedish Crown Princess Viktoria not only once, but on several occasions, was seen wearing baroque pearl earrings from Cravingfor.
Plans for future growth
So far, this duo is living their dream, designing and adorning, using their fashion skills to pick this season’s winner gems (pearls are still in style by the way). But competing in the retail store price range with non-mass-produced items means it takes patience to grow the business.
“Fast track to a few years from now and I would love for us to have turned this into a steady and sustainable business,” Karolin Leeb says.
She admits she is already toying with the idea of bringing diamonds and gemstones – or whatever customers may be craving for (the brand sure has an ambiguous quality to it) – to other parts of Europe. Today Sweden is their No. 1 market, though they offer free worldwide shipping.
“Our main focus now is to spread the gospel. Make people aware of our brand,” says Emelie Blom, adding they basically didn’t spend anything on advertising during the first year.
“Now we’re working with a PR agency to reach the right stylists, influencers and celebrities,” she says, noting that their jewellery has been seen on singer-songwriter Tove Lo, film actress Hedda Stiernstedt and television host Tilde de Paula among others.
Offering Smoooth payments to diamond shoppers
The company is also a brand new partner to Klarna.
“We’ve actually been approached by customers asking if they could pay with Klarna. And honestly, I’ve heard about the ‘smoooth experience’ and all,” Emelie Blom says a bit sarcastically, “but hey, it really is slick. I myself use Klarna all the time. You log in, two taps, pay on expiry date, done.”
“More than anything, the key benefit we see with Klarna is the possibility to break up payments into installments. For a customer to pay $1,000 upfront, I mean, it could definitely be a deal-breaker. I’m convinced that paying in installments will be appreciated by our customers,” she says.