In this episode, the featured finance term is Assets that we discuss with Lauren Grunstein, the Vice President of Sales, PR, and Marketing for Verstolo Fine Jewelry. Lauren shares with us how she creatively uses the company’s fine jewelry assets to generate revenue, social-media buzz and long-term brand loyalty by offering jewelry rental for brides and special occasions.
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I found Verstolo on Instagram, like so many of their customers do. During the planning process of my own wedding, I started researching day-of jewelry. Prior to Lauren’s brilliant marketing move of focusing on Verstolo’s Rental Collection, the option of borrowing fine jewelry was only an option only for celebrities with stylists, and certainly not something attainable for the civilian style set! I was immediately smitten with the business model, and had to learn more about the strategy.
Beyond the operations of successfully shipping millions of dollars of fine jewelry around the world every weekend, I was also fascinated by the way Verstolo is shaking up the fine jewelry space by creatively using their assets to generate a new stream of income for the business. By offering fine jewelry rental, Verstolo is also building more interest in the brand’s fine jewelry itself, all of which is designed in house by the Verstolo team. This opens the doors to clients that might have never interacted with the brand otherwise.
Social media has been a very important part of the growth of the rental service for Verstolo. Prior to joining the team, Lauren shares that Verstolo as a whole didn’t have much of a presence on social media. When she joined the company, it was important to her to find Verstolo’s brand voice and start building brand awareness. She knew that once she did this, she would start to connect with new clients and customers in a very authentic way.
With her background in both fashion and beauty public relations and fundraising, she discovered she was ready to transition into more of a sales role. Pulling experiences from different jobs over time helped Lauren determine what she was good at, and what she was passionate about.
When Lauren was introduced to the team before she had started working there, she found that they didn’t have a social media presence, and there was no plan in place for growth. Both Verstolo and Lauren soon realized that they needed each other, because more people needed to know about the opportunity to rent fine jewelry. Lauren then joined the small, family-owned business.
Without starting a business herself, Lauren still gets to be part of entrepreneurship by joining a founding team. She shares that entrepreneurship is a mindset, even though Verstolo is not “her” company, she still treats it like her baby. And because she loves what she does, she’s able to stay motivated and inspired through all the highs and lows.
The rental side of the business has created a whole new way to build relationships with their clients. They have the opportunity to connect with clients they might not have normally connected with. When walking through the rental process with a bride, they get to sit down together, talk about her look, her personality, and all about her upcoming wedding. They find so much joy in getting to make a bride feel special on her big day.
The wedding comes and goes, but the goal is that the relationship with the client doesn’t stop there. When it comes to future purchases, they have found that clients have returned to either purchase the jewelry piece they wore on their wedding day, or to inquire about custom pieces to celebrate occasions such as milestones in their lives. Overall, Lauren described the customer journey as delightful and happy.
When she first jumped in, Lauren came in with zero relationships in the wedding industry. She quickly started seeking out connections because she learned that it’s all about who you know. By getting introduced to one network after another, she was able to grow relationships. And eventually, through her relationships and word of mouth, they gained clients and learned more about the industry as a whole.
Lauren keeps herself up at night by constantly asking herself, “How do we get in front of more brides?” She sees so much opportunity in front of Verstolo, especially because of the growth of renting in the fashion industry as a whole. They’ve discovered that they’re one of a kind in the industry of fine jewelry rental. For that reason, they are passionate about brides learning about Verstolo, so that brides can have the option to rent for their wedding.
For those interested in small business and entrepreneurship, Lauren says to focus on finding your passion. Start something around an idea that gets you up in the morning. Because at the end of the day, every entrepreneurship journey comes with high highs and low lows. Finding your passion and determining what you genuinely believe in is sure to set you up for success.