A COUPLE turned a part-time job into a multi-million dollar business against all odds – now they’re capitalizing on their success.
Diamond expert Olivia Landau and her husband Kyle Simon have an impressive office in central New York from which they operate their modern jewelry business.
Her company – The Clear Cut – is an online jewelry store that simplifies the process of buying diamonds while educating customers along the way.
Olivia – a fourth-generation diamond expert – and Kyle met while attending a geology class and quickly fell in love and got married.
While they were dating, Olivia set up a jewelry blog to help people understand how diamonds are worked.
The blog was an instant hit, so she and Kyle invested their time in developing a full-time business.
Olivia’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather were diamond cutters or dealers, so it’s no surprise that she carried on the family trade – even when her parents discouraged her and warned that the industry was on the decline.
“I fell in love with diamonds and gems and I think it was in my blood all along,” Olivia said.
After graduating, Olivia began working for the Tiffany & Co. flagship store on the engagement floor, where she “first fell in love with engagement rings and diamonds.”
She told Entrepreneur.com, “But I wanted to be a little more hands-on, so I left Tiffany to work at a big diamond wholesaler here on 47th Street.”
Kyle, who also graduated from Columbia Business School, saw a gap in the market.
When all of his friends started getting married, they turned to him for advice, knowing he had a connection to the diamond industry thanks to the time he spent in Sierra Leone establishing a fair trade diamond mining business.
“So they’d be like, ‘Hey, do you know a guy who can get me a deal on a ring?'” Olivia said.
“And since I was the one who worked wholesale, I was the guy. So I would educate everyone, pick their diamonds, make their custom rings, and it became this fun thing that I did on the side.”
Your business was booming.
“I realized that most people didn’t even know the first thing about buying a diamond.
“There was information online but no one knew what to believe or believe. So I started The Clear Cut so our friends could read about the do’s and don’ts, the four Cs.”
The four C’s stand for Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat.
She also created a presence on Instagram and between 2016 and 2018 she turned her side job into a fully functioning business.
“Strangers across the country sent me DMs and sent me their life savings, and I made a ring and sent it to them,” she said.
Kyle said, “Moving into full-time has been quite intimidating. I had just finished two years in business school and was in quite a bit of debt. And Olivia sold things on the side, but demand was very sporadic. So it was like, Is there enough here to support [ourselves]?”
The pair were enrolled in a tech starter program in 2018, which unlocked £105,000 in funding and used part of the money to develop software to improve the only jewelry buying process.
Their software, called gem., offers customers the ability to design their own bespoke rings online.
They would have a 15 minute consultation with Olivia or a Clear Cut representative where they would see a selection of handpicked diamonds for review.
If the customer is satisfied, he leaves a deposit and the ring goes into production. When it is ready, it will be sent to the customer.
The portal also gives them access to their assessment, GIA certificate and even an optional NFT for purchase.
Also, their technology generates a QR code for each stone that customers can track during the manufacturing process.
Now engagement rings are her best selling items.
“These days, young people of the age when they’re going to get engaged have all been looking to Instagram and TikTok for inspiration for their rings,” Olivia said.
“They know exactly what they want and they don’t want to compromise on quality or looks or overspend.
“When we started we were the customers, so we really understood those needs and tried to meet people where they are.
“We are democratizing this unique private jewelry experience [accessible to] celebrities or really wealthy people, [and we’re] This makes it an affordable price for anyone, anywhere.”
She added: “We always do [prioritized] Education first, which seems pretty basic these days, but this industry is very opaque and traditionally likes to keep a lot of secrets and isn’t super transparent – that’s how it’s always worked.
They also increased their social media appeal by hosting weekly Q&A that garnered “hundreds and hundreds” or questions, giving the company more exposure.
By 2019, The Clear Cut secured a steady stream of regular customers and expanded its range to include charms and tennis bracelets.
Since then, the company has doubled its growth year over year and shows no signs of slowing down.
In 2020, they made the Forces 30 under 30 list.
The couple started out with barely any cash, but made more “judicial” decisions when it came to their day-to-day money, investing it to grow the business.
“We’ve been able to invest in technology and build a very scalable, resilient business,” explained Kyle.
“Regardless of what the last four years have thrown at us, we could always succeed, and we could enter a recession, [but] we are battle-hardened and disciplined.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6548538/couple-side-hustle-million-dollar-business/ We’re a couple who turned my side job into a multi-million dollar business… I guess you could say it was in my blood