Taylor & Hart bespoke diamond engagement ring
Please introduce yourself and your startup Taylor & Hart to our readers!
Taylor & Hart was founded in 2013 when couples who wanted to personalise their engagement ring design together started to create their stories with us. We realised there was a gap in the market for a product category that was growing fast. Young people wanted to express themselves and their own unique love story through a piece of jewellery that they have played a part in designing, and we could enable them to do so through a custom-design service.
How did you get the idea to Taylor & Hart?
It was me and my friend David who founded the company previously known as Rare Pink. David had some experience in the diamond wholesale trade and my experience was in digital marketing, having started several websites and ecommerce businesses while studying at the University of Manchester. We decided to join forces and work together to sell diamonds online. Our first idea, of selling just the diamonds, didn’t go too well, but it was part of our learning curve.
How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?
It’s not easy to keep getting up after every failure, but the thing is, as an entrepreneur, you either enjoy the rollercoaster and choose to stay on or you feel sick and get off. I’m personally loving the ride.
The challenges are mostly around finding product-market fit, at first. Understanding what it is your customer wants exactly and who they are.
It is important to “bootstrap” for as long as possible. This means not spending much money until you’re confident you have a business model that can grow.
You also have to change as you grow and learn, both personally and as a company. The personal growth for a founder is one of being very technical and then having to learn how to delegate the technical work to better skilled hires and focussing on strategy and managing people. The skills that helped you to get started are often not the same as those you need later on.
Who is your target audience?
On a broader scale those are millennials – people who are now between 25 and 35 and who are revolutionising romance. Those are exactly the couples who are not satisfied with an off-the-shelf ring but want to personalise it, add their own unique details to it. They want to be different, they buy different.
We also target HENRY’s – high earners not rich yet. Thus our London City location. We want to be closer to the people who would use their lunch break to search for an engagement ring on their mobile and would have the chance to pop into our showroom for a quick consultation.
What is the USP of your startup?
We design one-of-a-kind pieces for our customers at a speed and price point that is unrivalled. At a time when 45% of all couples are getting engaged with a customised ring, we see this trend as the most relevant one for our industry. As a tech company, we are able to offer this service globally, making custom-design accessible and affordable to more people than it was before.
Can you describe a typical workday of you?
A typical day for me starts with a quick look at our dashboards. This helps me to get a feel for whether we’re on track in terms of our KPIs and if there are any irregularities, I make a note to follow up with the relevant person who is responsible for that specific metric.
As my role is very broad, I would say the rest of the day depends on whether we are fundraising at that particular point in time. If we are, then most of my time goes into scheduling meetings with investors, requesting intros to investors, meeting with them and answering questions. Fundraising is a full-time job.
But when not fundraising, I spend my time mostly working on improving our customers’ experience, on the website and through our sales process. As CEO I believe my time should be split between strategic thinking and planning, ensuring we have enough funds and getting the best results from the people on our team (or bringing in new people when needed for growth)
Where do you see yourself and your startup Taylor & Hart in five years?
Taylor & Hart already sells across Europe, the US and UK, but we’re on our way to global expansion. I’d like the brand to be globally recognised for our unique custom design service – a bespoke jeweller.
What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
My advice is to remember one key lesson: “Compared to the large giants in the industry who have more people, more money and more experience than you, all you have that is better than them is speed – the ability to decide quickly and act on those decisions”. Many people spend too much time working isolated on a large website release and then when they launch they wonder why no one is buying anything. Testing and moving quickly is essential.
Find a mentor (or mentors) – having someone who can see the bigger picture from outside the company and who understand what it means to build a successful business can help you make fewer mistakes, correct mistakes quickly and can be extremely useful in times of high stress or uncertainty.
Build a great team. No one succeeds on their own. Focus on the team and not the idea as a strategy for growing your business.
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Thank you Nikolay Piriankov for the Interview
Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.