Meet The CEO Who Leveraged Education To Build A Global D2C Pearl Retailer

Meet The CEO Who Leveraged Education To Build A Global D2C Pearl Retailer 960 624 C-Suite Network
Photo courtesy of Pearls Of Joy

When it comes to building a strong connection between consumers and brands in today’s digital age, trust and authenticity are paramount.

Traditionally, industries like retail, fashion, and jewelry have stood as markets that attract skepticism from consumers slow to trust the online shopping experience, with a lack of education leading to the purchasing process feeling risky and inauthentic. From understanding very little about the products and how they are manufactured, to looming uncertainties regarding quality and pricing, consumers are inevitably forced to blindly choose from an array of options online, instead feeling equipped enough to confidently make smarter shopping decisions.

However, despite this looming lack of trust in e-commerce, consumers still remain disinterested and unsatisfied with the status quo. For example, stepping into a traditional retail store means being limited to available inventory, aggressive sales representatives, and the unspoken pressure to make a purchase before exiting. Yet, when a consumers are educated and prepared, they can effectively filter through products to properly evaluate whether what’s on display aligns with their needs.

Noticing the void and value of thoroughly informing consumers, one founder implemented an education-driven approach to building a jewelry retail business, introducing a model that has definitely disrupted a niche, yet incredibly high-end industry.

Founded in 2003, Pearls of Joy is a direct-to-consumer pearl retailer that removes middle men and jewelry store showrooms to deliver high quality pearls to consumers at a more reasonable rate. With a keen focus on informing sellers and buyers about the changing market, Pearls of Joy has also helped launch various educational platforms to help guide consumers on when and how they should purchase pearls.

Respected as a high-priced jewelry asset, pearls are primarily purchased as gifts. As a result, buyers commonly lack insight into the complexities surrounding quality and sourcing, causing uncertainty around which specific pearls to buy. This has made the company’s blog and extended educational efforts a key driver of growth within the industry, in addition to fueling the growing success of their own business.

I spoke with Founder and CEO Kevin Canning about the vision behind his company, the importance of educating consumers, and building a disruptive business model within an emerging industry.

What is the void or opportunity that inspired the idea behind Pearls of Joy?

Kevin Canning: I started by looking at certain industries that had been built around high markups. Jewelry, in particular, has margins around 300%, even higher if we’re talking luxury retailers. Combine that with the high cost of displays, retail space and sales staff, and the jewelry industry was a perfect candidate to be disrupted by the direct to consumer model. With a love of Asia and a firm belief in ‘niching down’, I zeroed in on the small underrepresented pearl jewelry segment. Pearls have been popular gemstone for hundreds of years. Yet, most jewelry stores carry only 2-3 pieces at a time. And, in 2004, online competition at that point was practically non-existent. By cutting…