Brilliant Earth Is Looking to Go Public

MajorsSep 01, 2021

Brilliant Earth Is Looking to Go Public

The retailer, which emphasizes responsible sourcing and now operates 13 showrooms, filed for an IPO Monday.

A trio of engagement rings from retailer Brilliant Earth. The San Francisco-based jewelry company filed for an IPO on Monday. (Photo courtesy of Brilliant Earth)
San Francisco—Brilliant Earth, the digital-forward retailer that emphasizes responsible sourcing, has filed for an initial public offering, with plans to trade on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol BRLT. 

In a Form S-1 filed Monday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Brilliant Earth reported its sales grew 25 percent in 2020, a year in which digital sales in general soared with consumers forced to stay at home. 

According to the filing, the retailer’s 2020 net sales totaled $251.8 million, compared with $201.3 million in 2019. 

Average order value was $3,152, with gross margin at 45 percent and a more than 10x inventory turn. 

The surge in sales pushed the company into the black for the year, with the jeweler recording net income of $21.6 million, compared with a net loss of $7.8 million in 2019.

In its filing, San Francisco-based Brilliant Earth listed its offering at $100 million, a typical placeholder value for a small IPO that will change over time. 

 Related stories will be right here … 

Founded by Beth Gerstein and Eric Grossberg in 2005 as a primarily online-only business with one showroom in San Francisco, Brilliant Earth how has 13 showrooms—all located in big cities—with plans to open at least one more by the end of 2021.

The company is looking to non-bridal fashion jewelry and international expansion as potential growth drivers in the future, it said in its IPO filing.

In a letter included in the filing, Gerstein and Grossberg, who met as students at Stanford Graduate School of Business, detailed how their dissatisfaction with the jewelry shopping experience in the early aughts led them to start Brilliant Earth.

Brilliant Earth launched in 2005 as an e-tailer with a showroom in San Francisco. Today, it has 13 physical locations, with a potential 14th opening by year’s end. (Photo courtesy of Brilliant Earth)
Brilliant Earth launched in 2005 as an e-tailer with a showroom in San Francisco. Today, it has 13 physical locations, with a potential 14th opening by year’s end. (Photo courtesy of Brilliant Earth)

Gerstein said when she was shopping for an engagement ring 16 years ago, none of the jewelers could say where their diamonds came from, while Grossberg was researching the jewelry industry in business school and hearing from friends who were “disenchanted” with their jewelry shopping experience.

“They [Grossberg’s friends] felt unwelcome in luxury stores that seemed out of touch, or ignored in mall jewelers sandwiched next to fast-food chains,” the letter reads. “They said the experience was like stepping back in time 30 years compared with how they shopped for other major purchases.”

“As we shared stories, we knew there had to be a better way.”

Gerstein said in the letter that they launched Brilliant Earth in her apartment, with the goal of creating a tech-forward jewelry company focused on sustainability, transparency, and inclusivity. 

“From our first order shipped from my apartment, to over 370,000 customers across all U.S. states and over 50 countries, it’s been an honor to be a part of unforgettable moments in our customers’ lives,” she wrote. 

“We are excited for the next chapter and are grateful to our community, our partners, and our employees—and to you, our investors—for joining us on this journey.”

If Brilliant Earth goes public, it will hold a unique position among the specialty jewelers currently publicly traded on NASDAQ as a primarily digital jewelry business. 

The company’s growth and potential emergence as a publicly traded company is an indication of two rising trends in the market—the growth in online jewelry shopping and consumers’ interest in having assurance their goods were responsibly sourced. 
Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

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