Brilliant Earth Took a Record Number of Orders in 2022
In its recent results, the company highlighted non-bridal jewelry sales and said its “inventory-light” showroom model may change.
“It was a great year for our brand,” CEO Beth Gerstein said on an earnings call Thursday evening.
She highlighted the company’s double-digit revenue growth, its gross margin increase and strong profitability, noting the fourth quarter exceeded its bottom-line expectations.
Here are five key takeaways from Brilliant Earth’s fourth-quarter and full-year results.
It was a strong year for Brilliant Earth, but a weak fourth quarter.
Net sales in the fourth quarter, which ended Dec. 31, slipped 2 percent year-over-year to $119.6 million, with net income falling 46 percent to $6.2 million.
Gross profit was $65.4 million, or a 55 percent gross profit margin, compared to $62.3 million, or a 51 percent gross profit margin, in the prior-year period.
Notably, ahead of the holiday season, Brilliant Earth said it would not be discounting to sell through its inventory, with Gerstein adding, “we don’t believe in chasing unprofitable growth.”
The total number of orders rose 14 percent, though the average order value (AOV) fell 14 percent.
The company’s full-year results were better, with net sales up 16 percent to $439.9 million.
However, net income fell 28 percent to $19 million.
Gross profit was $234.3 million, or a 53 percent gross profit margin, compared to $187.4 million, or a 49 percent gross profit margin, in the prior-year period.
Brilliant Earth took a record 149,613 orders in 2022, with total orders up 27 percent year-over-year but AOV down 9 percent.
The company has noted in previous quarters that sales of non-bridal fine jewelry are on the rise but the category has a lower average price point, which is bringing down its AOV.
On Wednesday’s call, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Kuo attributed the decline in AOV to strong demand for items priced below $10,000, in addition to the popularity of its non-bridal fine jewelry.
Brilliant Earth will continue to invest in non-bridal fine jewelry.
Brilliant Earth is best known for its bridal offerings but has been expanding its fine jewelry selection.
It has branched out into cocktail rings and men’s jewelry and has collaborated with popular designers for new collections, including Tacori and Jade Trau.
The company continued to see strong growth in non-bridal fine jewelry and plans to continue to invest in the category.
In Q4, fashion rings, particularly cocktail rings, did well, as did on-trend tennis bracelets and necklaces.
“We know our fine jewelry is attracting new customers to our brand,” said Gerstein, noting that one-third of new customers bought non-bridal fine jewelry.
Its wedding bands were also top sellers.
“2021 was an unprecedented year of growth in bridal for our industry, and, while we anticipate some normalization over the course of this year, we expect to continue to drive share gains as we introduce new collections,” said Gerstein, hinting at some newness coming in the next few weeks.
The brand is resonating with Gen-Z and millennial shoppers, and self-purchasers.
The company also boasted about its appeal to Gen-Z and millennial customers.
Online searches for Brilliant Earth reached an all-time high in Q4, said the company.
The number of customers served in 2022 grew 25 percent.
Notably, it touted 70 percent year-over-year estimated growth in women purchasing jewelry for themselves in 2022.
“We know that self-purchase is an important and growing trend in the jewelry category. And, for Brilliant Earth, our strong brand resonance across genders has been a major driver of new customer and order growth,” said Gerstein.
As younger shoppers search for brands aligned with their values, Brilliant Earth continues to work toward being a more sustainable jewelry brand.
Alongside its annual results, Brilliant Earth released its 2022 Mission Report, outlining its ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) progress and future goals, which focus on “transparency, sustainability, compassion, and inclusion.”
Its goals include using 100 percent recycled or Fairmined certified precious metals by 2025 and improving its traceability efforts.
Brilliant Earth’s store network will keep expanding, and its inventory model may evolve.
Though it started as an online-only business, Brilliant Earth has been expanding its brick-and-mortar presence.
In 2022, the company opened new showrooms in 10 cities, including Houston, Minneapolis, Detroit, and St. Louis.
Its first opening of 2023 was in Charlotte, North Carolina, marking its 26th location. The company plans to open 10 new locations this year, including stores in Brooklyn, New York; Tampa, Florida; and Pasadena, California.
Brilliant Earth’s stores function as showrooms. They are light on inventory, with customers viewing select jewelry on display and then placing orders online.
However, this model may change, said Kuo.
“Over time, as we successfully expand fine jewelry to be a larger percentage of our business and grow our showroom footprint, we do anticipate our inventory model will evolve to accommodate those needs,” he said.
The company is approaching the year ahead with cautious confidence.
Looking to the year ahead, the company is expecting first-quarter net sales of $94 million to $96 million with adjusted EBITDA of $2.5 million to $3.5 million.
For fiscal 2023, Brilliant Earth is forecasting new sales of $460 million to $490 million with adjusted EBITDA of $17 million to $32 million.
Gerstein said, “We feel great about the strength of our brand and the resilience of this category and we are balancing that with some degree of caution given the current environment and recognizing that we are coming off of our biggest year in weddings.”
She added the company has plans to reach new customers and retain the loyalty of its existing ones via design innovation, marketing efforts, expanding its fine jewelry selection, improving its omnichannel experience, and opening new showrooms.
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Reginald Brack has worked at StockX and Christie’s.
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