From buying and selling jewelry from their student apartment to an annual revenue of over one million euros: find out about the wonderful story of Waekura – which means flamingo in Maori. How is the costume jewelry brand "modernizing the jewelry world by offering a premium experience at an affordable price"? How did it maintain its growth with Silvr during Covid-19? How did the brand so easily and quickly export its business (specifically to Asia)? Their success story is told here.
It all started with Melissa. This artist at heart loves jewelry and design. She started off with BijouChou, a platform for buying and selling jewelry. Then she met a student from her business school, Philip. Together, they decided to found Waekura in 2017 with an initial version of their e-shop. Today, the brand offers a wide variety of jewelry(rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, etc.) at affordable prices that range from €30 to €40 on average.
Melissa manages the entire creative side, the brand strategy, the image, the communication and the partnerships. She is the one who introduced Philip to the world of jewelry, who "didn't know at the time that rings could have different sizes, and necklaces could have different chain lengths." He is more "down to earth" and oversees the finances, accounting and inventory, and looks after general management. This organization, based on their distinct expertise, makes for a well-oiled machine. "We like tempo and pace, so by functioning this way, we move forward better and faster. And we can grow more easily. Of course, we work on the development strategy in tandem."
This brand of costume jewelry relies on the know-how of their many partner workshops. Each of these workshops, located around the world, boasts its own expertise which the brand benefits from, depending on the collection being produced. Gold plating and finishing are carried out in a workshop in Montreuil. This is located close to their Parisian offices, where they manage all the logistics and assiduously check the quality of the new arrivals. Since the outset, Melissa and Philip have made it a point of honor to provide high-quality customer service. This explains their e-shop’s 40% loyalty rate.
At the beginning, they were able to launch the business with €3,000 of their own money. Ad investments were not really a priority at the time. Due to the quality of the materials used and the style of their designs, word of mouth and the loyalty of their B2B partner were enough to ensure their growth.
Now, Waekura is a brand with a presence on all continents, in nearly 200 retailers. And they bring out a new line of jewelry every two months. In four years, they went from revenue of €60K in the first year to more than €1.1M last year. Alongside the ⅔ of the revenue generated by its e-shop, Waekura can be found in its corner boutique at Le Bon Marché where it makes 15% of its revenue. And it has already been spotted in several concept stores.
"The quality of our products and our customer service has helped us to build loyalty among our resellers and customers. We were able to reach €1.1 million in sales last year"
Philip Dahlen - Cofounder Waekura
Today, Waekura has a dozen employees who make up the three pillars of this Ecommerce business: one in charge of design, marketing and communication; another in charge of thee-shop and customer care (cornerstone of the brand); and the last one, which is focused on local and international wholesale development.
Development of the wholesale strategy had been on Philip's mind for a long time. So for the past year, the brand has been present in many countries. Half of them are in the USA and Europe, and the other half are in Asia. The style and quality of their products quickly unlocked growth in Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and even Japan through their excellent resistance to the tropical and humid conditions in these areas. But local recruitment was a must. Now, with a Taiwanese woman on their team, operations are easier. The company's revenue has grown by more than 200% in this domain in just one year.
Still in the throes of Covid-19 in July 2021, they were preparing manufacturing and inventory for the festive period – their biggest season. They needed to ensure that their vendor invoices were paid, while keeping brand awareness issues in check via acquisition campaigns. With so many expenses to cover, cash flow could fall through the cracks and become a liability.
So, to ensure revenue for their business, they needed to continue to invest sustainably in acquisition campaigns "and fund their growth; otherwise, sales would be directly impacted in the long run."
The need for liquidity was strong and cash flow had to be freed up. Philip came across a Silvr Ad. Intrigued, he visited the site andtested his eligibility for Silvr solutions. Waekura obtained its first Silvr financing in July 2021. Since then, two more Silvr financings have helped the brand pay for their acquisition campaigns and inventory.
"With Silvr, we can invest in acquisitions over the long term while paying back our bank loans to maintain our growth. We have used Silvr three times since last year."
Philip Dahlen- Cofounder Waekura
"Without Silvr, it would have been very difficult to continue to invest in Ads, while paying back the bank and continuing to grow the wholesale side around the world." With the cash flow relief provided by Silvr, the brand can focus on its goals of international expansion and investment in awareness and acquisition campaigns. "It's a great solution for scaling up serenely; it continues to fuel Waekura’s virtuous circle of growth"
"Silvr is a great solution for scaling up smoothly; it continues to fuel Waekura’s virtuous circle of growth. Since our first round of financing, we’ve doubled our revenue."
Philip Dahlen- Cofounder Waekura
Waekura will continue to scale up with Silvr, because "with our wholesale launch, we have been able to maintain a healthy cash flow. Plus, since our first round of Silvr financing, we've doubled our revenue."
While continuing to offer their products on their e-shop (the majority of their revenue), and after the various retail stores, Waekura will soon be in their first retail shop. The brand is due to open its flagship store in Paris by 2023. This is the way to gain credibility, with a sensory brand experience. "Customers will be able to touch our products and try them on. We want to break the e-shop wall with a return to the tangible. It's accessibility that we're looking to bring beyond the pricing and customer care aspects."
They will also continue to maintain their success in Asia. And all this while keeping their values: quality, accessibility, and a constant sprinkling of ingenuity. In any case, we can't help but think that it must have been exhilarating for the pink flamingo.
Follow in Waekura’s footsteps and scale up more easily with Silvr funding.