Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Are we dreaming big enough?

I was reading this article about custom jewellery site Gemvara on TechCrunch this morning. They've had and are continuing to push for some amazing growth and it got me thinking, are we dreaming big enough for Shoes of Prey?

To give some background to their business, Gemvara (formerly Paragon Lakes) was founded in 2006 by then 21 year olds Matt Lauzon and Jason Reuben. Based just outside Boston in the US in April this year they raised a second round of venture capital funding worth $5.2m, to bring their total funding to over $11m. They had 20 employees in April, have grown to 40 now and plan to end the year with 60. They have 10 jobs posted on their website at the moment. Their current annual revenue run rate is $10m and from what I read a large portion of the growth to that level of revenue has come this year. Co-founder Jason Reuben has left the business but remains a shareholder, Matt is the CEO though he's currently looking to hire someone externally to take over the role.

Interestingly they started out pushing a more offline model, partnering with existing jewellers to offer custom designed jewellery in store. That didn't work as well as they'd hoped so they've since pivoted to focus solely online. Some lessons in that for us as we consider opening a physical store?

Looking at the roles they're hiring for is a fascinating insight into what we could be doing with Shoes of Prey. They recently hired a Social Media Co-ordinator and are now hiring a Social Media Community Manager. Jodie takes care of our social media between managing our PR, marketing and all our relationships within the fashion space (Gemvara are also currently hiring a PR Specialist and a Marketing Intern). In addition they're hiring a Site Experience Manager, a Senior Software Engineer, Senior Systems Engineer and an IT Support Engineer. No doubt they already have a big software development team. Poor Mike does all of that for our business, and more.

After hitting our milestones for our first year of operation we're currently planning out what we want to achieve over the next 3-5 years. Reading about what Gemvara have done and are doing has us thinking, should we be considering a similar path and dreaming bigger than we have to date?

We'd love to hear your thoughts.


  1. My advice as someone who grew an ecommerce site too quickly and paid the price ($6m to $12m in 2 years but from profit to loss making) is to continue with the steady approach for now. You guys are doing great and natural growth will come easily and I think suit you best.

  2. Thanks, especially for the advice anonymous. For someone who grew an ecommerce, this is a great advice. Congrats guys for your doing great, hope it will continue.