Marking its first wholesale partnerships, direct-to-consumer jewelry brand Aurate is releasing two exclusive product lines with Helzberg Diamonds and Macy’s.
The Laure by Aurate line at Helzberg Diamonds and Audrey by Aurate line at Macy’s are set to launch in August, according to details shared with Retail Dive.
The Audrey by Aurate line will be available in 167 Macy’s stores nationwide with a median price of $500. Meanwhile, the Laure by Aurate line will be available in 30 Helzberg Diamonds stores — with locations focused in the midwest where Aurate is less known — and on the retailer’s website with median prices at $350.
“Since we sell real gold and real diamonds, fitting out a store with our entire collection is not an insignificant investment, let alone if you’re doing this for 200 stores,” Aurate CEO and co-founder Sophie Kahn said via email. “Our new wholesale partnerships allow us to do this in a very (cost) efficient way.”
Both lines will contain a wide variety of exclusive products not available through Aurate’s website, with the Audrey by Aurate line containing 144 SKUs and the Laure by Aurate line having 111 SKUs. The new lines by Aurate also allow the brand to enter stores without committing to “riskier” owned retail locations, according to the company.
The jewelry brand closed two brick-and-mortar stores during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, though it later re-entered physical retail with two stores in New York City and San Francisco in 2022. At the time, co-founder Bouchra Ezzahraoui told Retail Dive that Washington, D.C., Boston and some other East Coast cities were on the table as places for additional Aurate stores. However, the locations in San Francisco and New York City are now listed as closed on Google and Yelp.
“These stores were always intended to be shorter term,” Kahn said. “While we believe in the power of retail, and have from day one, our online growth exploded to the extent that the equation didn't make as much sense for us anymore.”
Aurate closed on a Series B funding round in the first quarter, though it did not disclose how much was raised or who its investors were. The brand has raised nearly $25 million in total funding to date. Aurate in 2019 raised $13 million in a Series A funding round with participation from Michael Platt of BlueCrest Capital, Point King Capital, Arab Angel Fund and Drake Management.
Ezzahraoui and Kahn both previously held the co-CEO titles when the executives spoke with Retail Dive in March 2022. However, Kahn is now the sole CEO, according to the brand.
Aurate will use the fresh capital to continue its online expansion as well as support its wholesale partnerships, according to Kahn.
“The goal is to continue to be at the forefront of the fine jewelry industry with this new and unique approach to retail, catering to unique audiences with exclusive and collaborative retail partnerships,” Kahn noted.
Aurate was founded in 2015 by Ezzahraoui and Kahn with a digital-first model with all of its jewelry designed and manufactured in New York City. Expanding its reach with Macy’s and Helzberg Diamonds is part of the brand’s growth plans as it evolves offline.
“While the online model for fine jewelry is beautiful and something we’ve believed in from day [one], we’ve now been doing that for close to a decade and have a solid handle on it,” Kahn said. “As a next step, we want to tap into another customer, namely those that prefer to shop in-store. Trying on the pieces, feeling the quality, and having the opportunity to fit pieces in real life provides a preferred experience for some customers.”
Although macroeconomic challenges have caused some disruption for brands this year, Aurate’s chief executive says the company has remained strong in part thanks to a dynamic pricing strategy and a loyal customer base.
“Most importantly, we’ve been able to succeed by talking to our customers and adapting our actions accordingly,” Kahn added. “Getting and implementing direct input from a customer base that’s over hundred-of-thousands has enabled us to truly stay ahead of the trends and make sure she continues to get what she wants (and more).”
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect the correct date of the Macy’s launch.