b'More jewelry sold by At Present. Here, the model is wearing Mandy Reids Morse Code initial necklace with (from left to right) Meredith Youngs emerald threaders and petite emerald post earrings, and Yu Mono Designs Diamond Claw. parts of the sites growth and develop- thoughtful about it, Chambers says, so ment has been finding customers whoshe ended up putting together the site appreciate not only what theyre doing,herself from WordPress and Shopify. but also what their designer partners areOftentimes, when people understand creating.that you need to move online or that The best feedback that weve gottentechnology needs to empower, its kind of thus far from any of our customers is,a reflexive thinking. But it really comes you have found all of the things thatdown to understanding your consumer I wish I knew how to find but didntand understanding what she wants, and know existed. then using technology to enable that.This is just the space the duo wants toWith the bonuses of being digital-only, fill with At Present. however, a few downsides come along, Chambers says one of the most inter- Bridge muses, including missing out on esting things shes learned so far aboutthe frisson of excitement that comes with the jewelry category goes back to thattrying on a piece of jewelry. conversation about buying occasions: Womendo buy jewelry forWe have enormous confidence that once you have a beautiful themselves around key occasions, but theyre not the traditional onespiece of jewelry, you are going to love it. The question is, how do we we think about; theyre sentimental and emotional, about some sortbridge that gap?of achievement or some sort of transition. The answer includes services like fast and free shipping and a lon-To help create the kind of digital shopping experience jewelryger grace period for returnsthings that will build confidence and consumers deserve when it comes to a personal, emotional purchase,make the process more seamless. she says they love being able to use their platform for storytelling,To help it find its way, At Present studied many of the large online whether its the story of their designers or the stories of consumersplayers already doing it right.and why theyre buying. One of the benefits of jewelry finally coming to the e-commerce And they also, of course, want to help make it the right experiencerevolution is we can take the things that have been learned in soft for their designer partners.goods and fashionto give people confidence in buying. Its about There are many makers in the market who have a unique designphotography, its about video, its about return policies that are gener-aesthetic, but not the resources or know-how to develop methods forous. And its about providing a very high level of customer service.finding the right buyers. Bridge also, of course, incorporates lessons acquired at Ben Bridge Thats where At Present comes in, aiming to help designers spendand applies them to the digital world. more time on creating and less on business aspects, like customerAfter learning how to create an in-person, trusting relationship at acquisition and digital marketing, Bridge says.the jewelry counter, he transitions it to the digital world by building For At Present, social media, unsurprisingly, has been a powerfulconsumer confidence in the brand.tool for attracting customers, but so has word of mouth. In todaysYou have to offer quality products, Bridge says. You have to world, where consumers demand a story, At Present is not onlystand by them. And consumers need to feel theres a person behind inviting conversation with its customers through its selections but[the brand].creating it among them as well.In fact, as an online-only player, the sites biggest advantage isTHE O WORDbeing able to curate very specific items, Bridge says.The boundary between online and offline retail no longer exists, and Whereas physical retailers need inventory on hand that mostlymost players find a way to blend the two with an omnichannel strategy. appeals to local buyers, a virtual inventory model means At PresentAt Present chose to start in the digital space, where Bridge and can have unique pieces and still be able to find that narrow subset ofChambers thought they might be best able to find customers. And potential customers because it has a wider geographic reach.the online retailer has brought virtual events to its customers as well. The e-commerce site curates an assortment from each designer,For example, it offered a virtual studio visit with Los Ange-some of which the designers have in their inventory and some madeles-based Loren N. Teetelli, the designer behind Loren Nicole, to order. The initial plan, Bridge says, was to have the designers sendwhere several dozen women watched via Zoom as she made a pair of jewelry directly to customers and share proceeds.earrings from scratch. But for several of At Presents designer partners, business has grownBut as the business grows, At Present will continue to search for so quickly they need help scaling operations. The online retailer hasopportunities, including events that bring jewelry, designers, and stepped in and is presently testing manufacturing and warehousingcustomers together in real life. solutions for those designers so more pieces can be kept in stock. Its way more fun to play with jewelry in person, so I do hope that Building a digital platform has also helped highlight the role ofwe have the opportunity to bring people to live events, where they can technology, Chambers says.experience the thrill of working with these designers, Bridge says. Initially, they were going to have a firm design the website. WhenThough the DNA of At Present is solidly digital, its aspiration the pandemic hit, they were still betting on the resiliency of theto create events in real life shows that for Bridge at least, the apple jewelry category throughout that time, they just needed to be reallydidnt fall far from the tree. 36 RETAILER HALL OF FAME \x11\x10\x11\x0f'