In the words of STONE AND STRAND founder Nadine Kahane, why should a budget-conscious bride have to scrimp on life’s pleasures? Today, the popular DTC brand introduces their first-ever bridal collection; an edit of six ultra-sparkly, conflict-free diamond engagement rings with an old Hollywood influence. The inaugural ‘Aisle’ line ranges in price from $950-$1,950, thanks to a game-changing new technique that allows for more pocket-friendly prices. (For context, these rings deliver a huge look of up to 3-carats for less than $2,000, while the typical 1-carat engagement ring retails around $6,000. We love to hear it!). The Daily caught up with Kahane to hear how her brand has gone from strength to strength over the last few years.
What led to you launching STONE AND STRAND while pursuing your MBA?
I’ve always loved jewelry, and my first meaningful purchase was a strand of black pearls when I graduated from high school. As a young professional, prior to attending Wharton, I recall searching for a piece of jewelry to treat myself to with a year-end bonus, only to end up disappointed by the options I found. Brands I had heard of, like Cartier and Tiffany, were way too expensive for my budget, while costume jewelry offerings didn’t feel special enough for the occasion! I ended up buying a handbag, but the lack of fine jewelry brands at an affordable price point stuck with me as a white space in the market. At Wharton Business School, I had the opportunity to test different business ideas, and I decided to focus on STONE AND STRAND because it was the venture that I was most passionate about. Moreover, as someone who loves combining both the “analytical left-side” and “creative right-side” of my skill sets, I thought I could be really effective in building this type of company and wanted to have a long-term career in the jewelry industry.
What’s been your goal since day one with the brand?
STONE AND STRAND’s mission is to offer affordable, high quality fine jewelry to women buying jewelry for themselves. The behavioral shift to women buying everyday jewelry for themselves (versus being gifted jewelry for special occasions) is an exciting and inspiring change that we are seeing in this generation of women. My second goal with the company is a celebration of this change, and we seek to support female-focused causes and uplift women within our community.
What was an early proud moment where you felt you were on to something with the company?
A standout moment was when we launched our celestial themed pop-up store in Nolita, which was an outstanding success. Working at the store and meeting customers who were really passionate about our brand felt so rewarding and gave me the tingly feeling that there was a lot more to come.
How do things differ now versus when you launched in 2013?
We initially catered to a much wider audience when we launched, with more expensive pieces that ultimately felt too far off from my passion and original mission for the company. We worked really hard over a number of years to create a collection of products at price points that we are really proud of, and that we believe offer great value to our customers.
Tell us about your first ever bridal collection! What do readers need to know?
We’re so excited about this launch—it’s a modern capsule of natural diamond engagement rings, offering up to 3cts at an affordable price point. We spent a number of years researching and developing our offering, which includes a special
design technique (Perianth™) that underpins each ring and allows us to offer beautiful sparkly designs without making any compromises in quality. It’s inspired by pioneering Hollywood leading ladies, and designed with a light vintage touch. Each
ring has its own unique personality!
What type of bride is it aimed at? What’s important to her?
We joke internally that we can’t help but have expensive taste! We treasure and appreciate craftsmanship, natural materials, and have a soft spot for a lot of sparkle! We see this collection as resonating with the woman who wants it all. She can have a beautiful, large diamond ring, alongside her dream wedding, honeymoon, and deposit for a house. There is no need to compromise.
Tell us how your new technique allows you to keep prices low.
Our special technique, Perianth™, is named after the anatomy of a flower, where you have multiple delicate petals gathered around a center to create a beautiful overall impact that is much greater than the sum of its parts. In the same way, our design approach utilizes advanced manufacturing processes to carefully craft groups of small diamonds in a way that allows for a highly impactful, sparkly, overall aesthetic.
What would your advice be to a bride who’s apprehensive to shop online?
I personally am quite choosy when it comes to who I shop with online and I prefer to return to brands and stores that I feel are reasonable with respect to their policies. In the same way, my advice would be to start with a small purchase, something that will give her a taste of the level and type of customer service provided by the brand.
Why was the time right to get into bridal?
We’ve built an incredible community over the last few years, and it felt like a natural next step to create a bridal offering that represents one of the most meaningful pieces of jewelry our customer will own in her lifetime. In addition, biking to work during the pandemic, our creative director Melissa would frequently pass by numerous proposals on the Brooklyn Bridge. Designing and launching this collection took on an additional urgency and personal significance as we embraced the optimism that this represented, and we recognized the importance of family, friendship, and romance during these
View this post on Instagram
What was the process like launching this line during the pandemic?
The pandemic has presented some challenges along the way, from delays in production to making it really difficult to organize photoshoots in a safe way. However, I’ve been continuously impressed by our team of brave New Yorkers, who have shown incredible grit and resourcefulness to keep things running smoothly.
What has kept you hopeful during the pandemic?
I’ve been motivated by the small acts of kindness I’ve observed on a day-to-day basis. So many members of our team have volunteered and donated to worthy causes during the pandemic—and continue to push to do even more.
What else is coming up for the brand in 2021?
We’re really focused on all things bridal this year and dreaming about other ways in which we can engage with and support our bride to be on her big day!