Kimai is a luxury ethical jewellery brand made with lab grown diamonds and recycled gold. Their venture backed business was founded in 2018 by two best friends and since then their jewellery has been worn by the likes of Megan Markle, Jessica Alba, and Emma Watson.
In this interview, Sidney, head of design at Kimai, shares the story behind the brand, their mission, the supply chain struggles, and what the future holds for Kimai.
Can you first tell us how you got into the worlds of precious stones and jewellery?
We both grew up from diamond trading families, we were always fascinated by diamonds and jewellery. There is this magical emotion linked to a piece of jewellery. It’s a way to express yourself and it also tells a bit about your story.
In a world dominated by mined diamonds, what made you want to go against the status quo?
We knew then that the diamond industry is a controversial industry because of its environmental and social impact. It’s almost impossible to know where your diamond comes from as well as the condition in which it was mined.
The lack of transparency was really why we wanted to create Kimai. We saw lab grown diamonds as part of the solution to bring transparency in the jewellery industry. We also felt that traditional jewellery brands weren’t speaking to us - their marketing was always targeted to men rather than the women who will actually wear the pieces.
Following the success of your everyday pieces, you recently launched engagement rings. How is this part of the business going?
It’s going well! This project came up quite organically as the demand grew. Now we’ve got six engagement rings styles on our website but we do a lot of bespoke rings which means we will design something unique with our customer. This part of the business is also really exciting, as it’s probably one of the most sentimental pieces in one’s jewellery box!
You’ve been producing most of your pieces on-demand. Now that you’re growing I understand you want to produce in advance to meet customer demand. What are you putting in place to achieve this?
Correct, since we launched Kimai two years ago, we’ve been making the jewellery on demand. Now, as the business is growing, we’re starting to work on having some inventory to ship faster. We’re excited to partner with Prediko to help us with inventory planning and management!
What was your biggest win at the company so far? What about your most challenging time?
One of Kimai’s highlight was to see Meghan Markle wearing one of our earrings two months post launch. It gave us not only brand awareness but most importantly credibility.
Where do you get most of your inspiration from?
The women who surround us, art, objects - anything can inspire me :-)