Under The Hood: Jess from Kimaï

Going Under The Hood with the brilliant Jessica, founder and CEO of Kimaï. Bringing Lab-Grown Diamonds to the masses.

Under The Hood: Jess from Kimaï

Welcome Jess! So tell me, what was your mindset when you decided to go full time on Kimaï?

I was working full-time at Appear Here. But I always wanted to have my own thing, though I wasn't the kind of person to be constantly sniffing around for an opportunity; I more so wanted to see where life would take me.

But I was starting to get a little bored at work, and it was right around that time that I developed an obsession with the lab-grown diamond industry. And for 9 months, I researched it daily - and started to see a clear opportunity to build a business around it. 

I was still in my full-time job as I spent more time developing the idea - and I struggled with that. Eventually, I wanted Kimaï to have my full attention; so in August of 2018 - I quit my job to go full-time on Kimaï, and if it failed I’d simply look for another job. 

Love that. So today, Kimaï is a booming business: You’ve got a full team, you’re opening retail stores etc. Did you ever expect it to be what it is today? 

Like most founders, you never expect it. You get so caught up in the day-to-day challenges, that you lose track of progress over time.

But what I will say is that I had a dream. And if you can’t even dream of your business becoming something bigger than what it is today - then it’s going to be a very tough journey. 

Tell me about acquisition. What’s working for you?

The big thing that’s working well for us is rapid creative iteration. This is useful for our paid assets as well as organic social assets. We’ve cracked a neat way to refresh creative rapidly and we have a good handle on the types of content that gets people to interact.

For example - as you might expect - visual assets of big stones and big diamonds do really well for us. And that’s quite handy to know from a data standpoint. 

And one of the other contributing factors to our success on paid social is press. We sell high-end jewelry at a high price point, so it’s quite daunting for a customer to click an ad and make a purchase. But our website showcases a lot of press which brings a sense of trust to the end customer. So even though it’s tougher to track the ROAS from press, we know that it absolutely helps our paid acquisition efforts.

How else do you de-risk the purchase for customers? 

A huge help has been customer communication tools. We use WhatsApp a lot, and our customer support team is extremely good at jumping on calls with customers, sharing pictures or videos of the different diamonds. And now we’re starting to invest more in 3D based visual assets to display on the site and leverage in other channels, that will also help answer a lot of questions efficiently. 

Jumping into Conversion Rate Optimization. Any wins along the way that helped you convert at a higher rate? 

We’re continuously learning on that. Initially, when we launched the website, we wanted to make something super special and unique.

We’ve paired that back since then, recognising that there are some macro trends and user journeys in the world of eCommerce, and going against the grain on that can sometimes cause more harm than do any good. 

So the big overall learning is to not reinvent the wheel.

And then - testing different creative assets on our Product Detail Pages has been the next big area of improvement. We’re constantly shifting pictures around on the PDPs, trying to gain any efficiency in our conversion rates. 

Kimaï PDP

I imagine having a robust CRM is pretty key at Kimaï. What do you use? 

We use HubSpot as a CRM. We do a lot of bespoke fitting calls with customers where we learn about specific needs, dates of events, ring sizes - things like that. So all that data is carefully stored inside Hubspot. That’s not been the easiest to set up - but we have a good handle on it now and it fits our current needs. 

Bespoke Fittings

What's been the secret sauce for Kimaï so far?

Breaking through the doors. Never taking no for an answer. 

To give you context: I didn't know anyone before starting in this space. I didn’t know too many other entrepreneurs or investors. So it was a real uphill battle. But, over time I’ve been able to surround myself with people that understand what I’m going through. That’s helped a bunch. 
And to find those people, what I’ve seen is that you must “pay it forward”. You must be willing to help others proactively vs. waiting for someone to pay it back. 

Thanks Jess. Go Kimaï and can’t wait to stop by your new retail location once it opens! (PS: Kimaï is opening a store in London in Summer 2022). 

-Tim