Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Meet Kate, Founder of Wonder Wander

Wonder Wander is an online custom jewelry and accessory store based in New York City. The shop sells a curated selection of jewelry, scarves, bags, and other fashion accessories.

Our interview below is with Kate, the site's founder. She earned a bachelor's in Statistics and Applied Math, then pursued an MBA degree in Marketing. Her education helps Kate to develop and evaluate business activities in both quantitative and qualitative aspects. After school she started her career in a designer clothing company and then a high-end fashion jewelry company, and these jobs got her involved in fashion's business world. After spending time researching the jewelry industry, Kate decided to build her own jewelry label, featuring stunning trendy custom jewelry with affordable price for everyone.

1. How did Wonder Wander first get started?

Years ago, when I was still in school, I started to shop for custom jewelry items for matching my daily outfits and for special occasions. Years later, after my graduation, many things have changed, but my interest in adorable jewelry was always growing. I started my career in a designer clothing company and then a high-end fashion jewelry company, in New York City. The jobs got me involved in the fashion business world, and in the meantime, I developed a stronger passion in looking for more jewelry pieces with great design and quality.

However, I was frequently astonished by the price points. A small chain necklace may sell for more than $60 to $80, and a large statement necklace with many jewels may be even up to $100 to $200 per piece. But there is no way to wear them all the time. After one to two seasons, they will be locked in my jewelry box forever. The price points were way over my budget. Then I started to think of a solution to solve this, and I believed there must be a large number of females who were encountering the same issue and looking for beautiful, stunning jewelry at an affordable price, so that they were able to constantly update their style. Then, I started to research the custom jewelry industry, and tried to find out the factors that made various costs so high, and the ways to manage that.

And with the non-stop effort, we eventually made it. Our delicate necklaces are only $30 on average, with very nice plating and handcraft. And some of them even have cubic zirconia stone. Cubic zirconia is a kind of man-made jewel which is more expensive and beautiful than crystals. It is durable and has a close visual likeness to diamonds. Also, our statement necklaces are only around $38, and earrings $28.

2. Where do you find the designers to feature on your site?

Thanks to our partner factories' strong support, we do not need to have an in-house designing team for now. As a new startup, there are many challenges. However, our partner factories have more than 50 designers in total, who may be sent to monitor new trends and travel around the world for inspiration. As I constantly research the US market, the team can also develop my findings and make them into various designs. As we grow, we also plan to have our own in-house team in two to three years in NYC, in order to better serve the US market.

3. What are the advantages that an online jewelry shop has over a brick-and-mortar store?

Fashion jewelry is a fast-paced, dynamic world. People's tastes and preferences for different styles are always changing. What is the most convenient and efficient way to get updates? The answer is definitely going on the internet and checking out our site.

Our goal is to make a destination where people may not only get updates, but also find a paradise where they can spend their leisure time for fun. We also offer free shipping on orders over $36. After a few clicks on our site, their jewelry will be sent to them. If they would like to exchange an order and try something else on, no problem--just send them back and we are happy to help and even provide style advice. By joining our loyalty program, customers will also get free secret jewelry gifts from us. There are many easy ways to collect points.

However, we do not want to limit our products only to e-commerce. We also welcome local retailers to carry our adorable jewelry so that more people are able to enjoy the fun that jewelry can bring to us. For information about wholesale, please contact us at

4. Why is jewelry so pricey, and how are you able to offer more affordable pieces?

Jewelry is usually very pricey. There are many factors that cause this to happen, including labor cost, material cost, middle-man agency cost, operating cost, etc. We strive hard to manage our operating and labor costs by seeking advanced ways to improve efficiency. Nowadays, there are still plenty of jewelry companies that are performing in the old fashioned style to conduct business. In order to better meet the need of the market, businesses should always challenge themselves and bring real benefit to their customers. All pieces are directly from our partner factories, no middle-man agencies. In addition, our partner factories are leading jewelry manufacturers in the industry, and they are able to obtain quality material with an incomparable price.

We believe adorable jewelry should be for everyone. It also should be affordable and easy to find. A lower price point does not mean lowering your expectation on quality and design. We strive hard to cut down various cost burdens in order to achieve high quality and trendy jewelry design while offering an affordable price point!

5. In your personal opinion, what makes jewelry so important to fashion?

Clothing and accessories are two major elements and categories in fashion. Due to high gross margin, so many fashion labels are competing in the clothing sector. Yet only a few companies would like to position themselves in the jewelry niche.

Jewelry and clothing are both important to fashion. However, accessories are a little different from clothing, which is necessary for human beings such as food and shelter. Jewelry is an additional complement. It's more entertaining and spiritual, representing each individual's lifestyle and appreciation toward beautiful objects. We hope to make Wonder Wander a style shop for people to collect their favorite pieces. We believe fashion will change people's exterior "look" and interior emotion with their personal lifestyle and attitude.

Thanks, Kate!

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