There is a tendency to think that the luxury fashion industry is a focal point where all consumer choices are meaningful. At the very moment I write this feature, the nation is emerging from its deep sleep that was far way from the public eye. For the last 7 months, most Americans worked from home and rarely socialized.
On a more positive note, consumers are looking forward to returning to work as well as social gatherings. It seems to be the general consensus that Americans are looking forward to returning to a semi-regular work schedule. As far as social gatherings go; once the light turns green the line-up will be massive. More to the point, people have reached a new zone with respect to style.
I think that the pandemic pushed consumers- whose style had been cemented in a type of uniform. But now, almost every conceivable category of luxury product has taken a step forward. For many, luxury brands give them the desired confidence they need. Studies show that the revenue in the luxury fashion segment amounts to $94.3m in 2020. The market is expected to grow annually by 6.6%.
For luxury brand owners, the competition has never been this heated, as brands develop their unique comparative advantage. Essentially, fresh design seems to be sprouting up in the new marketplace.
More to the point, I recently looked into an impressive brand with a fresh outlook on quality and luxury. Luxe VVS jewelers is owned and operated by a 28-year-old Brandon O’Neal. In short, his story takes pride in being an entrepreneur who has achieved success within the luxury market – in a very short period of time.
O’Neal built his fortune working online for telecommunications companies by way of social media advertising. According to Brandon, he segued into luxury fashion out of a desire to help customers reach better price points. His insight comes from observing the luxury market, particularly celebrity jewelers. He soon realized that the mark-up was way too high in comparison to the actual value.
He stamped onto something with great passion. Brandon’s love for the history and culture of hip-hop helped cement his plan. In viewing (hip-hop) celebrity jewelers such as Johnny Dang, Elliante, Pristine Jewelers, Iceman Nick, and Ben Baller, he saw a golden opportunity to invest in fashion jewelry. And since then, he has worked with clients such as NLE Choppa, King Los, and Lola Monroe.
Given his strong background in social media advertising, Brandon uses social media (with ease) as a platform to showcase his work and reach clients on a national level. His aim and goal is to take the custom diamond jewelry industry to the next level.
I recently has the privilege to speak with the young entrepreneur Brandon O’Neal about the details of his journey and how his brand grabbed the attention of so many big celebrity names in a short amount of time.
Joseph DeAcetis: Tell Forbes about yourself, the history and DNA of your brand
Brandon O’Neal: I have always had a love for 3 things: luxury, art, and hip-hop. I spend all my downtime reading about the history of different luxury brands, how they came about, how they operate. As far as art, I appreciate it in different mediums. From paintings and sculptures to historical architecture to lyricism in rap music. Art is very subjective, so I try to consume art of all different types to diversify what I am able to relate to. And hip-hop. Hip-hop is more than just music. Hip-hop is a movement. It’s a style, a statement. Hip-hop has a long history and will continue to be the #1 music genre in the world for years to come. Luxury, art, and hip-hop are the same 3 things that make up the DNA of Luxe VVS Jewelers. Our brand aims to be the highest-end, masterfully crafted jewelry company inspired by hip-hop globally.
Joseph DeAcetis:Why luxury jewelry, what drew you to it?
Brandon O’Neal: Because historically in hip-hop, jewelry is known to be nothing more than bling to match the fancy cars and fancy houses. If we are going to make pieces at these high price points, then it’s necessary for us to show how unique the culture hip-hop can really be and use each opportunity to tell the customer’s story.
Joseph DeAcetis:Where are your pieces made from?
Brandon O’Neal: Our pieces are made in India and in some cases China. Some of the highest quality diamonds are in these countries at a rate that allows us to provide the best pricing for our clients.
Joseph DeAcetis:What’ll you say your biggest challenge is right now?
Brandon O’Neal: 2020 has obviously been a crazy year for all of us. I would say our biggest challenge has been dealing with COVID-19 and how it impacts the manufacturing process and shipping at times. However, our customer base has done a great job of being patient and allowing us to adjust to this new economic phase our country is dealing with. Our business tripling this year shows just how persistent our customers are regarding buying pieces of the highest quality.
Joseph DeAcetis:What is your favorite material to work with?
Brandon O’Neal: VVS Diamonds is definitely our favorite material to work with! It’s the best of the best. All of the high clients request it. All of our new clients expect it. Each custom piece incorporates this quality of diamonds, which allows each finished piece to brilliantly stand out.
Joseph DeAcetis: What qualities do you look for in the perfect piece of jewelry?
Brandon O’Neal: With every piece, we look for originality. Does it tell a story? Does it have any historical context? We could launch a product line and mass-produce pieces like other jewelers. But why? How will you stand out in a crowd of people wearing the same thing? We want our customers to turn heads, to set trends, to stand out. That’s what our team specializes in, and we partner up with our clients when designing each piece to ensure just that.
Joseph DeAcetis: What advice will you give to a customer buying your products for the first time?
Brandon O’Neal: Be a perfectionist. Our aim is to make a masterpiece every time. The small details in the designs matter just as much as the main ones.
Joseph DeAcetis: Who has been your biggest mentor in your industry and what is the best advice they have ever given you?
Brandon O’Neal:The Ice Champ down in Grapevine, TX. When we first started, he told me to always take care of the customer, period. The lifelong relationship with your clients is how you make a name in this business.
Joseph DeAcetis: How strong is the role social media has played in the advancement of your career?
Brandon O’Neal:Times have changed. Social media is king. Through our Facebook and Instagram marketing alone, we have been able to connect with celebrities as clients, which has helped us grow tremendously.
Joseph DeAcetis: You’ve worked with some important figures, who was your favorite?
Brandon O’Neal: King Los is definitely the celebrity client that comes to mind. He is very intelligent and very spiritual. His take on different topics is very thought-provoking, and those conversations have definitely given us the inspiration we needed to design his jewelry masterpiece, which we will be showcasing next month.
Joseph DeAcetis: How was it like to work with NLE Choppa?
Brandon O’Neal: NLE Choppa was the most down-to-earth celebrity we have been around, seriously! Similar to King Los, he was very spiritual, very thought-provoking, and he was also very easy-going. He is so hyped in his music videos, so it was different to see him in a more reserved light. It made working with him very efficient and easy, and we definitely look forward to future opportunities to work with him.
Joseph DeAcetis: What advice would you give to young boys & girls who look up to you and want to enter a career in luxury jewelry?
Brandon O’Neal: Love what you do. Yes, the jewelry business is very lucrative. However, it is very saturated, and everybody copies everybody. It’s a cut-throat business. Those that love what they do, those that are truly inspired by the artistry behind these custom diamond pieces are the ones that will last and the ones that will always stand out.