Dumped & Unemployed to Pumped & Loaded
How it all started
This is a story for anyone who's ever been dumped because somehow they weren't "enough." And oh yes, this one has a happy ending!
David Mamane, a 36-year-old entrepreneur, took the pain from a broken heart and turned it into a $15 million business called MyJewelryBox.com. The icing on the (wedding) cake is that he just got engaged to a gorgeous Canadian model.
"They say living well is the best revenge," said Mamane, who spoke with AOL Jobs a few hours after he proposed to Elisabeth Couture via a brand new American Bulldog puppy wearing an oversized dog tag that said, "Will you marry me?" "But revenge is not a motivating factor these days," he added.
He's come a long way from being homeless and unemployed, struggling to get by and living on his friends' couch. Confused about his career as so many people are when they're first starting out, Mamane had fallen hopelessly in love with a girl, but wasn't able to offer her the diamond ring or the life he'd hoped. At the time, love didn't win out over money, or lack thereof, and Mamane was left broken hearted. But not for long.
"It angered me and motivated me," said Mamane of the breakup. "I wanted to be somebody, and wished I could be a better provider. I was depressed, and focused all my attention on work -- no girls, no friends, nothing else for quite some time."
Down, but not out
One of the great things about the Internet, Mamane notes, is that you can work on it in your pajamas -- you don't have to go out and face the world when you're depressed. He'd already done extensive research when looking for the ideal engagement ring, and discovered that there weren't very many options for beautiful jewelry without huge markups. His family had been in the jewelry business for years, and so he knew just how much above cost most retail jewelry stores were charging.
"With diamonds, you reach a law of diminishing returns," he explained, noting that once a diamond passes a certain quality level, you can't see the difference anywhere but on the price tag. He found that there was a lack of jewelry options with what he considered to be the right balance of quality and price.
Mamane further discovered that the Internet would be the ideal venue to sell high quality jewelry at more reasonable prices, because there wouldn't be the expenses of brick and mortar stores -- no mall rent,costs, high utility bills, etc. He knew he had an advantage in terms of overhead, since most of the large online jewelry sellers were Web extensions of chain stores.
So he decided to scrape together every penny he could, and leverage his family connections in the jewelry industry, to start MyJewelryBox.com.
Success is the best revenge
That was in 2002. Today he employs 22 people in several roles, including jewelry production, tech, marketing, accounting and customer service. He also does about $16 million per year in revenue, and is growing by roughly 50 percent annually. "But we're not swinging for the fences," he said. "The key to our success is hitting singles and doubles -- slow, steady growth."
Recently, the site has become the largest online jewelry retailer in North America, carrying everything from engagement rings to eco-friendly styles and children's jewelry. In addition to diamonds, the site offers jewelry featuring pearls, gemstones, Murano glass -- even watches and men's jewelry.
So what sort of engagement ring does a young jewelry mogul give his true love? Although Mamane custom-designed the one he gave to his new fiance, there's a similar one at MyJewelryBox.com, a 1.0 carat emerald cut diamond set in white gold, for a mere $3,395. She is reported to be thrilled with his choice, and with her own choice as well -- which is more than can be said for his former fiancee.