We’ll always have a soft spot in our hearts for pretty jewelry, but when baubles are beautiful, reasonably-priced, and support a good cause, we can’t help but fall completely in love. Such is the case with one of our favorite jewelry lines, Diamonds Down To Earth. Designed by Doron Ostrin and Cayley Meyer, DDTE uses only conflict-free diamonds, and for each style of bracelet sold, they donate a portion of their proceeds to a different cause. For example, every black cord bracelet sold pays for 100 lunches via LunchboxFund and with the purchase of a brown cord bracelet, you’ll be helping to fund an entire year of education for OneKid OneWorld. The brilliance of this business model is matched only by the gorgeous, shimmering diamonds adorning each bracelet, so we thought we’d ask the DDTE founders to shed a little light on their designs, their inspiration, and how they’re making it work.
You are so young to be entrepreneurs – congratulations! Were you doing something before Diamonds Down to Earth that led you to this career path? Tell us more about the story behind the company.
Cayley: “From a young age, I have always had an obsession with wearing multiple bracelets and I love finding new styles and designs all around the world. Whilst on holiday in South Africa during the World Cup, I saw a similar bracelet to our DDTE design which was being sold in a store for thousands of dollars. I absolutely loved it but knew I couldn’t afford it, so I thought it would be a good idea to design a similar bracelet which I could then get made by my father, who is in the jewellery business. I am constantly working on new styles and am currently in the process of designing a new DDTE bracelet to add to the collection.”
Doron: “Since about the age of five, when my friends would want to be firemen and astronauts, I wanted to be an ‘inventor’. I grew up adding my mad ideas to what I would call my ‘black book’. During my school years, I would come up with business ideas and spend hours working on websites and making plans, but it was not until I finished university that I really got the time to start working on something full-time. When Cayley showed me the design of the bracelet she was working on, I knew it had real potential. It was at this time that I came up with the idea to try and use a diamond bracelet to make a difference in the world. To combine charity with diamonds is such an intriguing contrast, and I believed that we could really do something unique, engaging and rewarding.”
What has the experience been like working with conflict-free diamonds? Where do you source them?
Doron: “Since beginning Diamonds Down to Earth, both Cayley and I have always aimed to ensure that everything was done properly. We didn’t want to find out some months down the track that our bracelets were made in a sweat-shop or contained conflict diamonds. This would be the opposite of what we strive for. So one of our first projects in the early stage of the venture was to do some research on our supplier, Tara Jewels, to ensure that the working conditions in the factories were legal and that no child or slave labour was being carried out. Our next task was to ensure that the diamonds used in our range were conflict-free. It is certified on Tara Jewels website as well as printed on our invoices that the diamonds are conflict-free and Kimberley Process compliant. This lets us both sleep well at night knowing that we are not supporting violence or crime in any way.”
Right now we are in a moment where many people are straying from traditional means of advertising in business. Explain the social media aspect of DDTE and how you are using Facebook to grow the company and garner success and fans.
“We are on a mission to use the power of Facebook to change lives – one diamond at a time. DDTE relies solely on the network effect of Facebook to market and sell our range of diamond bracelets. Instead of paying exorbitant amounts to advertising agencies to market our product, we believe that a more effective approach is via the 800 million users of Facebook. We believe word of mouth always has and always will be the most effective form of marketing. We promote this concept through everything that Facebook has to offer, such as likes, shares, status updates and wall posts, and have so far found huge success in gathering ‘fans’ rather than ‘customers’. Instead of adding Facebook features to our website as an afterthought, we aimed to ensure it formed a large part of every page, promoting fans to interact with both the product, ourselves and of course our charity partners.”
How do you choose the charities that you are affiliated with? Are any of them particularly close to your heart?
Doron: “We spent many months researching and debating which charities to select for the venture. We tried to stick to charities that could provide a direct correlation between the funds raised and the work carried out. For example, every black bracelet sold provides over 100 lunches and for every five brown bracelets sold one child receives a year’s worth of education. We tried to address causes which many people living in first world countries may take for granted such as a pair of shoes or the ability to smile.”
What have been the biggest challenges and rewards in starting DDTE?
“Having just traveled to America, we were fortunate enough to meet with The Lunchbox Fund, OneKid OneWorld and Smile Train. It was an experience to hear their stories and gain further insight into the work they do. The most rewarding part is knowing that with every bracelet sold, we are making a difference.
On the other hand, the challenges were overwhelming at first as we faced strict taxation laws, expensive lawyers and limited funds. This whole process took over a year from when we first thought of the idea to actually receiving our first stock shipment. Through all of this, we can’t believe how far we have come and the incredible response we have received. Every time we receive a new order notification, we turn to each other in shock and struggle to work out how they may have found out about us.”
Where are the bracelets available and how can we purchase them?
“In order to keep costs down and ensure the largest amount possible can flow through to the charities involved, we sell the bracelets online only through our website, diamondsdowntoearth.com
They cost $250 US, which includes free shipping to anywhere in the world. No matter where you are in the world, we aim to ensure delivery is within 3-10 days.”