Why would a traditional gem lapidary like HC Arnoldi suddenly launch an online shop? Because we realised that now is the right time: We want to transfer our successful business model to the age of digitalisation. Meaning: we accelerate workflows and streamline processes so that our customers have it easier, faster and more convenient than ever. Such as? Anyone who registers and is accepted at GEMHYPE.COM as a business partner can now immediately see all the products and prices offered directly in our online shop – just a couple clicks away. To date, customers in the gemstone industry have been forced to request this information by e-mail and then have to wait for an answer. It is a slow and cumbersome process. That is why our business partners kept asking us if we would ever launch an online shop. Well, now the time has come. GEMHYPE.COM is a way to address the needs of many of our customers.
So why are you both launching this website? The subject of “digitalisation” was very much present during our studies and it was always in our minds. We noticed how this megatrend is quickly spreading to all economic areas. And we hope that, as still young people, we will find the right answers to this radical change. Also taking into account the interest of our target group – the many medium-sized companies, goldsmiths and jewellery retailers.
Is now a good time to launch a highly professional online shop? Yes. The gemstone industry has a longstanding tradition but has not demonstrated the pace necessary to respond to a fundamental revolution like digitalisation. We want to actively be part of this transformation, shape the gemstone trade in our own way and be pioneers in the industry with GEMHYPE.COM.
What are you doing new and different? What does GEMHYPE.COM offer and what does it not – especially in comparison to the previous business model? We are focusing on trading coloured gemstones – calibrated goods, unique pieces and setting stones. From 5 euros to 20,000 euros each. We cover the lower and middle price segments. The high-end area – gems worth more than 20,000 euros – is still only available from HC Arnoldi.
Who do you want to reach with GEMHYPE.COM and how do you plan to expand your target group? We are focusing particularly on small to medium-sized jewellery manufacturers. And, of course, all those companies that still do not know who we are: the many one-man businesses or the young goldsmiths who have just started their own business. GEMHYPE.COM will first launch in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Then we want to expand quickly, especially in the UK and the United States. Our international customers no longer have to worry about time difference; they can now shop 24/7 at our online shop.
How did you come up with the unusual name “GEMHYPE.COM”? Did you just think of it like that? No, unfortunately it was not that easy. We discussed it for a long time and also discarded many other names. In the end, we liked the combination of these two English terms the best: Gem and hype combine for an easy, fast and blazing excitement. This name represents exactly what we stand for: a fresh young brand for new and old gemstone lovers. GEMHYPE.COM is about: We understand that our traditional industry is facing a major transformation which we want to help shape along with our business partners.
Why did you choose a brand-new name? Why not name your new online presence just “HC Arnoldi web”? Well, we want a completely new beginning in the e-commerce area: A young, innovative brand for a new target group and an online shop with its own distinctive image, which also allows us more room for manoeuvre. That is why we did not launch GEMHYPE.COM as a subgroup of HC Arnoldi, but instead set up the online shop on our own feet and financed it with our own capital. The Arnoldi family is with us – they support us with content but we remain financially independent.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of launching with a brand-new name? Our goal is to draw attention with the new online shop, awaken customers’ interest and leave a good impression. With a name like GEMHYPE.COM, we hope that everyone will immediately know what we are about: an online platform for gemstones. Anyone who goes to GEMHYPE.COM will go straight into an online shop and will immediately appreciate where all the information they need can be found. We are well aware that in the beginning, GEMHYPE.COM will be less known and that perhaps not everyone will understand what we do. But we know that the many advantages clearly outweigh a few disadvantages. Otherwise, we would not have done this.
What sets GEMHYPE.COM apart and how do you plan to stand out from other online shops? By offering more than our competitors. GEMHYPE.COM is available 365 days a year, 24/7. Our shop is both modern and intuitive: Customers can filter their search for the right stone according to many features – colour, shape, cut, price, etc. We try to answer as many questions as possible online – such as how a certain gemstone should be processed or how much it can be heated. Our customers can even see how many of the gems they are interested in are currently in stock. And in real time. In addition, our many years of experience in the gemstone business give us an edge in handling: Procurement, evaluation, cutting, close relationships with renowned suppliers of raw materials and ensuring compliance with working conditions standards.
How do you really ensure the quality of manufacturers, protection of the environment and compliance with working conditions – and how do you guarantee them to customers? We obtain our gemstones mostly from HC Arnoldi and beyond that only from business partners that we maintain a very trusting and almost friendly relation with. We usually accompany the raw stones directly from the mine all the way to the end sale and ensure compliance with working conditions on site. To achieve this, our experts sometimes visit the gemstone mining sites. In addition, we do not process stones from conflict countries such as Afghanistan – our manufacturers must guarantee the origins of the stones. Every new supplier must comply with our strict criteria. Our current customers are already aware of this and the new ones will follow.
How can you attract a new and previously unreached target group? We try to generate interest by talking about issues like the environment, sustainability and traceability. In particular, the new generation of customers tends to place great value on these issues. Ever more business partners are asking us: “Where does my gemstone actually come from, under what conditions was it mined and how was it processed?”
We answer these questions honestly. If we do not know something, we communicate it openly to our customers. And how do you plan to retain these new customers in the long term? Through our commitment. As owners, we are present and available in our online shop and we are personally committed to transparency. Our customers can reach us not only at GEMHYPE.COM by e-mail and soon via the chat function, but also on the phone as needed. Only those who communicate openly in all matters can gain trust.
How big is the risk of displeasing loyal customers or even scaring them away?
Of course, this can always happen when you switch from a brick-and-mortar business to e-commerce. However, we are doing everything possible to minimise the risk of this happening. Our message to all of our business partners is clear: We are not HC Arnoldi, we are GEMHYPE.COM. But we remain a company only for business customers, a classic B2B provider. Only commercial customers can register, on GEMHYPE.COM, private individuals are excluded. We check every registration and only accept serious enquiries. But what is also clear is that many exclusive products such as the gemstones in the high-end segment remain exclusively with HC Arnoldi – as certainly many of our longstanding customers will.
Is “GEMHYPE.COM” accelerating the end of the traditional gem lapidary in Idar Oberstein? On the contrary. We will even contribute to strengthen the Idar-Oberstein location … You have to explain that to us ... Through our direct contact with local suppliers and their highly qualified employees, we preserve the tradition of the gem lapidary, ensure the quality standards and enrich the industry with new and long-term business activities.
But what about all the cheaply imported, finished gemstones coming from Asia? They have always existed. And they always will. Many cheap gemstones are no longer cut in Idar-Oberstein because their low selling prices are not worth the effort. Such products are offered by GEMHYPE.COM but only if they meet the quality standard that we promise to our customers. But we offer much more than that: stones worth up to 20,000 euros. One thing is clear for us: we will continue to purchase valuable cut gemstones from our regional partners.
GEMHYPE.COM should be new, innovative and modern. How colourful and cheeky can you get? Even if gemstones are naturally colourful: We will always seek to ensure that a balance of good taste is kept. GEMHYPE.COM will be modern, but always stylish and visually appealing. Never cheesy. It is not supposed to be an overloaded platform with a funky look. But we will bring the gemstone trade into the digital age. To be blunt: we stand for the combination of tradition and innovation.