Genuinely-loved jewels: Missoma's founder Marisa Hordern on "authentic relationships" as key to success
"We are not an influencer brand," says Marisa Hordern, founder and CEO of British demi-fine and fine jewelry brand Missoma. It’s a point the designer can’t stress enough.
Yet, since its birth in 2008, the brand’s growth has skyrocketed, with an annual turnover increasing from £1million to £33million in the last five years. Notably thanks to a simple yet impressive marketing strategy - nurturing organic relationships with its VIP client base and brand ambassadors.
Missoma’s appeal is generated by a direct-to-consumer approach, based on collecting trend-driven digital data. Hordern believes in “listening to” her customers’ creative input and overall feedback, notably through social media, as the most effective manner of building a reliable relationship with her brand’s consumers.
As a pioneer in the demi-fine jewelry sector, Missoma has managed to curate and design affordable (prices range between £100-£350 for gold-plated vermeil pieces) and contemporary jewelry that stylish working girls and socialites alike genuinely love and want to wear, as well as promote. Free of charge. With the power of word-of-mouth as its strongest suit for success.
Over the years, the brand has garnered a celebrity community of which luxury peers with substantial communications budgets would be envious of: Margot Robbie, the Duchess of Cambridge, Kendall Jenner and Emma Watson are but a handful of the megastars seen (and photographed) wearing Missoma.
“Celebrities are paid to wear all the bigger luxury jewelry names to the red carpet, but the next day, when they go to the supermarket or the airport, they wear Missoma. And we don’t pay them. They wear it in their everyday life. It’s their go-to, cool jewelry brand,” Marisa insists.
And you won’t find any “paid partnership” tags on social media from any of them either, for the good reason. Hordern believes her success comes from an authentic appreciation of Missoma merchandise.
“Of course, we engage in product gifting, but our celebrities choose to wear the brand because they actually value it. It fits within their style,” the London-based CEO notes.
Creative collaborations only account for 11% of Missoma’s collections, but are carefully curated to resonate with the brand and its values, therefore generating far more successful outcomes. As seen, for instance, with digital creative and Missoma muse Lucy Williams’s three sell-out collections for the brand.
Gender-fluid designer Harris Reed, recently appointed at the helm of luxury womenswear label Nina Ricci, is the latest to take on the role of a Missoma ambassador. And by harnessing his own network of influential friends and acquaintances, the collaborative designs can be found on the neck, fingers and ears of trendsetters such as supermodel Gigi Hadid, who recently posted a photo wearing Missoma x Harris Reed earrings on her Instagram (which boasts 76,2 million followers). The visibility itself gathered by the post is enough to drive immense traffic to Missoma’s channels, thus leading to potential purchases.
Once again, Hordern insists that even operating with Reed came from the fruit of their entente. “I met him through a friend in common, and we immediately hit it off. He loves jewelry, and though he was already being contacted by bigger brands at the time to collaborate, he chose to work with us. Because he goes with his gut. It’s not about the money. It’s about what feels right,” says Hordern.
In an era where consumers have started to show distrust towards megabrands that almost solely rely on influencer partnerships and overall paid content promotion, it seems that Marisa Holbern’s strategy seems a smart one to follow. Her words of wisdom? “You should wear what you genuinely love, not what someone’s been paid to tell you to love.”
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