Growing up in a family with three sisters, Hannah Brown, 37, is a little nostalgic about opening gifts with her siblings on Christmas morning.
She’d often order jewelry and accessories to match her sisters’ styles. But when the gifts arrived, they weren’t quite the color or quality she expected. Yet her mother was always able to pick out gifts she wasn’t expecting but ended up really enjoying.
Capturing that feeling of Christmas morning year-round is what Brown and her business partner, Kelsey Fraley, 33, want to create with their Richardson-based startup Layerist.co. The jewelry and accessory styling service launched its website last week.
“It would be really great if someone really knew our style, and could just send us a box of stuff, and we could try it on, hold it and see the quality,” Brown said.
The concept for Layerist is similar to the serendipity achieved by popular apparel service StichFix, but for jewelry and accessories.
Customers take an interactive quiz on Layerist.co that determines the styles they like and the amount they’re willing to spend. Prices range from $25 to $150-plus. Once a customer’s style choices are completed, Layerist sends a personalized box with four to five pieces of jewelry and accessories.
Curated styling for jewelry lovers is how Layerist’s website describes the business.
If a customer doesn’t like some of the pieces in the box, the items can be returned in the box. Customers aren’t charged until Layerist receives the box back.
“We also find out your lifestyle, your occupation, things like that, to really curate that box for you,” Brown said. “Not just throw a bunch of trendy pieces in a box and ship it off.”
Brown, who earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Colorado State University with a concentration in metalsmithing and jewelry, moved back to Dallas after graduating and worked as a fine jeweler.
That background taught her the ins and outs of the jewelry industry, which Brown said was invaluable in helping the duo choose suppliers and companies to work with.
Before Layerist, Fraley was a history teacher. She said she hopes her enthusiasm for helping others transfers to teaching them about styling.
Brown and Fraley met through an adult kickball team in Dallas 11 years ago, where they bonded over a shared passion for fashion and jewelry.
Layerist works mostly with local suppliers, Fraley said, though it does use some vendors in Atlanta and California.
“We do really try to hone in on sourcing quality, fashion jewelry and accessories,” she said. “That’s one of our biggest things — we want to make sure that it’s not going to fall apart.”
Boxx Ventures, which is Layerist’s host company, served as a test market and website. Brown and Fraley said the downtime due to the COVID-19 pandemic gave them an opportunity to rebrand from Boxx Jewelry and relaunch. They’ve raised $600,000 in funding from investors to get off the ground.
“We’ve learned from that to make the website more exciting, change the colors a little, and go with a new name that I feel really resonates with our service, and not just a brand,” Fraley said. “We’re not a branded jewelry and accessories company, we’re a service.”
Fraley said the website’s new preference quiz is a second major iteration. She and Brown will closely watch how users react to differing quiz lengths and style profiles, making modifications based on that behavior.
“In the beginning, you can scroll through different pictures, and it’s like that Pinterest-feel or Instagram-feel, where you can scroll through and browse. So it’s fun for the user to be able to pick things,” Fraley said.
Brown and Fraley’s goal for Layerist in the coming year is to reach 5,000 customers. They think Layerist’s personalized experience sets it apart because stylists handpick the jewelry and accessories sent to customers.
“Our goal is really to help women feel confident while highlighting their unique beauty,” Brown said. “Every woman has her own unique style, and we want to help that come to life.”