Diamond Sustaining Firm: Virtual Diamond Boutique
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Virtual Diamond Boutique (VDB), a B2B sourcing and selling platform for the jewelry industry, came into being in August of 2015. VDB was started by veterans of the industry—retailers and wholesalers by trade: Tanya Nisguretsky, her father, Leon Bitelman, and Gil Ohad.
Tanya and her father understood the struggles that many retailers face. They owned one of the largest retail stores in New York’s Diamond District, and experienced the consequences of decreasing foot traffic and rising costs of running a business. They made the difficult decision of shutting down the store and moving to a smaller upstairs location.
Tanya Nisguretsky, president and CEO of Virtual Diamond Boutique, tells us more about VDB, gives us insight on a few new products, and shares some personal and industry advice.
AGS: What was the driving force behind VDB?
Tanya: It has been and always will be: How to support retailers in these changing times. Our idea was to provide retailers with a flexible and technologically advanced tool for all their business needs in order for them to be able to compete and stay profitable. VDB is like a puzzle, allowing you to put together the different pieces however you like and what it becomes is tailored to your specific needs. We came up with the idea of VDB in order to incorporate the virtual concept to our industry.
For example, some will use the platform to connect with our many vendors to source inventory they never thought possible—be it diamonds, colored gemstones, and even finished jewelry from all over the globe. Others will utilize VDB’s mobile aspect to carry inventory in their pockets and be able to show and sell anytime, anywhere. The possible ways one can use such an interactive visual platform are limitless.
AGS: What new products are you working on?
Tanya: In addition to the diamond, colored gemstone, and fine jewelry search platforms, we are launching white labeling and API options. Several large retailers have already signed up for white labeling options, which allow them to market our app as their own in the app store. You will be able to set your own colors and logo instead of ours. There is a long list of customizable features for these options, such as choosing certain screens to display, locking in specific vendors, setting up special markup tiers, connecting our feed to your website, and incorporating the VDB search engine interface to your website.
With the flexibility of our system, retail chain stores can upload their inventory onto the app and share exclusively between their many different locations, thereby streamlining the process and making it more efficient.
AGS: Your father gave you sound advice that can be used both professionally and personally. What was it?
Tanya: “Don’t wait for things to be perfect to start something.”
As people, we are always hesitant to go down an unfamiliar road, and so we make excuses for ourselves—or rather put up roadblocks. “I can’t open my own business until I have x, y, and z.” Or, “I can’t start my family until I’ve accomplished this and that.” We put limitations on ourselves by creating these rules. Instead, what I learned is that everything is a work in progress. We strive towards perfection by working towards it. It is up to us to refine the path we are on; it does not happen right away.
When we launched our first search platform on VDB—the diamond search—it wasn’t perfect. Like any complex system with a lot of different components, there were bugs we had to iron out. But if we waited until everything was perfect, then we would never have been able to get off the ground. We were dealing with a lot of new ideas and to implement those, we had to create a lot of new technology to accomplish what we wanted to do. And that is part of the process. We take one step at a time, learn and solve problems, then take the next. Perfection comes as a process.
AGS: Do you have any advice for new members of the American Gem Society?
Tanya: I would strongly advise new members to attend Conclave as often as possible. I know it is not a requirement to attend, but there are a lot of benefits to Conclave. One of the best, in my opinion, is that it gives you a chance to meet and connect with those within the trade. There are numerous networking events that give you the opportunity to meet with colleagues.
I am the CEO of two companies and as such, I don’t always have the time to meet and discuss with my peers within the trade. And I am sure I am not the only one. Conclave gives me the chance to meet with old and new friends to talk about the industry and sometimes to come up with new ideas. We are a community of people and Conclave is the forum that enables us to connect.
The other benefit to Conclave is the educational events. We all know that the world is constantly changing. New technology is being developed and implemented as we speak. There are concerns today that we did not have in the past. Thankfully, there are also new ways of solving problems that we did not have in the past. All this means that we should always be learning, always be thinking of new methods and always training ourselves to new ideas.
Conclave is not simply a time and place for us to learn, but a way for us to learn from friends and colleagues as well as industry experts. It is a way for us to know that we are not alone on our journey to be better.