Hi all, Happy Friday and Happy New Year - 2015! (and early Happy Chinese New Year!)
2015 is of course 'the' year for Amora Gem as the US market will shortly be open in full. Lots to discuss so lets get started!
Record 2014 sales for BTD. 38.5% Annual Sales growth: First and foremost, I wanted to thank all of our customers for your support and feedback this past year. 2014 was a new high for sales revenue for BetterThanDiamond, with total sales growth of 38.5%! Given that people 'vote' for products with their purchasing dollars, then our growth can be viewed as feedback that we are producing and offering lab grown gems that a growing number of customers are pleased to purchase and wear. We don't release our total sales revenue, but suffice to say it is seven figures. More importantly, this year we are looking forward to continuing to expand production of our gems to encompass a wider variety of sizes, and hopefully continue to provide you with the lab grown gems of choice for discerning consumers globally.
Amora Gem Updates:
New Amora Gem 'Explainer' Video! After nearly seven months of part time work, our very first Amora Gem 'explainer' video is ready. This video is a short story about Tom and Stacy getting engaged, and is designed to quickly get newcomers up to speed on the benefits of the Amora Gem without having to read through pages of text about it. We opted to go with animation for this in order to keep the focus on the information and make it cute and informative at the same time. Take a look and see what you think:
Ultra inventory - restocked < 1.50ct sizes, but sold out again: We have been working hard to produce more Amora Gem Ultra's below the 1.50ct size, but even with the recent restock of .80ct - 1.25ct, those sold out within a week and we are currently sold out again for the past two weeks. There was a similar story during the Holiday Season - we unfortunately went most of the holiday season sold out of sizes below 1.70ct. This is due to our not having the third robot (and as noted earlier, our lawsuit against our former robot supplier) that was supposed to have been delivered in October, but regardless, we are shifting some resources towards expanding the < 1.50ct sizes and hope to have some much larger restocks in February. Note that we also expect to have more 6mm range (.75ct) in February as well.
New notification list - http://BetterThanDiamond.com/notify We've setup an improved notification system directly on BetterThanDiamond.com now that will supercede our old system on AmoraGems.com (note- you'll still be notified if you signed up already via AmoraGems.com!). This is currently setup to handle requests to be notified for restocks of Amora Gem cuts and sizes. We are planning to expand it next month to handle requests for other products (Asha, Takara, Amora Enhanced) as well. One improvement on the new system is that instead of having to specify a particular color grade (which then resulted in people making multiple entries to cover a range) you have the option to simply select Colorless (D/E/F) or also Near Colorless (G/H). The new notification system is here: http://BetterThanDiamond.com/notify and also under the Amora Gem menu.
Amora Cushion Explosion: We've been able to slowly expand our Cushion production, but what has been a surprise is the amount of demand for the Amora Gem Cushion cut. It's rare that a restock lasts a single week out for sale, and further,the notification list is now twice as long for Cushions as for the Ultra. As a result, we are expanding Cushion cut production for February and hope to be able to stock a spread of sizes from 7mm - 11mm over the next four weeks. For those interested, you can sign up to be notified when these are ready at http://betterthandiamond.com/notify
Nice customer feedback on our Amora Gem Cushion cut: Speaking of our Amora Cushions, we have received a number of very nice feedback postings and I wanted to highlight one of these below.
Beat Expectations!!! I received a 2.32 Amora Gem Ultra H&A Cushion for an engagement ring at Christmas. It really blew me and my fiancé away. Setting was also made by BetterThanDiamonds and is stunning. I love this so much. It is E and internally flawless. The fire is remarkable. I don't know if I have seen a real diamond that I like as much. All the money we saved will go to a sail boat. We will be calling it Engagement.
Thanks very much to this customer for taking the time to write!
Amora Cushion video from http://GoldAndGems.com I also wanted to highlight a great video that http://GoldAndGems.com took of an Amora Gem Cushion set into a Simon G ring - you'll be able to see why the Amora Cushions are selling so well:
Amora Gem Asscher cuts are coming: As mentioned previously, we are planning to bring the Amora Asscher cut out for sale on or before this Spring. Currently we are shooting for early March, with the initial sizes of 7.5mm - 8.5mm. More details as we have them, but did want to highlight that we are on track. If you are interested, you can sign up on our notification list to receive an email when these arrive in the size you are after: http://BetterThanDiamond.com/notify
TIGER robot progress! We are ahead of schedule for our first TIGER robot, which is currently expected to be ready for production in May. All of the mechanical drawings have been finished, various parts are arriving and in progress, machining is in progress, and we've already started testing the first motion control code with a simple setup. We are planning to add two TIGER robots to our production this year, followed by three more in 2016. Overall, I'm extremely excited that BTD is now a half robotics company and half lab gem company. The vertical integration of these is something few, if any, other companies have. By having such precision control, it put's us in a unique position to constantly perfect all aspects of our gem production.
Amora Enhanced Production continuing for now: Amora Enhanced Moissanite continues to see demand, so for now we are continuing production. Currently we have more 7mm and 7.5mm in progress. These should be ready near the end of February. As mentioned earlier, we'll be expanding the notification system soon to handle wait-list requests for Amora Enhanced Moissanite sizes as well.
Takara lab grown White Diamonds: There's been steady progress with our lab grown white diamonds, and we may have some of the first colorless 1ct+ white's available for sale by this Summer. It's too early to predict pricing, etc. but it does look likely that white lab grown Takara's will be a reality in the near future. We'll be adding an option to our notification page shortly as things get closer to materializing.
Timeless Regal - adding 3mm shank option! Our Timeless Regal solitaire continues to outsell all of our other rings, and as such, we are now expanding the shank options to add in a 3mm width shank (vs. the current 2.5mm size). The first of these is in casting now and they'll be available for sale in February: https://betterthandiamond.com/products/Timeless-Regal-Reproduction.html
Adding new staff - server administrator added: With our current growth, we're planning on adding additional staff this year and I'm pleased to note that we've added a new sys admin with 10 years of server management to oversee our web resources (server, databases, etc.). We are currently planning to move to a larger and even faster server in February or March, with the goal of ensuring the message boards, BTD's main site and of course diamondbistro.com are blazing fast to all viewers anywhere on the planet.
The new DiamondBistro.com is coming! We've been working since October on a 'built from scratch' site for DiamondBistro, and we are finally getting into the remaining stretch before rolling it out live. There a whole host of improvements ranging from ability to see your sent messages, to being able to rate and review sellers, to a whole new cleaner and hopefully more easy to use interface.
To give you an idea of how things are progressing, here are two screenshots to show you a quick view of the new homepage as well as the new 'listing' page layout:
Here's snapshot of the new homepage:
Note that it looks 'extra' long above because I had to shrink the width to minimize the size of the screenshot.
And a preview of the new 'product' page:
This is just the current working design so there will likely be more changes, but wanted to show you so you can see what's coming soon!
DiamondBistro.com - continuing with free listings until new site is ready: Note that we've extended the free listings for all classifieds options beyond the original December end date. That will continue until the new site is ready at which point we may keep regular listings for free, and charge just for the 'featured item' slots.
A majestic view of our planet: With Amora's origin's around large stars, our theme of outer-space related items continues. This month - a majestic five minute video of our very own planet, taken by a German astronaut while at the International Space Station. Enjoy!
That's it for this months update! We'll have more progress updates the end of February. Have a great weekend and see you then! Less
Recipient: GIA Diamonds Certificate
Hi Less, you mentioned in another thread that you would be phasing out the micro-faceted girdle over the next 6 months. Could you elaborate on that? Will the new batches be mixed, or smooth-girdled? Thanks in advance!