Interview With Rebecca Foerster on Creating A Sustainable Brand

By Jared Polites, Partner at LaunchTeam

12/23/2020

Launching a new ethical and compassionate brand in the midst of the crisis can uplift your customers and inspire your team with a sense of purpose. 2020 brought many challenges for businesses and entrepreneurs alike. For many, it was a chance to reflect on what really is important for a brand or in an entrepreneur’s […]

Launching a new ethical and compassionate brand in the midst of the crisis can uplift your customers and inspire your team with a sense of purpose.

2020 brought many challenges for businesses and entrepreneurs alike. For many, it was a chance to reflect on what really is important for a brand or in an entrepreneur’s journey. This introspection helped inspire many entrepreneurs to do better, including focusing more in sustainability and other socially conscious activities.

For Rebecca Foerster, Board Member of Diamonds Do Good and President of Alrosa North America, sustainability has been an important aspect of her journey in the jewelry industry. This year was an important milestone for Alrosa as they launched their first diamond jewelry brand, Diamonds That Care, exclusively with a purpose of helping those in need.

Rebecca was nice enough to share her experience from this launch as well as a few key tips for other entrepreneurs looking to build sustainable brands. From understanding customers to building authenticity, these tips are directly applicable for all entrepreneurs.

1. Meaning is not just something your customers want.

In 2020, many teams and companies have struggled with motivation. Even the most driven ones experienced their dark moments and a burnout. Right now, we all need more meaning at work. While launching a new brand, we’ve realized that “doing good” is also good for business: when you create a new sustainable product, it engages people working on it because they find purpose.

It’s a “feel good” project with a lot of added value and, whether you are looking for a retail partner or a marketer, people are very excited and open to this. In some traditional industries your brand could start changing the perception: in diamond mining or luxury, for example, social responsibility has been very underplayed as a message.

2. Your story should be credible to engage your audience.

These days most brands claim they are sustainable, but you need full transparency and explanation of what’s behind this message. This would allow people to know what the brand represents and engage your audience. You should be credible and humble and, ideally, provide some facts validating your statements.

As a social responsibility initiative, for example, Diamonds That Care has a long history. It was established in 2018, giving to more than 500 charities and projects, including the ones focused on education and wildlife preservation. In 2020, the initiative has been transformed into a brand. We always choose to support the most vulnerable ones, currently donating 10 percent of each sale to Feeding America COVID-19 Response Fund.

This year, Diamonds That Care also raised $338K for the families of frontline healthcare workers through selling three unique jewelry pieces at the Christie’s auction. These are just first steps: we are planning more charitable activities in the future.

3. Be unique, from an idea to implementation.

Creating new sustainable jewelry isn’t easy: apart from similar messaging, most brands are using the same materials, such as recycled gold. We realized that a diamond have never been the symbol of warmth and empathy. That is why we decided to launch a brand addressing human’s basic needs, such as helping others. To emphasize the message and make our jewelry to stand out, we chose earth tone diamonds because of their warm color.

This meaning is also manifested through the design of our jewelry pieces: for example, linked circles of Diamonds That Care earrings is reminding that we all are connected. Even your choice of retail partner should reflect your brand’s values: we decided to work with Brilliant Earth because of their dedication and focus on the sustainable jewelry. From the concept to implementation, you brand should be a reference to your vision and the purpose behind it.

We live in the challenging times, when fashion jewelry could provide meaning and value, uplifting both teams who create them and women wearing them. COVID-19 is not the end of beauty and fashion. It’s the beginning of more responsible and sustainable practices and, hopefully, new brands living up to these principles.