The Ins and Outs of Men’s Custom Rings
In this captivating episode of the Modern Jewelry Podcast, we dive into the fascinating world of men's wedding bands with the esteemed jeweler, Matt Isaacson from Lashbrook. Join us as we explore the evolution of men's rings, the latest trends in wedding bands, the art of customization, and the wonders of innovative materials.
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Matt 0:15-0:17: Thanks for having me on.
Troy 0:17-0:24: Great, I’d love to just jump in. Matt if you could tell me a little bit about your background in jewelry and particularly in men’s rings?
Matt 0:24-1:07: Sure no problem. I have an origin story so to speak that’s a little different than most. I answered a craigslist ad and I did so kind of looking for a part time gig while I was finishing up a professional apprenticeship. It was 2008 during the recession and things were just totally falling apart and that other gig didn’t work out and you know without too much longer a part-time gig went to full-time. Full time turned into something I really liked. I took a bunch of different positions here in the company but yeah I started out here in the factory making rings, finishing, polishing, doing all that kind of stuff and then found that I had a knack for playing with materials and design ended up heading up the entire design development. In this last year here at Lashbrook.
Troy 1:07-1:10: Awesome so what is your title at Lashbrook?
Matt 1:10-1:29: So I’m product director and I oversee both design and the selection of the products that we sell and also development of new materials and technologies so I’m head of the dev team that's both software and tech and product design. I;ve been here for about 15 years and so far don’t have any plans to change what I’m doing, I really like it.
Troy 1:29-1.45: Great yeah I’m excited to talk to you today because I know there’s been just a massive shift and change in this industry in the last couple of years so I’m excited to get your insights. So tell me how has your interest and passion for jewelry changed over these years?
Matt 1:45-2:45: You know that’s funny. I see things totally differently now. When I met somebody, we were at a family gathering not just just two weeks ago. I have a really huge extended family, there was about 200 of us there at this event and we’re all hanging out and I head over to see one of my cousins and my wife said “yeah you talked to her a few minutes ago” and I got to thinking I was like “Oh yeah she had those flat circle disc earrings that were really unique you know the yellow gold ones. She looks at me funny and is like “Wait, you remember which cousin you were talking to an hour ago based on her earrings?”. Yeah! I totally do and I see the world through a jewelry perspective now that I never would’ve guessed I would. When I meet people I immediately just hey what’s your name and I remember what color hair they have and how tall they are and what kind of wedding ring they wear. Sometimes that’s really telling about someone's personality. Sometimes it’s not but it’s something I definitely notice. I drive my wife a little crazy because when we’re watching TV I pause the show or the movie that we’re watching all the time and I’m like “Oh come check out this cool piece or I point out a trend or I catch onto something that's maybe not a trend yet. That’s just kinda how I interact with the world now.
Troy 2:45-3:17: So great, we recently did an episode where we’re talking kind of in length about stacking jewelry and now everywhere I go and I see someone stacking jewelry I’m just like “Oh how are they doing it?” and you know I wonder what inspired them and everything, it’s just you know similar thing to you hear a word or you learn a word you never knew before and then you start hearing it all the time so that’s great. So I’d love to talk about some of the trends that are happening right now in specifically mens wedding bands. So in general you know what are some of the latest trends you’ve been seeing?
Matt 3:17-6:30: My observations are a little interesting. As a little bit of background in how product selection works, the products that you see in our website catalog, in store selection you know wherever it is we call them open doors. You can see a product that you like and maybe you see 2 or 3 products that you like and those are really just jumping off points for inspiration because our company makes everything to order. So it's a custom design piece for every person that orders. Now we have common or popular patterns or designs that we make all the time but we make a couple thousand rings every month that have never been made before and we call it Mass Customization. It’s the niche that we’ve kind of carved out and so my perspective, it comes from that. Where a lot of brands, designers; be it jewelry or otherwise you know they put out their fall collection and then they wait. You know sometimes it's 90 days, sometimes it’s 6 months to really get all that data back from the retailers and reorders and quantities sold and then the analyzed sales data and then that influences next year’s fall collection. Our approach is really different. We have combinations and styles that we like and that we see so well. We put them out there, but then it's just we just open it up. So all of those designs are like I said open doors people can walk through them and say “I like that ring but make it narrower and change the metal type to make it Yellow Gold instead of Rose Gold or lets add a black strip because I like that” so observations and trends reflect that our ability is to allow a customer driven design that gives us just this huge window, into what men all across the country are wanting in their wedding band. So for example sometimes we see trends really early as they develop because we do have so many open doors, we have so many opportunities for people to customize and design their own pieces. So a few things that I have seen evolve most recently, a push towards asymmetrical design. So whether that's a little accent strip or a colored inlay or whatever it is rather than having a traditional balanced look they push that inlay or that strip or that accent, and they make it maybe a little off kilter. Off to the side or maybe disproportionate between one side to the next side or one element of the ring into another. That kind of asymmetrical look, that kind of came out of nowhere and you know it’s been an element in the central time but I see it being embraced by men a lot more right now another trend we see is kind of pushed back to some traditional looks. You know I think with design in general we have this huge push to embrace some vintage pieces and some vintage looks. I know that Y2K designs are influencing right now and so what we see in men’s for a long time over the last maybe 5-10 years is a trend towards kind of more of a wider band 7-8mm wide and I’m seeing this huge demand for kind of a really traditional 5-4 mm, 5-6mm wide kind of classic yellow gold polished band. Something really simple that had kind of a classic design, a classic appeal and we’re seeing that kind of back in the mix which is interesting.
Troy 6:30-6:46:Yeah that’s very interesting and this is all just such a far cry from the old traditional just gold band right? Men get gold band. Maybe talk to me a little bit about materials. I know you guys have been just completely innovative in bringing new materials into the mix.
Matt 6:46-8:06: Yeah I talked to you a little bit about the idea that we have kind of this policy of open doors where we allow the consumer to drive their design and having said that we really lead the pack and lead out with some new materials and new designs and some of those is in kind of introducing elements into the pallet that people maybe not familiar with so for example we have some really nontraditional materials to work with. For example, say meteorite, we use a Gibeon Meteorite that’s originally sources from a fall from Africa and we offer that as part of our selection so people can get a meteorite inlay or an accent of meteorite in their rings. You know, Zirconium that’s a black material. Black metal is a huge look. People like that. Maybe because it’s not traditional it’s very distinctive but I mean black is just a good look, it’s super popular. We have really other interesting materials that are more natural like hardwoods. You know, a wide selection of hardwoods to choose from. One of the design trends we see definitely is a combination of all the new. You take a material like Black Zirconium, this really modern looking black ring but then introduce an element that’s really traditionally yellow gold accent and so you kind of combine some of the old and new looks into a single piece.
Troy 8:06-8:13: That sounds really awesome. Tell me, have you ever gotten any just off the wall requests or any unique requests?
Matt 8:13-10:53: We get unique requests like you wouldn’t believe. We get all kinds of weird things, I get pictures of people's tattoos, you know a picture of an arm that’s like “Hey I’ve got this ink that’s really meaningful to me, can you incorporate this design?” I get weird stuff too like I get these little metal pieces in the mail and we have to call the customer and say “What are these?” and they say “Oh they came out of this guy's body and you know they were like the bolts and pins from the surgery that held his knee together or held a shoulder together and he wants to see if we can like bend those and make it into a ring”. Or we get you know we talked about hardwood is an element that we use in our rings. We get pieces of like branches of trees, “I gathered this from my parents house growing up and the tree has died or has been harvested” or whatever “It means a lot to me from my childhood and I want to incorporate that into my ring”. One of our coolest rings that we’ve ever done was a customer request was this guy, he summited some of the, I think it was 12, 12 of the most, the highest peaks on earth, you know. K2 and Kilimanjaro, Everest wasn’t in there but I don’t remember the whole like but theres these, these 12 peaks from all over the world and when he’d get to the summit he’d pick up a small rock from each summit and put his pocket and then, you know years later he’s dating this woman and getting ready to get engaged he wanted to give her something that had a lot of meaning and so back-and-forth with the design team and him and we came up with this design where we put these little pockets, these little squares in the ring in 12 kind of symmetrical slots all the way around the ring. We took these little stones and crushed them up inlay them into each square and then we mapped it out for him so he could say “Yeah this stone came from this mountain, and it goes in this section.” The funny thing is in the idea it sounded really cool but when the stone showed up it just looked like gray pieces of rock. We thought “Oh man this is going to be so boring” but to our surprise, you know as we made the ring as you crush them up and then you inlay them with some resin so they are protected and can’t fall out what we found was that the stones had all this color, you know internally. So there were these pinks and these blues and these greens and grays and browns. The final piece was nothing anyone would have guessed it was beautiful. It was a really cool story. He ended up giving it to fiancé and saying I’ve been to the top of the world and from the top of the world to get this to you and some meaningful saying like that and it just had all this, this history and experience and very intimate for him. We love stories like that and we get requests like that all the time actually. It’s really fun.
Troy 10:53-11:09: Wow, that is just amazing to even wrap my head around that I just want to see this ring you know that, that’s amazing. That's a good segue. Have you seen similar trends in women's bands and the designs that they want as well?
Matt 11:09-12:47: You know... how do I say this? You know men's designs, I feel like lag behind women's fashion in general. Sometimes it's years, and sometimes they don't ever carry over. But we do see some, some some carry over. One that's that's interesting is like I mentioned before, some of this trend towards some vintage looks and vintage designs. We definitely see that you know whether it's maybe just in some cases a thinner band rather than the wider band or the material like yellow gold, for example. In other cases we say, a trend towards some bling. Some context there is , I think the lab diamond industry is having a huge effect in terms of design and look, and what people can afford to buy. And so we see in women's engagement rings that the center stone is getting larger, you know, instead of just a single carrot. a lot of requests for a carat and half, 2 carrots, 2 and a half carats, and and even sometimes, you know, a 3 carat band that they used to be. It's just so so extraordinarily expensive that it was for, I don't know rich and famous right but with lab diamonds the the price points a little more affordable, and and I think in in general trend women are opting to kind of capitalize on with their budget on what they can afford in that look and I don't know if that coincides, if that's the same like if that's maybe the same core principle at play here, or if it's just overlap in the trends between men and women. But we see a lot of bling and men's bands so black diamonds, white diamonds, lab diamonds, but even color you know, 2 different colors of sapphire in in some cases or or rubies. We see a lot of men opting to embrace a more you know, blingy, shiny, iced out ring. And it's fun to see, actually, because there's some expressiveness involved with that and they're a great look.
Troy 12:47-12:55: That's really fascinating and I'm curious to in general, are you seeing like kind of a merge towards more of a unisex style for wedding band?
Matt 12:55-13:36: Oh, great question, you know I think sometimes good design lends itself cross genders, you know. Maybe we designed a piece that was envisioned or originally came out of a women's or maybe it came out of a men's collection. But truth is, good design appeals to, I think, both genders and so you take good design and combine it with the idea that your customers can lead the way and customize their design, how they like it and it becomes very gender neutral. Where a lot of the elements of the pieces across the the gender line, and people just embrace what we have to offer, and we definitely see some of the looks that we have in traditional men's pieces being worn by women and vice versa.
Troy 13:36-13:58: Yeah, that's fascinating. This brings up a good topic, you could have a great jewel or great designers, and all of that. But if you don't have a good process, you're not going to end up with a happy customer, so I'd love to maybe dig into a little bit of your process of creating that band or creating that piece of jewelry. What do you guys do?
Matt 13:58-15:26: You know, the process varies, you know, customer to customer so dramatically but I think where most people start is the Internet. Something like, Oh, I can't remember what the number was. It was, it was crazy high, something like 80% of weddings, you know, started on a pinterest board and brides do a lot of planning you know, on their phone and you know, looking at cake designs and looking for photographers and looking at dresses, certainly the dress is huge the dress and the wedding band. You know, we talk about picking a ring. I think that's where most people start is they're looking online, whether it's at their favorite local jeweler or their favorite designer, or just like what's trending in general, or just, you know, Googling stuff and just looking for ideas, a lot of people start there. And so we get a lot of requests that say, “Hey, Do you have something like this?” And it's reference, some picture they found online. It's a great place to start, because then from there we say “Oh, well, let me show you” and then you start the conversation x, y, and z. You know, I think with ordering a band the first place is just to get inspired. Whether it's in store or online just to be inspired to find something that, that sparks your attention, sparks your creativity, and something that gives you an idea of where to go next, you know. Just get that kind of creative juices flowing and, and then and then you couple that with the idea that you can have it any way you like, and that if you put some creativity to it and find something that you like, you know that someone can go and build it for you. You kind of pair those together, and that's really where you kind of kick the whole process off.
Troy 15:26-15:35: So thinking about, you know our audience. Where is the best place to start? Would you just say online, start looking for the designs you want?
Matt 15:35-17:07: I mean, I do this with my friends or family. Right? I've got nieces and nephews now getting married, and I've told them, you know, start where you normally start. Going to some jewelry stores, you know. Go into a John Atencio and just browse just take it all in because it's a funny business in particular, the the men's wedding band back up just a little bit and tell you that when you buy a men's wedding band it's the first time you've ever, you know, for most men it's the first time you've ever bought it before. You've never shopped for it before and so you're kind of approaching something new and you’ve just got to start somewhere but it's a fun process, because I tell people I love what I do. You know what other purchase means as much as it does than your wedding ring? You know it's literally the only thing you buy that you wear every day of your life that carries so much symbolism and meaning that when you die they actually bury you with it. There's just nothing else like it. You know, you start this process and you've never, you know, never had to. For most guys again. You've never thought about, you know, unlike the women this is a little bit different where they have looked at, you know all their friends and and and family that have gotten married before them. And you know the first thing you do when you get engaged is they like, Oh, show me your ring, and then they show it off. And you know, so there's always that kind of inspiration and and and sharing that happens naturally with with with. I think the engagement ring in particular. But the men's wedding band that doesn't happen as much so it doesn't mean it can't mean as much, that it can't be as representative and as emotional as her ring, you just have to start by getting inspired and seeing what's out there.
Troy 17:07-17:55: I think back to getting my wedding band and this was, you know, good 18 years ago. So before Lashbrook, maybe before you had some of the cool materials but I remember my favorite thing to show my wedding band was it's a titanium band, and I can bounce it on the ground. So if I had a flat surface and I'm standing on, I'd take off my ring and like bounce it and people were just amazed. They're like “Oh, that's amazing!” You know. I could bounce it off the ground, and then and then catch it and put it back on and that was always the talking point and I'm thinking of all these, you know these materials you're mentioning. How much of a conversation piece that can be, especially as people are, you know, are talking about getting married and showing their band, and just such a great conversation starter. So yeah talk to me about you've mentioned a few so meteorite, zirconium…
Matt 17:55-20:11: You mentioned titanium. To me, titanium’s kind of not as exciting as you used to be, but only because that's where we started, you know. Lashbrook got its start in 2,000 and the owner and founder he saw that you can make a ring out of titanium. I can't remember where he kind of came across it for the first time, he thought. You know the options for men have been so limited forever. You know he owned a jewelry store at the time, and his simple tray of men's wedding bands to choose from was pretty much yellow gold, and I think maybe some white gold and then maybe some styles that were yellow and white cold. So just not a lot to choose from and it had been the same way for jeez for forever. He saw the idea of a titanium wedding band and it just was just inspirational. Thought well, that's really interesting. It's completely non-traditional and new material and titanium has properties that make it an excellent selection for a material for a wedding ring. It's super lightweight. It's crazy, durable. It's way more scratch resistant than say, a gold band and with gold prices the way they are it's a lot more affordable. So what a cool combination! And so that's where the company really got its start was making one of the first nationally distributed titanium collections to exist, and from there we just branched off. We took that idea of inspiration of using unique materials for wedding bands and just running with it. So you know, titanium super lightweight. Cobalt chrome has the look and feel and weight of white gold but at a much more affordable and durable price and I think I mentioned black zirconium. It's great, because it's that jet black color. Then you've got really unique materials like Damascus steel. Which traditionally was an ancient sword making process where they took 2 different kinds of steel heated up, stacked it in layers of alternating with you know, all turning materials and then, heat it up until those you know multiple layers became a solid block. With that solid block that it gave him opportunity to elongate it and hammer it out and then twist it and pattern it and the beauty of the Damascus steel is it's made today by our artisans nearly the same way they made it, you know, hundreds of years ago by hand, twisting and patterning the 2 materials together and then, when you make a ring from it, you know every ring is ends up a little bit different from from the one before it. So no 2 rings are ever quite alike. So the damascus steals are just a really interesting, cool, nontraditional material.
Troy 20:11-20:17: If I remember correctly, I, I think I've seen you doing the Damascus style with other metals, correct?
Matt 20:17-21:09: Yeah, we love Malcolm Mcgone. We've done it in the past, and hope to bring it back soon. That's also a traditional material going back to Japanese sword making. That's the Damascus type process, but with precious metals. So you can combine, say, a yellow gold and white gold and silver, for example, and then we have a new material that's, you know, recently developed that's a 2 different types of titanium and we make it in the kind of tradition of the Damascus process but with a new material combination. So it's 2 kinds of titanium, and then in the process of producing it, when you apply heat to it after it's finished. Titanium can take on this just incredible blue purpley hint of color as it oxidizes and so you, this really dramatic pop of silver and purple and blue. It ends up being a really cool, a cool material
Troy 21:09-21:40: That's awesome. I love, you know, talking about materials. It's so sustainability, you know, big buzzword in our world today and I think that's causing a big shift towards the lab created diamonds and those kinds of products, because they're build as being more, you know, sustainable for our world. So I'd love to have you talk about you know some of these materials that you're using? What's the the benefits? What are some of the drawbacks, you know? Are there limitations to how much meteorite you have and can get? Is there dinosaur bone as well? I think I've seen on your site.
Matt 21:40-25:49: There is. Yeah we do work with all kinds of crazy materials and dinosaur bone is one of them, you know, in the case of dinosaur bone we live in a great place you know Lashbrook is here in Utah and Southern Utah has some of the richest deposits of dinosaur bone and sites for collecting samples in the world, in fact, the 4 Corners regions there's just really famous collections of dinosaur bone, and it is rare and so, we try and respect the materials we work with and so, for example, in the case of dinosaur bone we use the smaller pieces that come off of digs that couldn't otherwise be displayed or used in any other way, so we call it scrap material, you know, broken broken pieces of bones or you know, as they collected the the pieces that aren't identifiable and so we gather pieces respectfully to be using them in the rings every chance we get. In the case of one of our hardwoods, for example, we use a giant sequoia, you know, some of the oldest, biggest trees in the world from California. Now, we would never cut down a sequoia tree to harvest for production of a wedding band. But sequoia trees do die, and they do fall over and so, with special licensing and permission, the Forest Service allows people to go in and harvest the wood from naturally fallen trees and so we buy from a vendor that is ethically responsible in their sourcing and so we offer sequoia but do it the right way and we tried to do that with all the materials. You know there are trade offs pros and cons to all materials. Some are lightweight. Some are heavyweight, some are more scratch resistant and some are less scratch resistant, but when you talk about sustainability some are more rare. One of the more recent inclusions in our collection is tantalum. Tantalum’s this great dark gray, almost like a gun metal color. It's heavy but not brittle. Early on at the turn of the century you had a very traditional kind of base of core gold bands and titanium and tungsten were the 2 that kind of opened everyone's eyes to explore new materials, and the downside to the tungsten beyond is, it can be brittle. So if you kind of hit it hard on something, or drop it into a hard tile or cement surface you can just break the ring and tantalums a great alternative to that, because it has kind of the weight and color of tungsten, but without some of the drawbacks. However, just like I said, there's pros and cons to each material. In tantalum, is a little bit more rare. So there's only really a few places in the world that it's collected in Australia, China and a few places in Africa and so sourcing it becomes a very important part of what we do. You know there's a major collection of mined tantalum that happens in Congo and you know the Republic of Congo is famous for some of the less desirable mining techniques, and some of the areas that are war contested and so you know, finding sources of tantalum that that avoid you know, buying from those places but it's it's hard, you know the world is is complicated even in the case of gold. You know, as traditional jewelry material as there is. There’s gold mining that happens from places that you know don't have the same standards that we'd want or expect. Actually a little known fact that we're trying to bring more awareness to the industry and to the public is a lot of gold is mined artisanally. So in small villages all over the world where, you know, families mine in their local streams and rivers and they pan for gold kind of like you'd think of in, you know old time, a collection of panning for gold, and then in the gold rush, for example but that still happens all over the world. The problem is, those artisanal miners use mercury to get the gold out of the ore that they pan for, and it helps them refine it. So they mix mercury into their pieces and then it bonds to the gold ore and then if you burn it what's left? You know, the mercury vaporizes and all that’s left is more refined pure gold that allows them to sell it but burning mercury is just absolutely terrible for the environment and terrible for the people burning it. It's terrible to inhale, just not a good practice in general and so Lashbrook’s one of the primary sponsors to an initiative to find an alternative to using mercury for a small artisanal mining and in villages all over the world and we're looking for those those ways to, you know, do what we do but but do it better.
Troy 25:49-25:58: Wow well, yeah, I was not aware of that. I know a lot of jewelers focus on recycled gold. Is that a big portion of where you get your gold? Or…
Matt 25:58-26:44: Absolutely yeah, without bringing in fresh gold, the industry wouldn't be able to continue producing. There's always more demand than there is supply of recycled gold but everywhere we can, we use recycled gold. In fact, one of our primary suppliers that we buy a lot of our raw materials from is a hundred percent recycled. So everywhere we can we use recycled gold, and you know, gold comes in the world of recycling. It comes from all kinds of places, from electronics, is actually one of the primary consumers of gold. There's a lot of gold in those computer chips and boards and so, you know, refining, there's a whole industry around refining the gold out of that scrap material from all the electronics and then recycling it back into to be used into new ways, including to jewelry. So I think it's a key element key part of the solution going forward for sure.
Troy 26:44-27:08: I feel like so much of what we've talked about, we could do like a separate show on so many of these talk topics. I would love to talk a little bit more about customization, you know, yeah, thinking about our customers and wanting them to get you know, the desired final product. So how long does it typically take to customize a men's wedding band with John Atensio specifically?
Matt 27:08-28:36: You know, sometimes what's custom to one person is not custom to another. A quick example. You see, a style that you really like, and you know, it just seems a little bit big for your hand, and so we take it from like a maybe a big, chunky John Atencio style that has this cool, you know, gold elements in the top and Damascus around the sides and you say, I really like that but I want it, you know, maybe scaled down just a little bit 6 or 7 millimeters and that it's absolutely custom, you know. They’ve taken something, been inspired by it, and they make it their own but a combination like that's actually pretty easy to make. So we could make that as little as maybe a couple of weeks and then you contrast that with something that's more out there. Off the beaten paths, so to speak, where you're inspired by a design and you're working with the staff of John Atencio just take it, you know, totally different area, and make a lot of changes to it. That process could take longer. It wouldn't be out of the ordinary for a truly custom design to take maybe 6 weeks and you know, when you're involved in the process all the way through in some cases a custom design we start with going back and forth with the design team, and you use renders. We do it in 3D design and then we can produce a render based on the inputs from the customer and send back kind of pictures going back and forth. Fine tuning what they what they're after and take input from the customer so that they can see their design evolving as they give feedback, and then we take that until we're, till everyone's happy with it, and then make the final product.
Troy 28:36-29:03: Great. Let's talk a little bit about, you know, ordering online or shopping online. I know, and even in the store, you know fit. The fit of the jewelry is so important to be able to wear it all the time, all you know, all day, every day. Yeah, I'd love to have you speak a little bit to comfort fit, you know, to what that is, how it's different from standard sizing and then how can you know one of our listeners really make sure they get the accurate size, particularly when they're customizing?
Matt 29:03-30:30: This is where working with the local jeweler just is just so important you can guess your finger size. You know, online companies do a they do their best to try and get the the finger says right, but there's really no substitution for going to the jewelry store, you know, walking into a John Atencio, working with the staff that knows how to size you has the actual sizing rings there in store and letting you try on pieces. The lashbook produces a sizing set that's actually really unique and that rather than being connected to a ring or a strap, or some all these, you know various things that people have come up with over the years. We just create a whole set of rings. They're made out of aluminum. So they're easily recyclable and inexpensive to make and they're there at the counter and so the the staff will let you try on a few different rings, and they have, a ring in virtually every size you can think of, and you can wear that around the stores you browse and shop and get a feel for how it's really gonna fit when you get your ring so that process is, it's hard to do not in store. There's, you know, clever techniques but really the best way to do it is to go into John Atnecio, and get sized by professional and comfort fit. So comfort is simply rounded inside. You know traditionally rings were made with kind of a flat straight across design on the inside of the band, and so the comfort fit puts a curve around the inside of the chink of the band and that sits on the finger just a little bit more comfortably, and if it's a little bit different, and so all of our sizes are made with a comfort fit design so that you can get the the right size for that design.
Troy 30:30-30:48: Let's talk a little bit about cost, and how you know what factors go into associated costs with each design and the more customization. Maybe if you could walk me through that, like, for example, you talked about the person who had a completely customized ring, you know, with all those great materials of mountains, just talk to me about cost.
Matt 30:48-32:11: What I mean, it doesn't have to be expensive. You know, a simple titanium band is about $300 or less, you know. If it's just a really simple band and a solid platinum band, or an 18 carat yellow gold band with, you know, high, precious metal content is, you know, a couple thousand dollars or or more and then when you introduce the idea of customization you, you really are paying for, you know, craftsmen to make a band that no one's ever made before. So it does cost a little bit more. It doesn't always cost a lot more, though. You know, the Lashbook method of mass customization allows for people to pick and choose, mix and match elements of design, and sometimes there's, you know, doesn't really add any cost to it and then you know the example that we gave earlier the ring from the top of the mountains way, you know you end up paying a little bit more for the designer on the back end of that process that's going through and and developing the ring in CAD, and making sure everything fits together and generating the pictures to to for approval and you know, sometimes you can expect to pay a couple of $100 more, and sometimes even a little bit more than that to go through that customization process but you know the key is when you're doing something that you know that's right out of your brain. It's just totally custom. We're adding a lot of value in that process building something, you know, made to order and really, that's just for you and so it becomes a question of value versus cost and we find that most people kind of understand that you know that formula and are okay with it.
Troy 32:11-33:10: I think I could definitely agree with that. I have many conversations with my wife about how long something is going to last, like my wedding ring has outlasted every article of clothing I've ever bought right? As it should we have the same conversation about the next time we get a dog she's kind of against, you know she'll hear “Oh this person paid thousands of dollars for this rare dog breed, or for this particular breeders, dog” and I'm like, “Well, of course, it's like a member of the family like, how could you not want to, you know, invest and spend to get the dog and the personality that you like”. Yeah, all those kinds of things. I think this is a member of the family like, why wouldn't you invest, and I feel the same way about jewelry, you know. It's going to be something you're using every day. It can be like with John Atencio we use the word, you know, stopping power, like people are going to notice it. That's one thing a lot of people love about John Atencio Jewelry: it's like you mentioned the asymmetrical. You know, it stands out. It's different. It's unique and can be a conversation starter, so.
Matt 33:10-33:49: I totally agree, you know Lashbrook and John Atencio just have this great partnership and so you know the rings we make for John that in a lot of cases you know his design. We have a lot of designs, of course, too but John's come to us and said, “Hey, can you make this design that I've come up with for us?” in the Men's wedding band space in particular, in some of our more interesting materials and those are show stoppers, you know wasn't the case that men would wear a wedding band, and after they get engaged, say, “Oh, let me see your ring.” but when you're wearing one of these really interesting designs from from John, I think that actually does happen where where people notice those rings and can't help but ask and it's fun to be a part of that process.
Troy 33:49-34:02: Well, Matt . Thank you so much for joining us today. We've covered so much great material. I've learned so much from your experience. So I'm sure we'll be asking you to come back to explore some of those topics in the future but thank you so much for your time today.
Matt 34:02-34:06: It was my pleasure.
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