A brilliant and affordable resource for jewelry designers and PR agencies, Luprocks provides top fashion and lifestyle media, editors, costume designers and stylists with a one-stop shop to find the best in fine jewelry and accessories. Below, an interview with Michelle Orman, co-founder of LupRocks along with partner Jessica Cohen, highlights the benefit and did I already say brilliance? of this user-friendly, successful service for designers and the media. I wonder if there are any best friend/slumber party applications up for grabs?
Check out their blog as well.
PR: Before you started Luprocks, were you and Jessica publicists? How did you come to realize that going online was the way to go?
MO: Prior to starting LupRocks.com, Jessica and I were doing PR and Product Placement within the fine jewelry and watch industry for over five years. Prior to Lüp, I was in the private sector of PR before moving to a trade association that does PR on behalf of the entire fine jewelry industry. Jessica was an Emmy Award winning set designer and was drawn to the jewelry industry through her love of fine jewelry, which is where we met.
While LupRocks.com does target print as well as broadcast media, the idea was born out of our desire to streamline the product placement process. By specializing in fine jewelry and accessories we offer costume designers, property masters, stylists and editors a “one stop shop” for filling their production needs. I go straight to LupRocks for the inside scoop on the ‘new’ and ‘not-yet-even-on-the-radar’ designers, trends and industry insights. -Randi Molofsky, author of “A Girl’s Guide to Buying Diamonds” and freelance journalist
PR: What is the difference between luprolls and luprocks?
MO: Our original informational website for Lüp was on the LupRocks.com url. When we launched LupRocks.com in its current version, we thought we’d keep the original name since people seemed to be familiar with it. We then moved our company information site over to LupRolls.com. LupRocks.com is only one aspect of what Lüp does, so it was necessary to have a sort of “parent” site for the company in LupRolls.com.
PR: Did you raise VC for this or pay through your own pockets?
MO: We paid through our own pockets! Fortunately for us, we have a great relationship with our web designer so we were able to pay in increments. After the initial build, we have worked bit by bit on improving the site and making subtle changes that optimize its functionality, and we’ve taken on those expenses one at a time as the site has earned revenue.
PR: What is the basic business model for luprocks?
MO: LupRocks.com was our way of streamlining the product placement and editorial request process. Not only is it a useful tool for media, it also gives the designers (or their publicists) on our site an opportunity to build relationships directly with the media. It has also freed us up to grow and develop as a company in other areas.
PR: What are the different account features? What results do you point to that encourage designers to join at the Siren level?
MO: Our account levels are Siren ($895/year), Buzz ($495/year), Whisper ($195/month) and Free. The main advantage of the Siren account is the ability to have a “brochure” complete with company info, images, direct link to your website and an “email me here” option. Most importantly, Siren is the only account level that has access to our “desperately seeking” classified section, where media posts product call listings for various productions and editorial spreads they’re working on.
Our blog is one area where we tout the success of LupRocks.com members and we’ll be incorporating successful case studies into our upcoming marketing campaign. The main way we build our membership however, is through the opportunities that we provide. When costume designers or editors post a product call listing in Desperately Seeking, we get the word out to designers on our mailing list (which is constantly being built upon) that there is a great opportunity on the site, which generally attracts new members.
PR: What has the response been from media. Did you leverage pre-established relationships or have new relationships developed through the luprocks process?
MO: The response has been fantastic! We “interviewed” many of our contacts while building the site and got lots of input from them with regard to what features they would like to have, would they use it, how would they use it, etc. so we definitely did our homework and our existing contacts began using the site immediately. We have also developed new users after launching the site. Word about how easy it is to use has gotten around and more and more media are drawn to the site.
PR: Do you work with bloggers?
MO: We are blog obsessed! We love working with bloggers and are constantly looking for possible ways to work with bloggers beyond just placing product on various style-focused blogs. Why? Did you want to work with us on a project?!
PR: What are some of the most successful/interesting features that you have come up with?
MO: We’re thrilled with how well “Desperately Seeking” works and the product of the month giveaway and blog have both brought us tons of attention, while also making members happy with additional exposure. We also have great customer service and are constantly available to help members perfect their brochure pages and make them more searchable. We also find that the site is great at allowing us to work with other PR firms. The subscription cost is so low and it ends up being a real time saver for the PR firms we have on the site and gives them intro to costumer designers and stylists they may not have relationships with. Also, we offer a discount to any PR firm that puts multiple clients on the site—they can either pocket this as a commission or give the savings back to their clients.
PR: What kind of jewelry designers do you look for? What does someone need to do to be considered for luprocks?
MO: We really want designers who “get it” and understand the value of the service they’re being offered. While some jewelry might not be our taste necessarily, there are so many different characters in various productions and so many different styles of the magazines that we are not discerning in terms of style of products. We are however discerning about the quality of the products and we don’t accept people that we know to be basically knock off artists. And as far as the product of the month, basically we have to like it and think that it’s cool in order to have it as our product of the month!
PR: How do you manage sending out samples and knowing where everything is?
MO: That’s the beauty of the site; the product requests go straight to the designers or their publicists so we don’t have to track it! Our FAQ section gives advice on what to request from a production or an editor (i.e. insurance certificates) and we love when designers let us know that something was pulled and/or used but they don’t always let us know.
PR: Have you considered expanding to include other accessories or fashion?
MO: We do include accessories designers. Since we’ve been married to the fine jewelry industry for so long, those are the contacts that we have the strongest relationships with and so fine jewelry is therefore the strongest category on the site, but we’re slowly building out the accessories categories.
PR: How do you promote luprocks to the media, to designers?
MO: As a company, Lüp has always been known for innovative promotional ideas; it’s how we branded ourselves to the fine jewelry industry. To that end, we’re currently in the process of launching a clever, aggressive promotional campaign to the media, just to make them aware of the site and show them how easy it is to use. We’re confident that once a newcomer uses the site, he/she will become addicted to the ease at which they can find exactly the right product for their editorial or production needs!