Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Matt Lauzon And His Success Story

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While at Babson College, Matt Lauzon saw something shiny and sparkly in the country's $60 billion jewelry industry. Most Americans had plenty of options for rings at jewelry and department stores, of course, but he thought people might like another: rings custom-made to designs they submitted to a Web site.

In May, after earning a degree in entrepreneurship and raising $5.8 million from Highland Capital Partners and Canaan Partners, Lauzon began offering jewelry buyers that alternative through something he calls a "virtual display case." The online showcase, which shoppers can access from partner retailers, contains over 1,200 designs of rings and other jewelry.

By changing the type of metal, stone or other features, each style has roughly 1.5 million permutations that customers can sort through at the store or from home after setting up an account at a retailer. Lauzon's startup, Paragon Lake in Lexington, Mass., has signed up 39 independent retailers, mostly in suburban strip malls, in 22 states. The pieces are made in the U.S. and arrive at the retailer in two to three weeks.

Revenue is split between the store, Paragon Lake, and its 44 jewelry designers. Lauzon, 24, says the average sale is $1,250, but rises to $3,000 to $4,000 for bridal jewelry. He estimates $500,000 in revenue by yearend.

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