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  • Writer's pictureNick Marsh

Discover Rings: a case study on marketing with a tight budget

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

Ten years ago James, founder of Discover Rings, was in a tricky situation. He was engaged but finances were tight enough to make buying a wedding ring a real challenge. As luck would have it, he had recently seen a video online on how to make a ring and decided this would be his solution.

The one that started it all

“I’d seen the video and set to work with this old silver coin and a spoon!”

The result was a silver ring made from a coin. The coin would have been 100 years old at the time of the wedding. This creative and romantic gesture set a ball in motion that has been gathering pace ever since.

After that first successful attempt and after showing off a homemade opal ring on facebook friends and acquaintances started requesting their own. Following that memorial rings (rings inlaid with the ashes of a loved one) also became popular. The increase in demand really started to kick in about 9 months ago meaning James’ efforts needed to start to resemble a conventional business for it to grow. After a lengthy interview with James, the following points were identified:

1. Priming the business to go live

Having a background in sales, particularly for niche goods where necessity isn’t much use in closing the sale, James already has transferable skills that can help him convert leads. Nonetheless, there are several challenges ahead.

Firstly there are bills to be paid meaning the need to work a regular job to finance the family and yet still try to develop the new venture to a point where it can take over. The next hurdle is how to attract customers. This is, of course, the purpose of marketing.

“I guess you could say I’m winging it, but I get a good response so that’s encouraging”

In this respect, James doesn’t claim to have a structured approach, and perhaps had not even classed his efforts as marketing. But here it becomes clear that it doesn’t matter what you call it: you can get good results. What you need is an effective and consistent method.

2. The importance of knowing where your leads come from

His sales are through direct contact with prospects approaching him as well as orders on his webshop account. Of the sales in this webshop, 15-20% can be traced back to Instagram posts.

Discover Rings’ clients are mainly women, but not by any great margin, with James setting the ratio at an estimated 60-40 split. Certain models are more popular with women than others, particularly the diamond rings, fossil rings and memorial rings. His metal and glow ring (rings that glow in the dark) are equally popular with both sexes.

The age bracket is typically anything from 20-50, across the board, with only the diamond rings attracting an older demographic with a likely higher income. Income is not something James can record but, looking purely at the geographic areas that his rings get delivered to and where they stand in the property market, the implication is that buyers have above average earnings.

3. Marketing is an approach not a sum of money

There are two clear advantages that James has when it comes to promoting his business and fostering a positive experience for his clients: his enthusiasm for his craft and a friendly, open and honest nature.

In the case of making the rings, James’ Instagram posts are frequent, with good responses from followers. Those posts are very effective at communicating the excitement and pleasure he gets from making his rings.

A handmade Discover Rings ring with inlay

“I want people to know how much I love working on these for them”

This is particularly true when working with exotic materials such as multi-billion-year-old meteorites, or ancient dinosaur or mammoth teeth. But most of his sales are word of mouth. There’s a certain pride in this for James as it helps confirm what he hopes: that dealing with him is a positive experience for his customers and that they are happy with their purchase. Indeed, statistically, a happy customer will tell 5 others about their experience.

4. Personal investment helps foster a clearer brand

Despite not being extrovert in nature, James is very communicative with his prospects so he can be sure of what they want beforehand and confirm they are satisfied after. This works out at about 2 or 3 contacts in the preparation and production phase as well as a follow-up message or call post delivery.

James does take his work very seriously and invests himself in his creations. While such projects as engagement rings and gifts are uplifting, others can take their toll emotionally. Memorial rings are never the result of a happy event and the stories that are shared with him give James a considerable sense of responsibility given what these rings mean to the buyer: lost partners, parents, even children. Not stories and emotions that James can or wants to shrug off given the importance they represent.

“You feel a great responsibility knowing you’re making something for a customer to remember someone by”

Although James’ marketing efforts are not structured, or even planned, his past sales experience and general attitude translate into a very powerful cocktail that covers the basics of marketing goals rather effectively. Through what he posts he manages to produce proof of value in the 3 fundamental, proven ways. This being something that any business should aim to do if they want to increase their appeal.

A limited edition fashioned from Mammoth tooth

Between how James presents his custom-made wears and the reactions of his buyers, to his willingness to engage on a personal level with all those that contact him, he has laid the foundations for a strong brand image of quality, customer satisfaction and bespoke service which is something many would love to have.

6. Building on solid foundations

Although James admits to lacking a structured approach, and knows he may need help to avoid a costly game of trial and error in the future, the basics are well under control:

  • He takes a personal interest in his prospects and clients

  • He takes the time and effort to explain what he will do so any buyer knows exactly what they are getting

  • He regularly engages with his target audience in a cost effective way by posting regular videos and photos of his rings as well as how he makes them

  • He is enthusiastic about the craft and this is visible in how he talks about it

  • He has a genuine, honest approach which people can trust in

Even these relatively modest actions have made a huge difference to the performance and potential of Discover Rings and will continue to as it grows. This serves as a worthwhile lesson that, no matter the size of the organisation and no matter the scale of the efforts, marketing is something not to be overlooked, dismissed or underestimated.

To see more of James’ work visit

To get a no-nonsense assessment of your own company’s marketing, be it to maximise strengths or address weaknesses, get in touch.



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