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Ice's Online Store
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US jewellery giant launches in Australia

A young Australian jewellery entrepreneur has managed to convince one of the largest online jewellery retailers in the US to launch an Australian operation.
Nick Molnar, son of jewellers Ron and Michele Molnar, who own the Sydney CBD jewellery store St Michel International, has secured the Australian rights to US-based online jewellery retailer Ice.com.

Ice.com was an early entrant to online jewellery retailing, launching in 1999. The website is reported to have the most visitor ”traffic” in the US online jewellery category. It reported an average yearly growth of 30 per cent with more than 350,000 unique customers.

Nick Molnar, Managing Director of iceonline.com.au
Nick Molnar, Managing Director of iceonline.com.au
The 22 year-old Molnar first began selling jewellery on eBay from his bedroom while working for Mark Carnegie Venture Capital. He believed there was a gap in the market for a pure-play online jewellery retailer because the major bricks and mortar retailers were not successfully targeting that market.

Molnar said he soon became the largest seller on eBay in the jeweller category, prompting him to approach Ice.com about entering the Australian online market.

“I contacted the US [Ice.com] and spoke with them about the potential for online jewellery retail here in Australia,” Molnar said. “The growth of [general] online sales has been massive in Australia and jewellery is unique in that none of the big retailers are playing in that field successfully. 

“We are really excited by the opportunity and excited to be teaming up with a big company like Ice that will allow us to provide consumers with fair prices for fine jewellery pieces,” Molnar added.

While the US site is Ice.com, the local operation could not obtain the Australian URL (ice.com.au) because it was already taken by a local engineering company. Therefore, anyone in Australia trying to visit Ice.com is now automatically redirected to Iceonline.com.au.

A selection of rings available on iceonline.com.au
A selection of rings available on iceonline.com.au
Molnar explained that he, with the backing of Mark Carnegie Venture Capital, secured the Australian and New Zealand rights under licence because Ice.com did not ship outside of the US and Canada.

“Apart from the fact that Australian consumers could not buy from Ice.com because of their international distribution policies, we felt that there was a need to offer people product more specific to Australian styles. We handpick everything for the local market,” he said.

According to Molnar, it was also important that consumers were dealing with an Australian call centre and returns were mailed to an Australian address.  

Molnar said his primary target market was 35 to 45-year-old women, which he believes is the largest demographic utilising online jewellery sales, with an average price of $200. 

Having Carnegie and his parents give him advice was invaluable in launching the business, he said.

“My family has a long history in jewellery, I have grown up surrounded by jewellery and my parents’ contacts allowed me to get my foot in the door with a few suppliers. Having Mark’s business advice and my parents’ jewellery knowledge allowed me to notice this gap in the market.”

The website has been live for a week, with Molnar saying he was pleased with the initial traffic.

“We launched last Tuesday and we had more than 1,600 people to the website in the first day. Everyone has been really receptive. We are really excited about it. We are trying to be fair to the consumers and provide fine jewellery at an affordable price. 

“When people think of jewellery they think of aspirational purchases, we think it should be aspirational but affordable,” he said.

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Sunday, 08 December, 2019 03:13am
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