Nicole Wegman of Ring Concierge: “Trust your vision and your gut above all else”

Encouraging women to dream big and pursue their career aspirations, even in an industry that seems unwelcoming to them. Women empowerment has made huge strides over the past few decades, but there’s more work to be done here. As part of my series about the leadership lessons of accomplished business leaders, I had the pleasure of […]

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Encouraging women to dream big and pursue their career aspirations, even in an industry that seems unwelcoming to them. Women empowerment has made huge strides over the past few decades, but there’s more work to be done here.

As part of my series about the leadership lessons of accomplished business leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nicole Wegman, CEO & Founder of Ring Concierge.

Nicole Wegman is the Founder & CEO of Ring Concierge, a New York City-based private jeweler catered toward millennials. As a leader in engagement ring and wedding band trends, with a celebrity following to match, Ring Concierge successfully utilizes social media and blurs the line between retailer and influencer to disrupt the historically close-knit, male-dominated diamond industry.

A seasoned luxury private jeweler, Wegman started Ring Concierge after personally going through the engagement ring shopping process and couldn’t find a brand or company that she connected with. Either too expensive or too impersonal, Wegman realized there was a huge void and a huge need in the industry for a company like Ring Concierge. In addition to custom bridal, Ring Concierge is a millennial inspired brand with fine jewelry designed for how women wear jewelry now — stacked and layered!

Prior to Ring Concierge, Wegman worked at Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s in product development and retail buying. She earned her B.S. from Cornell University in Fiber Science and Apparel Design and she is also an Accredited Jewelry Professional from GIA (Gemological Institute of America). Wegman resides in New York City with her husband.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

My then-boyfriend and I went looking at engagement rings in New York City’s diamond district. It was a terrible experience. You can’t walk down the street without getting berated by men trying to sell you things. We then went into Tiffany’s where everything was overpriced and stuffy. That experience made me realize there’s got to be a better way to buy jewelry. So, I created Ring Concierge to be that ideal shopping experience.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?

The fine jewelry industry is male-dominated and family-run. As a female without any connections in the industry, it took a long time for my peers to take me seriously. It took years for their perception to shift, but as the business grew and began taking notable market share, their respect developed naturally.

Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

I don’t believe there’s ever a problem that can’t be solved. Some solutions may not be as ideal as you would have hoped for, but there’s always a way forward. When you view every challenge and hardship with this mindset, you’ll remain optimistic and driven.

So, how are things going today? How did grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?

Ring Concierge’s growth feels unstoppable. Both my team and I work tirelessly to continue fueling this growth while simultaneously supporting it operationally. It’s hard work, but if you lead by example and show your team that you’re willing to put in the hours, they will as well.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

So, I had just started the business and was working out of my apartment. Things started slowly. I had helped a few friends buy their engagement rings. Then the word-of-mouth started and I landed my first real client — who happened to have a six-figure budget! For reference, the average ring in the US is 5,000 dollars. Needless to say, I was way out of my comfort zone. But I trusted my instincts and found him an amazing stone. I was terrified the entire time, but I don’t think he caught on.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Ring Concierge is redefining what it means to shop for jewelry. Traditionally, men would buy jewelry as gifts for the women in their lives. We believe women should feel empowered to buy it for themselves. The majority of our customers are women who want to invest in themselves by investing in luxurious Ring Concierge pieces.

Ring Concierge never raised any VC funding. We turned this disadvantage into a strength. We learned to be independent, financially responsible, and resourceful. In short, we had to be adaptable to survive these many years. This has been very hard at times, but it is also what makes us stand out. Take COVID-19 for example. While most jewelry companies were forced to close, we launched a Home Try-On program allowing for customers to try on three replica engagement rings of their choice as well as a tool to size their finger from the comfort of their home, reducing the risk of returns from purchasing the wrong design/size on purchases of this magnitude, and increasing conversion on ring inquiries. 80% of Home Try-On Kits have been purchased by a completely new RC customer.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

I worked hard during my first job as a fashion buyer. Much of my time was spent on politics which leads to burnout. I work even harder now. These days when I get home I feel like I just worked out: yes I’m tired, but I’m also happy and proud of what I’ve accomplished. I typically do work late into the night, but I make sure to go home, have dinner and try to relax for at least an hour or two before opening my computer again. I also always allow myself one weekend day to not work at all. If I don’t do this, I’m never as productive the following week.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

My husband is sitting next to me as I write this and he gave me a mean stare when I thought too long about this answer. I am very grateful for his help. To be fair, I did quit my day job without any idea of what I’d do next, and NYC isn’t a cheap place to be ‘rediscovering’ oneself. But he was always supportive and believed in my idea. I couldn’t have done this without him! (This was one of those blink-twice-if-you’re-under-duress answers.)

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Empowering women to succeed in business has always been a mission of mine. I make an effort to hire and elevate as many women as possible in the jewelry industry, which has traditionally been very much male-dominated. I’ve also mentored other aspiring entrepreneurs that want to break into fine jewelry, helping encourage this much-needed change.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Trust your vision and your gut above all else — you know what’s best for the company.
  2. Be solution-oriented always, never view a challenge as a negative.
  3. Your first employees are often not the best fit as you grow, and that’s okay. Attrition is common in early hires.
  4. Employees value strong leadership as much as they value autonomy. A healthy balance is key.
  5. As the founder or CEO, your team will place a lot of weight in everything you say. Choose your words thoughtfully.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Encouraging women to dream big and pursue their career aspirations, even in an industry that seems unwelcoming to them. Women empowerment has made huge strides over the past few decades, but there’s more work to be done here.

How can our readers follow you on social media?


This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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