Q&A with RingWraps | Innovators
The Conversations with Innovators blog discusses new innovations, big ideas, disruptive technologies, and the thought leaders, innovators, rebels, entrepreneurs, and trailblazers that make all of this possible.
This week we are talking with Emily Huskinson Heath and Ryne Heath, President and Founder, and Vice President, respectively, of RingWraps. The company designs pairs of matching diamond bands which are meant to ‘wrap’ around a class ring. Emily Huskinson Heath wanted her Aggie ring to have a distinctive flair when she earned it back in 2011. She approached a Dallas jeweler with her idea, and the rest is history. Ryne Heath (Emily’s husband) joined RingWraps in 2015, and works alongside Emily to help lead and grow their unique business.
What was the big idea behind RingWraps? Emily, please share more about your initial creative process.
In 2006 I was at my oldest brother’s Aggie ring day, and I thought to myself “one day when I get my Aggie ring, I am going to add a dainty row of diamonds on each side to accentuate the ring and give mine a unique flair.” I had no intentions of turning this into a business- I just wanted to add some sparkle to my personal ring, but fate had something else in mind.
Fast forward to 2011 when I received my beloved ring, I went straight to my jeweler Scott Polk ’84, who is a five-year Aggie football letterman, to have my creation made. I tried to conceal the idea from Scott by not telling him why I wanted two curved diamond bands, but I eventually caved and told him what it was for. I thought if he knew what I was doing, he would make the same thing for his daughters and nieces, all who are Aggies, and then I wouldn’t be the only person with this dazzling addition (Selfish! I know!) Scott promised me he wouldn’t make the “RingWraps” for anyone else unless he had my permission, but he urged me to think about turning the idea into a business for all Aggies to enjoy.
At the time, I was a junior at Texas A&M and owned/operated my own custom-made clothing company, where I would hand sew game day dresses & shirts, and adorn each with hundreds of Swarovski crystals. Needless to say, I was already extremely busy, but a certain gut feeling overtook and I knew RingWraps was my new path.
Within a few weeks I had CAD models created, which I then sent over to our lawyers to start the process of filing our three US patents. All of our patents were later approved!
We see you have Original RingWraps, Mini Cascading RingWraps, and Cascading RingWraps. Give us the details! Can you tell us a bit more about each product?
The Original RingWraps™ contain .60 carat total weight of round brilliant cut diamonds with G color and VS clarity. The Original, our simplest style, is perfect for those who want to add an elegantly modest touch to their ring. Many of our customers start with the Original RingWraps™, then upgrade later on to the Mini Cascading or the Cascading, or they keep both and switch out the RingWraps™ based on the occasion.
The Mini Cascading RingWraps™ contain 1.00ctw of round brilliant cut diamonds with G color and VS clarity. The Mini Cascading RingWraps™ were released after customers requested a style that was bigger than the Original and smaller than the Cascading, but still had the beautiful tapered effect of the Cascading. Our most popular style!
The Cascading RingWraps™ contain 1.28ctw of round brilliant cut diamonds with G color and VS clarity. Perfect for those who desire a more dramatic accentuation of their ring. Compared to the Mini Cascading, the Cascading style provides a heightened tapering effect due to the larger stones throughout the center portion. For the woman who has it all!
Ryne, can you tell us about your start with the company? What do you love most about the brand?
I should start by saying I never thought I would end up selling diamonds with my wife (or shall I say for my wife!). Regardless, I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and started several little businesses growing up. Right before RingWraps, I actually was running my own app company out in San Francisco, but like most guys who pack up and leave everything to move back across the country, I fell in love with a girl! What started out as Emily just needing help for a trunk show one weekend, turned into 3 days a week, then 5 days a week, and almost 3 years later now it’s the majority of what I do every day.
I have had the fortune of being a part of several different businesses as they get off the ground and what I love most is that no matter the industry, product, or service, at the end of the day, they are all trying to solve the same core issues; be innovative, build brand awareness, find your target market, etc. We are both good at different things; Emily is a rockstar visionary, marketer, and has a better innate sense of branding than anyone I know. For me, I like numbers! I like to help RingWraps make data-driven decisions and am constantly thinking about how today’s actions will affect the business and its market ten years from now.
Without a doubt, my favorite part of the brand is Emily. Unlike most people in business, she isn’t motivated by money. She is driven every day by the sheer determination to make a product and brand be the best it can be. Very few people can run at her pace or give the time and effort she constantly delivers. I have been saying this since the first day I saw her and RingWraps together: "With that idea, that work ethic, and the level of integrity she brings to the business world, she and RingWraps are unstoppable." I was in awe because of her abilities then, and am married to her because of them now.
Can you share more about your work in the community? We’ve read about your raising substantial contributions for scholarships and other non-profits.
Since RingWraps’ beginnings, we have donated over $500,000 to charities, community organizations, scholarships, and other philanthropic causes. We get approached almost daily with requests for product and monetary donations and 9/10 times we say yes to whatever the request might be. Whenever someone goes to a charity event and they see RingWraps has donated, it automatically creates a feeling of goodwill that that person will hopefully remember and associate with our company. We feel so blessed to be where we are, so the least we can do is give back.
We recently donated 100% of proceeds (and that included our profits) for a period of 5 days after Hurricane Harvey to SPCA of Texas, Samaritan’s Purse, and a few local churches. My parents, John and Susan Huskinson, agreed to match the amount donated by us. We ended up donating over $60,000 to Hurricane Harvey relief!
Does RingWraps have any new innovations on the horizon?
Absolutely! We are thrilled to announce we have partnered with Affirm.com to offer our customers financing. We also recently launched a new completely custom website, which has endless capabilities and will be able to grow with us.
As far as new products go, we are careful not to introduce too much or present too many options, because the three main styles we offer give our customers a fairly tough decision to choose between as is. Many of our customers are men ordering as a surprise for their wives or daughters - we don’t want to add to an already challenging choice! We can make (and have made) RingWraps in all sizes, colors, styles, etc., but overall, we like to keep it simple.
You know how fast food places often take things out of their menu as to not crowd/overwhelm it? I never fully understood that until recently (RIP Chik-fil-A spicy chicken biscuit). Sometimes it is better to keep things simple and be exceedingly excellent at what you do.
How would you describe an ideal work environment?
Where we work right now is great! It is ten feet away from where the RingWraps are manufactured, which is incredibly convenient for us and allows us to have quick turnaround times on custom jobs, repairs, tweaks, etc. We are able to oversee every detail of every piece that comes in and out. This is incredibly important to us and a vital aspect of our business. We are also near downtown, making it convenient for customers who live in DFW or are visiting. Our building is super secure, which is great for all of the late nights we put in at the office.
What is unique about RingWrap’s values and culture?
In a business world constantly making decisions based on maximizing profits, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find companies whose choices are driven by more than just the bottom line. While most of the retail and product-based industry moved manufacturing overseas, here at RingWraps, we go the extra mile and spend the extra dollar to ensure every proud customer’s RingWraps were handmade by an equally proud American.
What pieces of advice would you give to an entrepreneur starting their first business?
1. Don’t try to be the best at everything. Focus on your strengths and outsource your weaknesses. (But be diligent in your research when figuring out who to outsource to.)
2. Trust your gut. Never stop asking questions.
What’s your “one thing” that most drives your professional success?
We have an incredible opportunity at hand, and we want to make sure every measure possible is taken to ensure its continued success and growth.
What are you reading right now?
“More Than a Hobby” and “Giving It All Away…And Getting It Back Again” Both by the founder of Hobby Lobby, David Green.
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