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Ep. 11: Coby Dixon - When Value and Rareness are Not Enough

One of the things I focus on with the V-REEL® Framework is Rareness. That R in V-REEL is essential if one hopes to gain any level of competitive advantage in the marketplace. But even when you have a product or service that is both valuable and rare, you still have work to do. That's why it's the V-REEL Framework and not the V-R framework. I cannot imagine a better case to demonstrate the necessity of the EEL of V-REEL than Elysium Black Diamond, a company that may very well have the strongest distinctive competency I've come across in my many years of teaching and consulting.

Elysium Black Diamond not only creates a great deal of value with their black diamond jewelry, but they have built up an exclusivity around their manufacturing and protected their intellectual property such that they now truly are rare. Elysium Black Diamond co-founder Coby Dixon joined me on the podcast to talk about how they became both valuable and rare in the market and what they are working on to address eroding factors and ensure the company's longevity.

Investing to protect rareness

Elysium Black Diamond rings are pure diamond, formed from millions of diamond crystals compressed to form solid diamond with all the hardness and heat qualities expected of any diamond. Coby, having been exposed to this diamond technology during a university capstone project, could never get the idea of using the same technology that formed diamond medical devices to create men's jewelry. The manufacturing complexity required exceptionally specialized skills and very costly equipment which combine to create significant barriers to entry. Even so, Coby and his team understood the need to protect their own intellectual property and secure exclusive rights to use of IP in order to ensure Elysium's rareness didn't succumb to the erosion of competitive forces over time.

"There are incredible barriers to entry financially and technologically," Coby said. "But it's relationships that are critical to long-term rareness. It was a costly ten-month process to put together the relationships to make this all work but it protects our ability to create value."

Finding success in a well-established yet highly fragmented industry

With exclusivity well protected, Coby and team were in a position to begin selling their unique men's rings in the jewelry marketplace but, as Coby said, sometimes you don't know what you don't know. Coby explained that the jewelry marketplace is highly fragmented and comprised primarily of small independent operators with varying degrees of business savvy. Elysium offers a great value proposition with much higher margins than most men's ring options but there's a problem. The practice of providing demo ring sets to jewelers at no cost wasn't going to work for Elysium. Coby and team had to overcome that established practice and find a way to effectively communicate their strong value proposition; this would become a key enabler for Elysium Black Diamonds.

"Helzberg Diamond took us on and paid upfront and they have blown us away," Coby said. "They understood the value proposition and they looked at the sales analytics and they order based on that."

Elysium Black Diamond is now in jewelry stores all across the U.S. and the UK and working to expand their footprint. We discussed more opportunities to leverage strong branding to expand even further. Putting more enablers in place will only strengthen the company's position globally. Listen to the full podcast to learn more about the EEL in V-REEL and why it's necessary to think beyond the value proposition and protect your position in the market.