The Meghan Effect: Meghan Markle’s Influence Drives $1.2M Investment for Jewelry Brand

Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, continues to flex her influence in the fashion world, with her fashion choices often leading to a phenomenon known as the “Meghan Effect.” However, it’s not just high-end fashion brands that benefit from her patronage; small businesses like the London-based jewelry brand Kimai have also experienced a boost thanks to Markle’s support.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attends the 2022 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Gala at New York Hilton on December 06, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for 2022 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Gala)

Meghan Effect in Full Effect

In a recent episode of “Dragons’ Den,” the U.K.’s equivalent of “Shark Tank,” Kimai co-founders Sidney Neuhaus and Jessica Warch revealed that they managed to secure $1.2 million in investments after Markle wore a pair of their ethical lab-grown diamond earrings.

The journey for Kimai began when Neuhaus and Warch launched their business without any external investment. Their breakthrough came when Markle wore their 18k yellow gold Felicity crawler earrings during a visit to the Smart Works charity in 2019. The duchess’s choice to purchase the $845 earrings directly from Kimai, rather than accepting them as freebies, further solidified her support for the brand. The earrings feature three diamond eye charms dangling from a wave of pavé stones.

“I think for us as a young brand starting out it’s very hard to get out there, and her wearing our designs really attracted people’s attention from a design perspective but also from a lab-grown diamond perspective,” Warch told Page Six Style, adding “it was the first time royalty was seen wearing lab-grown diamonds.”

But it took some work to get Markle’s attention.

The co-founders’ strategy of reaching out to Markle was via cold emails.

“We’re big believers in cold emails and it’s the same way we got all of our investors. We didn’t know anyone in the space,” Warch told the team of “dragons.”

One of the show’s “dragons,” Diary Of A CEO podcast host Steven Bartlett was quite impressed with the duo’s tenacity and offered them a $316,000 investment. “The story you told me of you hounding down Meghan Markle was the moment you had my heart, because that’s what it takes,” Bartlett said. 

Markle later wore Kimai’s diamond hoops to the 2023 Invictus Games.

It’s not just in the jewelry space where the Meghan effect has been witnessed.

In 2023, the legal TV drama she starred in, “Suits,” was Netflix’s top streamed television show even though it ended on network TV in the fall of 2019. TV insiders credited the popularity of Markle for the series being a new hit.

When she wore Mackage’s Mai coat for an official engagement in March 2018, the Canadian label garnered an impressive 1.6 billion media impressions and attracted 2,000 new Instagram followers within just 24 hours. Similarly, Edinburgh-based Strathberry experienced a significant surge in attention and doubled their revenues in North America after Markle was seen carrying one of their bags during a public outing with Prince Harry in Nottingham in December 2017.

“The exposure and the attention we received after that was incredible,” Strathberry founder Guy Hundleby told The Guardian. He said he counted more than 2,000 articles internationally about the brand in the months after the outing. And it resulted in a boost in sales, he said.

Markle’s choice to wear Finlay & Co sunglasses at the 2017 Invictus Games significantly boosted the brand’s sales, accounting for 80 percent of their total sales, The Guardian reported. And the company’s web traffic from the U.S. has since doubled year on year, increasing from 20 percent to 40 percent.

During her visit to Australia in October 2018, Markle wore a red dress by Self Portrait, leaving the swing tag on, which garnered extensive media coverage. According to Han Chong, the founder of Self Portrait, this move generated 1.5 billion impressions in two days in the U.S. alone.

“When she stepped out in the dress with the tag on, it generated 1.5 billion impressions in two days in the U.S. alone.” Chong told the Guardian, “Of the whole tour, that piece [got the most attention] because of the tag. Everyone covered it – even places like CNN, which don’t usually cover [fashion] stuff [like this]. I think it’s good. People loved it because it felt real.”

Markle’s choices are sometimes a different type of often fashion statement. In 2018, she wore black jeans by Outland during her tour in Australia. It is a brand that supports women rescued from sex trafficking in Cambodia by training them as seamstresses. Outland saw an increase in global online sales, surpassing 2,000 percent, The Guardian reported.

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