Why you should care

RocksBox wants to do for jewelry what Netflix did for movies — one pretty little box at a time.  

On the face of it, RocksBox sounds like so many other e-commerce experiments today: Sign up, receive a package containing assorted items chosen for you by a total stranger, keep what you like, send back what you don’t and pay accordingly— free shipping both ways.

Whether by choice or via a gift subscription (hint), RocksBox is a shopping experience that plays to our deepest consumer desires.

But the seemingly simple RocksBox is actually subtly and joy-inducingly brilliant. RocksBox calls itself a Netflix for “high-fashion designer jewelry” and charges as little as $15 a month for three items that can be worn up to 60 days and then either sent back or purchased at a discount depending on subscribers’ whims. To be a RocksBox member, whether by choice or via a gift subscription (hint), is to encounter a shopping experience that plays to our deepest consumer desires. It is also arguably pretty darn practical and, perhaps most importantly, bauble-loads of fun for the accessory-loving subset of the American female population that feels fidgety and unfulfilled in the presence of a bare lobe, wrist or neck.

On loan are designer, trendy and emerging names such as CC Skye, Gorjana, Margaret Elizabeth and — most recently — Nicole Richie’s House of Harlow 1960. Pieces range from statement-makers such as double-finger rings topped with sparkling spikes and thick cuff bracelets secured with bold metal hardware, to demure drop earrings of semiprecious stones and chunky necklaces combining resin, wood and vintage glass beads.

“RocksBox’s mission is to eliminate what we call the ‘jewelry junk drawer,’ the accumulation of jewelry that women have where the pieces don’t hang right, are annoying to wear or don’t match their wardrobe,” RocksBox co-founder Maia Bittner tells OZY.

That’s the practical part. But the appeal goes far beyond pragmatic de-junking, owning less and embracing the sharing economy. In fact, it can get downright emotional. Who among us does not love unwrapping boxes filled with surprises?

With its pristine, flap-top white boxes filled with crisp navy tissue paper and secured with ribbed pink ribbons, a RocksBox bestows that buzzy, gift-opening experience anytime, no special occasion needed. But like most things, what’s inside counts even more than the presentation. Unlike other subscription services and box-delivering e-commerce plays, jewelry does not create the psychological land mines that arise with ill-fitting clothing nor does it usher in the annoyance of having a bunch of random beauty products lying around that you’ve now got to use or dispose of.

Sure, you can rent a dress or buy a secondhand top. But there’s no need to warily sniff the armpit of a necklace. Or even think about it.

Don’t like what’s inside? Send it back. Done. For those who wear items once or bypass them altogether, there are no feelings of wastefulness, fretful cost-per-wear analyses or other consumption-addled guilty consciences. There’s the additional fact that jewelry is durable and shareable among members in a way that apparel, personal care products and perishables are not. Sure, you can rent a dress or buy a secondhand top. And they might be amazing and wonderful and legitimately very gently worn. But there’s no need to warily sniff the armpit of a necklace. Or even think about it.

And there’s yet another factor near and dear to the style-hungry woman’s heart: a deal. Choose to buy any of the pieces, and you’ll pay 20 percent less than retail price, which typically hovers around $200 for a three-item box.

What you’ll receive depends, in large part, on the style quiz you take at the outset and feedback on orders. Members indicate preferences by selecting pictures of jewelry they like and indicating whether they prefer gold or silver-toned jewelry, what trends they’re excited by and which colors they wear.

It behooves the company to get it right — thus upping the odds that you’ll buy a piece or two from time to time. It’s a fate that’s hard to resist.

Because almost as much as we humans love opening presents, we hate saying good-bye.

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