Irish Jeweller Chupi secures €3.8 Investment to fund growth

Irish heirloom jewellery brand Chupi has raised €3.75 million in new equity and debt investment to fuel its ambitious growth plans for Ireland and the UK.

14 February 2023
5 min read

The deal will see investment funds BVP and Abbey International Finance take equity stakes in the business with Permanent TSB’s business banking division providing term debt to support the Chupi’s long-term growth strategy.

The brand, owned and founded by chief executive Chupi Sweetman, will continue to be majority controlled by Ms Sweetman, her husband Brian Durney and members of Chupi’s leadership team, said the company on Tuesday.

Digital offering

The group, which makes all of its products in Ireland with recycled, post-industrial gold, said the funds would be used to expand Chupi’s retail operation as well as its digital offering. This includes augmented and virtual reality systems used to assist customers with choice. IBI Corporate Finance led the fundraise in conjunction with Chupi’s financial advisers, BLG Financial Consultants, it said.

Asked why the company decided that the time was right to bring on investors, Ms Sweetman told The Irish Times: “I really felt I wanted to figure out what problem we were solving first. I think so often, entrepreneurs and founders get so caught up in what they do, they forget about the why. That’s the thing that’s always fascinated me is that we make jewellery. That’s our ‘what’. Our ‘why’ is those big moments in people’s lives. I felt that taking [on investment] too early in our journey would dilute our why or take us down a route that maybe wasn’t going to serve the people who love what we love.”

“I hope very much to be involved in Chupi in 10 years, possibly a different role,” she said. “Likewise, with the diamond business, we’re thinking not just about the next five years, but the next 50.”

Consequently, she said Chupi, which used 55,000 diamonds in its products last year, had removed Russian diamonds from its supply chain in response to the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

“Russia is the world’s biggest supplier of diamonds, and they’re certified by something called the Kimberley Process, which is the kind of gold standard for diamonds,” she said. They are still certified by the Kimberley Process, but we chose to remove them from our supply chain for ethical reasons. We felt we couldn’t morally stand behind it and so took them out.”

Luxury goods

Despite economic headwinds, Ms Sweetman said she expects the luxury goods market to continue to weather the storm this year.

“It’s a huge space so even if consumer spending cuts down, people will still save for those special things for those big moments,” she said. “We’re not a pay-day treat. You don’t buy a diamond ring on a kind of a whim at the end of the month. We are a planned moment — engagements, weddings, babies — so people are planning for those moments.”

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