Marcus Platrides was an economics lecturer studying for a master’s degree in London and trading precious metals on the side. Then his traditional career path took a decidedly otherworldly turn. Now, Marcus and his small team of craftsmen forge those precious metals by hand into edgy, rock ’n’ roll inspired jewelry under the brand name Etherial.
“Everyone used to ask me where I got my jewellery from and I realised instead of trading precious metals I should be buying them and making my own jewellery,” says Marcus, 34. “At first it was just an idea, but then I realised I had identified a gap in the marketplace for rock ‘n’ roll boutique jewellery. I began sourcing raw materials and machinery, and also took up a year’s course in jewellery making.”
Now a master silversmith, Marcus launched Etherial in Cyprus in 2006. The rock ‘n’ roll boutique offers jewelry and accessories that “embody the concept of spirituality, the balance of light and dark, and the edge between life and death.” Dragon claws shine bright with sapphires or rubies. Gold serpents wrap themselves around the sterling silver skull of Medusa. Amethysts, diamonds, skulls and crosses adorn artfully designed watches, rings, earrings, pendants and accessories.
“Almost straight away we began to attract widespread national and international media attention due to our socialite and celebrity clientele. We have footballers, musicians and movie stars from all over the world wearing our jewellery.”~ Marcus Platrides
A-listers like Katy Perry wear the brand. The roaring “Teenage Dream” songstress was photographed with a bold Etherial skull in glittering gold dangling from one ear. French footballer Djibril Cisse and Christina Papa of “The Real Housewives of Athens” also sport Etherial designs. Some celebrities have received Etherial jewellery as gifts for promotional purposes. Others discovered the brand at an outlet in the The Wynn hotel in Las Vegas. More have found it online at www.etherial.eu.
Leveraging the web
From a full-service website with an address ending in the distinctive .eu domain extension to a variety of social media platforms, Marcus has learned to leverage the Internet to tell the Etherial story and sell its products. At www.etherial.eu, stark, edge-of-life themed images set the tone for the brand narrative that frames Etherial’s merchandise.
The entrepreneur’s personality shines through on the website, where visitors can both browse and buy his unique jewelry and watch a DIY video on how to make a sterling silver pendant from a wisdom tooth. It even includes a demo on how to goof around playing guitar while waiting for the glue to set. Etherial also hosts a variety of videos on the company’s dedicated YouTube channel.
The intentionally irreverent site’s .eu domain name is registered with another edgy brand, GoDaddy. “They provide fantastic customer support, are reliable and dependable, and above all, you can rest assured they will get the job done,” says Marcus, a GoDaddy customer for 10 years.
Poised for growth
You might think the recent economic crisis in Europe would slow down business for Etherial. Instead, it was a positive turning point for the business. “Due to the fall in the cost of raw materials, rent and wages, we were able to use the crash to our advantage and managed to exceed all forecasts and expectations,” Marcus explains.
Even so, he remains down-to-earth.
“A typical day for me starts by going through all the orders we’ve received over night via email. Then I’ll go to our production facility and begin making items by hand. I spend most of my time at Etherial and frequently work through the night with friends popping in and out, bringing me food, watching me work, talking, laughing, and listening to music."
After all, there is much to celebrate. In 2012 Etherial became a distinguished member of the prestigious British Jewellers’ Association and the National Association of Goldsmiths -- an unprecedented achievement for a Cypriot jewelry company. What’s more, Etherial was awarded runner-up Member of the Year from the British Jewellers’ Association in 2012.
Award-winning Etherial employs three specialists on staff and six freelance personnel. Those numbers might soon increase.
“There is a lot of demand for our unique handmade jewellery,” Marcus says. “There is no reason why we can’t expand into new markets over the next year.”