In early September, Mediagrif Interactive Technologies, an Internet commerce company in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, acquired PolyGroup Ltd., the jewelry industrys oldest Internet business network. Polygroup is the parent of the Polygon interactive jewelry talk, sales and information site in Golden CO. The total acquisition price is about $8.4 million in cash. This fiscal year, PolyGroup earned about $3.5 million and is profitable.
We are excited PolyGroup has become part of the Mediagrif team, says PolyGroup CEO and founder Jacques Voorhees. He and his staff are well-known figures in the jewelry industry, often appearing at trade shows and as sources for jewelers working with e-commerce issues. Many consider Voorhees the pioneer Internet guru for the jewelry industry.
The Polygon home page (top) and another page explain how users can benefit from Web-based communication.
Voorhees told Professional Jeweler the purchase will allow Polygon to deliver enhancements much more quickly.
Polygon had four Java developers. Mediagrif has 65, he says. Twenty of those are at work rewriting the Polygon software so it operates on their platforms. The New Polygon will be released in late January. And once its part of the Mediagrif platform, it will be vastly more content-rich, stable and easy to use.
Voorhees and Krista Olsen, Polygon marketing director, will retain their positions in the company, which will move its headquarters to Montreal during a four-month transition. The largely outsourced technical team and its accounting division in Colorado will be laid off.
Think of it as a car manufacturer who was building cars out of his garage suddenly being acquired by General Motors. Thats what has just happened to us, says Voorhees. He adds that his customers will benefit from the sale because of the enhanced site and by 24-hour customer service.
About 3,000 subscribers use Polygon to buy and sell diamonds, watches, colored gemstones and finished jewelry. Polygon also offers over $1.6 billion of diamond inventory from about 500 diamond wholesalers.
In operation since 1984, Polygon estimates trading activity to be millions of dollars per day. The wholesale diamond database is know as CertNet, with over 100,000 diamonds listed. Retailers can use the database at the counter with their customers as a selling tool.
In addition, Polygon has buy/sell channels where members post requests for items they need. Other members vie for their business by responding to the requests. Suppliers can use the sell channels to move specialty goods and overstocks. Because of the open-market formats, members say they can buy at submarket prices.
Polygon is also known for its discussion channels, where members can speak out on the topics of the day in the jewelry industry. They also exchange tips on business practices, promotions, personnel, digital photography, bench techniques, insurance and computer systems.
by Michael Thompson