C3 Changes Name, Image

October 27, 1999

C3 Changes Name, Image

C3 Inc., the Morrisville, NC, distributor of synthetic moissanite, changed its name and marketing strategy earlier this month in the face of lower-than-expected demand.

The company will now do business as Charles & Colvard, a name that "reflects the heritage of the company as well as the long-term branding and marketing strategy to be executed in the fourth quarter and beyond," according to a release. Charles and Colvard are names in CEO Jeff Hunter's family and two of the three "Cs" in the name C3, Hunter told TheStreet.com. (The third "C" is Cree – as in Cree Research Inc., the lab owned by Hunter's brother, which exclusively supplies silicon carbide crystals to Charles & Colvard for the manufacturing of synthetic moissanite.)

Charles & Colvard hired advertising agency Kaplan Thaler Group to launch an image-based marketing campaign, including cable TV, magazine and cinema advertising, special events and point-of-purchase materials for retailers. Hunter says he expects the advertising campaign to spark interest for the holidays.

The company says it expects the number of retailers who carry synthetic moissanite and the number of carats shipped this year to fall behind original forecasts, mainly because of the unexpected summer slump in jewelry sales and the slow growth of interest overseas. Currently, 209 retailers carry synthetic moissanite (it expected 500 by the end of 1999), and Charles & Colvard has shipped about 40,000 carats so far this year (after projecting 60,000 carats in the second half of the year alone).

- by Stacey King