The Duchess of Sussex wore the earrings for a pivotal day of royal duty
Meghan Markle’s support made all the difference to an up-and-coming ethical jewelry brand.
On the latest episode of Dragon’s Den on BBC, Kimai co-founders Sidney Neuhaus and Jessica Warch revealed the key role the Duchess of Sussex played by wearing earrings they sent her a few years ago.
“We launched without any investment, and then two months after our investment, we got Meghan Markle to wear our pieces, which enabled us to grow the revenue significantly, and from there, we raised $1.2 million,” Warch explained of the brand’s history on the Shark Tank-style business pitch show.
“How did you get Meghan Markle to wear your jewelry?” investor Steven Bartlett asked.
“Cold emails. We're big believers in cold emails!” she said with a smile. “It’s the same way we got all of our investors, we didn’t know anyone in this space.”
The Belgian duo behind the fine jewelry brand that exclusively uses lab-grown diamonds and recycled gold ultimately made a deal to partner with Bartlett, who said he was impressed with their pluck in contacting the Duchess of Sussex.
“The moment you told me about hounding down Meghan Markle, you had me,” he said on Dragon’s Den, according to the Mirror.
In January 2019, while pregnant with Prince Archie, Meghan, 42, wore the 18-karat gold Felicity earrings (which retailed for about $800 each) for a visit to Smart Works’ London hub. The outing came on the day the female-focused career charity was announced as one of the four official patronages she’d champion in her royal role, and Meghan remains patron of Smart Works today.
“It’s so exciting for us, especially as we just launched in November,” Kimai co-founder Neuhaus told PEOPLE at the time of the fashion statement. “Her team contacted us, and we sent them to her a month or so ago. She really loved these earrings.”
“She shared all the freebies she received, clothes and perfumes and makeup, with the women in the office,” he wrote in his memoir, published in January 2023. The passage was about the warmth Meghan brought to their office soon after they tied the knot in 2018, despite the divisions that began to distance some members of the royal staff. In 2019, Prince Harry and Meghan officially split royal households from Prince William and Kate Middleton, breaking up their joint “court” at Kensington Palace by creating two separate offices.
The following year, Harry and Meghan stepped back from their royal roles and relocated to her home state of California with their son Prince Archie, now 4. Daughter Princess Lilibet, 2, was born in the U.S. in 2021.
While speaking to PEOPLE around the release of Spare last year, Prince Harry kept it open-ended when asked what he hoped his family's takeaway was from the book.
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"I don't want to tell anyone what to think of it and that includes my family. This book and its truths are in many ways a continuation of my own mental health journey. It's a raw account of my life — the good, the bad and everything in between,” Prince Harry told PEOPLE.
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