Ice.com Provides Bling with a Side of Honesty

By Sarah Yang

A beautiful ring from Ice.com

Got a love story that rivals the ones in the movies? Look no further than Ice.com to kiss and tell. You might even win a pendant for your efforts.

The online jewelry retailer, Ice.com, put together a contest on Facebook to find the perfect love story. People can submit their stories on the company’s page and the public will determine the winning story. The prize is a gold and diamond pendant.

Ice.com has utilized social media from the very beginning to find new ways to connect with customers. The company has its own blog, “Sparkle Like the Stars.”

“We’ve always tried to stay innovative. We’ve used social media extensively in the past five years when other companies have decided to jump into it recently. So when YouTube was starting to grow, we did this whole YouTube campaign for Valentine’s Day,” says Pinny Gniwisch, co-founder and Chief Motivational Office of Ice.com

Gniwisch, 38, and his brother started the company in 1999 with the backing of IdeaLab, a business incubator located in Pasadena, Calif. When the dotcom industry went bust, the brothers moved the company to Montreal, where it is still based today. Ice.com has prospered and projects a revenue of $54 million for 2009.

According to Gniwisch, the secret to the company’s success and what sets it apart from other online retailers is Ice.com’s commitment to giving the best customer service. Gniwisch, who is also an ordained Orthodox rabbi, uses the biblical saying, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” as motivation when it comes to treating his customers right.

“When you’re in business and you’re selling a product, you would want to treat your customer the way you would want to be treated if you were buying something from somebody else, and that for me is very important. When I know I am being mistreated as a customer I use that as lesson and I bring it back to my company saying, ‘This is not what we should do,’ “ says Gniwisch.

The married father of four children sees the tenets of honesty and transparency that he learned in rabbinical school as playing a large role in how he builds his business. These philosophies extend to making sure that Ice.com’s products are purchased from the right sources.

“In the jewelry industry there’s the whole question of blood diamonds. That has played a huge part in us coming clean. We’ve been extremely religious about this, that every diamond we buy is conflict free. We try to trace it back as far as possible to its source knowing we’re not financing any child soldiers or wars,” says Gniwisch.

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