Try-at-home engagement ring shopping lets you avoid the store

- They say a diamond is forever, but the traditional way we buy them could be changing.

Brooklyn-based start-up Hayden Cudworth is trying to take the stress out of the engagement ring buying experience by letting customers do it from their own homes.

"We send five rings to you, where you have the opportunity to try on the rings in the comfort of your own home, see what you like, get feedback from your friends and family," founder Mendel Laine said.

Customers can sign up for a free kit and choose five rings on Hayden Cudworth's website. The kit includes cubic zirconium models of the rings and a ring sizer.

The client has five days to try out the rings before shipping them back with a prepaid label. If they find "the one," Hayden Cudworth will make a custom diamond version according to size and metal preferences and ship it to them, no in-store visit needed.

"Sometimes people come into the store and feel like 'Oh they're judging me and they're trying to upsell' and they're like 'OK I'm getting pushed out of my comfort zone,'" said Laine, who came up with the idea after seeing the success of other at-home try-on businesses like Warby Parker and Amazon Prime.

The idea behind the company isn't to do away with the brick-and-mortar business. In fact, Laine's family has a jewelry store as well. But he said Hayden Cudworth offers customers more options and, perhaps more importantly, more convenience.

"The ease nowadays is a necessity, there's no time for brick-and-mortar store shopping," said Hannah Sellig, a graduate student in Boston who does all of her shopping online. She said she found Hayden Cudworth in a Google search for "try at home" rings. She ended up selecting a classic 1-carat solitaire ring.

"I got it, showed it to whoever I want to show it to, wore it around the house a couple days and that was it," she said. "I sent it back and I knew what I wanted."

Hayden Cudworth's rings range in price from $1,000 to $6,500.

Laine said that since launching the business last year he has sent out hundreds of kits, a number he expects to grow as consumers get used to doing more of their shopping at home.

"People are being trained that things should happen at my speed, in the comfort of my home and we're happy to accommodate," he said.

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