Scaling Personalization: How This Italian Boutique Jeweler Blends The Digital & Real

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Key Takeaways

➜ Parametric design has helped Nove25 take its customizations global while drastically decreasing manufacturing times by up to 95%.

➜ When customers struggle to imagine the end result of a product, one solution is to give them the tools to experiment with their own customization.

➜ Even timeless companies, rooted in historical traditions, can benefit from leveling up their manufacturing processes by reducing errors and increasing production capabilities.

➜ Customization is possible for even the most unique products.

Since 2018, the ShapeDiver team has had the opportunity to work with the 3D modeling team at Nove25. This jewelry boutique, based in Milan, Italy, has evolved from a small local shop into an internationally-known retailer. Nove25 operates 17 brick & mortar stores, as well as an online store with international customers.

Nove25 began as a small shop in Milan, in 2005, with customizable street jewelry. The company’s founder and CEO, Roberto Dibenedetto, felt a fierce desire to create something innovative and unlock his creative side. His fuel stemmed from a lifelong passion for design, jewelry, accessories, and fashion that began in his early childhood. From day one, the vision was big: give consumers more freedom and choice with their selections.

Behind the scenes of every item sold is a hidden story: Nove25 is all about bringing out the creativity of its customers while keeping Italian craftsmanship close to the heart of the production process. Jewelry-making is a timeless human experience. A high-quality piece of jewelry has the potential to last for thousands of years. Many of Nove25’s customers are creating a new generation of heirlooms. Despite this historical emphasis, Nove25 is future-focused in testing and promoting new manufacturing processes.

In addition to creating a superior product and customer experience, Nove25 is on a mission to help buyers shop more sustainably. Product customization is critical to the movement to protect the environment. Nove25 wants buyers to rethink their reliance on “fast fashion” — to see jewelry as something more meaningful.

Behind the scenes, ShapeDiver has provided one of the key technologies to empower Nove25’s growing visibility and brand. We recently sat down with Lodovico Bruno, Senior Product Designer at Nove25, to share his insider stories. We hope that this interview is valuable for anyone exploring the power of parametric design, online configurators, and mass customization.

Interview with Lodovico Bruno

- Can you share some background about Nove25?

Lodovico Bruno:

Nove25 was founded in Milan in 2005 by Roberto Dibenedetto, who grew up in one of the most creative areas of Italy. There, he developed a strong passion for jewelry, design, accessories and fashion.

Dibenedetto’s story is based on a mix of hard work and intuition, fueled by a strong need to create something innovative and unlock his creative side. It all started with a small shop, where customers were immediately attracted by his modern and unconventional jewelry proposal.

The key to Nove25’s immediate success has been the ability to become the first brand offering clients very high levels of customization.

The boutique grew, new stores opened, and the brand became more and more popular. Along the way, the company remained aligned with its mission to give voice to customers' creativity allowing them to express themselves through a piece of jewelry.

The jewelry world was missing something revolutionary, more personal and innovative, something that was a symbol of the Made in Italy craftsmanship and tradition. Nove25 has become the ambassador of these values, and the brand’s jewel is a medium of communication everyone can use filtered by Dibenedetto’s stylistic identity.

Today, Nove25 extends beyond the concept of jewelry and evolved into a Creative Lab, able to translate ideas and personality into wearable works of art. Nove25 has now become a real language that is more than fashion, allowing customers to turn their creativity into reality.

Today Nove25 is the result of the hard work of designers, 3D artists, creatives and silversmiths, inspired by tattooers, street artists, musicians and customers themselves.

- What brought you to Nove25? Why do you like working there?

Lodovico Bruno:

I first started at to Nove25 back in 2015, when the company’s 3D department was experiencing a time of growth. I’ve since fallen in love with the technology behind our jewels — such as 3D modeling and 3D printing. It’s a world that’s evolving really fast.

There are strong movements to build stronger relationships with the digital world and the manufacturing side of the production. This space is fascinating for me. Our company cares about creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for every customer, no matter their own story.

Our customers love our company. We embody the legacy of Italian quality. All of our products are unique with every element being customizable — including the finish and detail.

- What technical backend is needed to make this vision real?

Lodovico Bruno:

There are many unique elements bringing our vision to life.

Once the creative process is finalized, the rendering is sent to the production department, where designers complete the drawings. The production line could be different for each custom product, depending on the manufacturing processes the order needs.

Technologies include 3D printing, laser cutting and laser engraving. In this first part the technology is the main player in the manufacturing process. Then the raw products are given to our goldsmiths. They fix, clean and finish all the products with the traditional techniques of craftsmanship.

The mixed knowledge of our design team is the foundation of the experience that we can create. We have a 3D department with expertise in all aspects of modeling from organic mesh sculpting to the scripting for parametric designs. The complexity of our collections and configurations is the mix of all of this knowledge.

Our goldsmiths and technicians have become the main players when a cart is closed. We need to empower them with information to do their best work — to bring the imagination of the customer to life.

To help, we have also some post- exporting operations that we automatize with the ShapeDiver outputs, as python scripts or Grasshopper definitions, that help the workflows and increase the productivity.

The development, setup, and execution of the 3D models is a continuous work in progress. We are always looking for ways to improve efficiencies on the production side. Everything here at Nove25 is evolving into something faster, better, or new.

- How has your business changed because of ShapeDiver?

Lodovico Bruno:

Parametric modeling, using ShapeDiver, was an undiscovered world for us. ShapeDiver is able to show customers what they can’t visualize or imagine on their own. They can use the configurator, in the store and online, to create custom orders. With ShapeDiver, we’ve opened a “digital shop window” in all of the boutiques and with our ecommerce experience. That means we can show more products.

Previously, customers would fill out a handwritten form after looking at some samples in the store. We were already making 3D models from the beginning, that we were able to create quickly. But it was nothing like parametric modeling. We have been able to decrease production time by 50% — up to 97% in some cases.

We use ShapeDiver to set up a system and fill it with the contents that we need. We can now manage almost 200 different products in 15 families. We’re able to analyze customers’ choices to keep building upon an experience that people value.

We’ve seen a boost in the sale of some features — for instance, our gold coating — that wasn't getting a lot of attention before.

We’ve also taken a data-driven approach to improving our offerings. We’re tracking all of the choices of our customers to understand what they like, what we need to push more, and what we should remove from our configurator.

- What is the big picture vision that Nove25 is working towards?

Lodovico Bruno:

Our success has always been about listening to what people are looking for — to help them express themselves through a piece of jewelry.

A high-quality piece of jewelry can last thousands of years. As a company, we wanted to use technology in a way that would enhance the human experience rather than take away from it.

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