Ofer Mizrahi founded his namesake company in Israel in 1995, following in his family’s footsteps of operating a diamond-cutting and trading firm. Also known as OM Diamonds, the company traded mostly with large wholesalers in the United States at the time; anything Mizrahi couldn’t manufacture himself, he bought on the market.
By 2007, the United States was tumbling into the Great Recession and luxury goods were taking a beating. Recognizing the tough economic times ahead, the growing appeal of diamond e-tailers, and the ensuing shrinking margins, Mizrahi changed his business model, selling direct to retailers through Polygon and RapNet, and landing on the coveted first few lines of the grid. He also set up a new company—OM Diamonds Group—which is headquartered in Chicago, and sent Peres to the United States to oversee the operation, along with Ben Redansky, the company’s CEO, and Avinoam Kimchi, its senior vice-president of sales. Mizrahi’s one-time wholesale clients were now his competitors, which is exactly what he wanted.
OM Diamonds was able to thrive during the recession, fuelled by smaller margins, high volume, and aggressive pricing, Peres says. It also bought only what it needed and focused for the most part on bread-and-butter goods. The plan seems to have worked. In 2007, OM had 600 retailers. Today, it has more than 4000 worldwide with a heavy focus on independents. That count also includes Canadian retailers. Before opening the Vancouver office in 2013, the company sold mostly to wholesalers in British Columbia and Toronto. It wasn’t long, though, before OM started getting calls from retailers. Mizrahi decided to sell direct to stores and set up shop on the West Coast.