Blue Nile (company)

Blue Nile Inc.
Type Private company
Industry Retail
Founded 1999
Founder Mark Vadon
Headquarters Seattle, Washington, USA
Number of locations
5 Stores
Key people
Sean Kell
Products Diamonds & Jewelry
Revenue Increase US$ 480 million (2015)[1]
Increase US$ 16.05 million (2015)[1]
Increase US$ 10.53 million (2015)[1]
Total assets Increase US$ 157.4 million (2015)[1]
Total equity Increase US$ 18.46 million (2015)[1]
Number of employees
450 (2018)[2]
Parent Bain Capital
Bow Street LLC

Blue Nile is an online jewelry retailer founded in 1999. It is based in Seattle, Washington. As of February 2017, it is a subsidiary of Bain Capital.


The company that became Blue Nile began in 1995 when Doug Williams of Williams & Son Inc. of Seattle started a website to sell diamonds online.[3] Mark C. Vadon, then a management consultant at Bain & Company, purchased a diamond engagement ring from the site in 1998.[3] In 1999, Vadon raised $6 million to purchase 85% of the company and improve the website.[3] The company's name was changed to Blue Nile in November 1999.[4] During the next year, the company raised an additional $44 million.[3] Investors included Bessemer Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.[4] Blue Nile raised $76 million in its IPO on May 18, 2004. Merrill Lynch & Co., Bear Stearns Cos. and Thomas Weisel Partners LLC managed the IPO, sharing fees of $5.4 million.[4] The initial public offering of shares in Blue Nile Inc, rose 39% in first-day trading, closing at $28.40.

Although the company had $44 million in revenue in 2000, it lost $30 million because it spent $40 million in television advertising.[3] Its investors contributed an additional $7 million in 2001.[3] In 2006, Blue Nile sold $197 million in engagement rings and wedding bands, compared to $186 million for Tiffany & Co.[5]

In November 2011, CEO Diane Irvine, who had been with the company for 12 years and its CEO since 2008, abruptly resigned.[6] Irvine was replaced on an interim basis by senior vice president and general manager of international Vijay Talwar.[7] In March 2012, Harvey Kanter, former CEO of MooseJaw, was named the new CEO.[8]

In 2015, Blue Nile reported net sales of US$473 million and net income of US$9.7 million.[1] Blue Nile promotes itself as a supplier of ethically sourced diamonds and endorses a zero-tolerance policy towards conflict diamonds.[9]

In the summer of 2015, Blue Nile opened their first showroom at Roosevelt Field Mall on Long Island, New York. The company has since opened showrooms at shopping malls in White Plains NY, Tysons Corner VA, Salem NH, Tigard OR, and Bellevue WA.[10]

Blue Nile was designated a Bizrate Circle of Excellence Award winner in 2016.[11]


Mark Vadon (1999-2008)

Vadon had been CEO of the company since its inception, but in 2008, he ascended to the post of executive chairman. In 2011, following the resignation of CEO Diane Irvine, he took on a more active role in the company.

Diane Irvine Era (2008-2011)

Irvine was promoted from President to CEO in 2008 and ran the company for 3 years. During her tenure as CEO she helped grow Blue Nile from sales of $14 million to over $300 million and to become the world's largest fine jeweler.[12]

Harvey Kanter Era (2012-2017)

Harvey was appointed as Blue Nile's CEO February 2012 and was at the helm of the company for 5 years before stepping down to give way to Jason Goldberg.[13] He came to the Seattle-based e-tailer from Moosejaw Mountaineering and Backcountry Travel Inc., a Detroit-based maker of outdoor gear and apparel.[13] Harvey is currently the Chairman of the Board at Blue Nile. While CEO Kanter led the once publicly traded diamond company to be purchased by Bain Capital Private Equity and Bow Street LLC for $500 million.[14]

Jason Goldberger Era (2017-2019)

In June 2017, former Chief Digital Officer of Target, Jason Goldberger, was appointed Blue Nile's CEO. Goldberger also spent time at Gilt Groupe, Hayneedle and Amazon.[15] Goldberg departed Blue Nile in 2019 [16] while the interim position was held by Eric Anderson from Bain Capital Private Equity.

Sean Kell Era (2019-Current)

Before joining Blue Nile in 2019,[17] Sean served as Chief Executive Officer of A Place for Mom,[18] where he was responsible for overall brand management and business expansion. Sean has led digital innovation and product management across leading online retail organizations including Expedia, and Starbucks.


Bain Capital Private Equity and Bow Street LLC acquired Blue Nile in February 2017, for $40.75 per share (approximately $500 million).[19] First announced in November 2016, shares of Blue Nile Inc. rose 34%.[20]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Blue Nile Inc. financials".
  2. ^ "Blue Nile Inc. SEC Filing 10-K".
  3. ^ a b c d e f Rivlin, Gary (January 7, 2007). "When Buying a Diamond Starts With a Mouse". The New York Times. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c "Blue Nile IPO Raises $76 million". Seattle Post Intelligencer. May 19, 2004. Retrieved January 4, 2012.
  5. ^ Barret, Victoria Murphy (October 25, 2007). "The Digital Diamond District". Forbes. Retrieved January 4, 2012.
  6. ^ "Blue Nile CEO resigns abruptly; 3Q profit falls". Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  7. ^ Brohan, Mark. "Blue Nile hangs out the "help wanted" sign for a CEO". Internet Retailer. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
  8. ^ Blue Nile names Harvey Kanter new CEO
  9. ^ "Protect your jewelry for all its worth". Retrieved May 17, 2016.
  10. ^ "Jewelry Showrooms". Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  11. ^ "Circle of Excellence Award Winners at BizRate". Bizrate Insights. September 26, 2016. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  12. ^ Retrieved February 11, 2020. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ a b "Blue Nile CEO Harvey Kanter Steps Down". National Jeweler. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  14. ^ "Blue Nile to Be Acquired by Investor Group for $500M". National Jeweler. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  15. ^ Rey, Jason Del (June 8, 2017). "Target's former e-commerce chief is now the new CEO of the online jeweler Blue Nile". Recode. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  16. ^ "Blue Nile CEO Jason Goldberger departs, third exec to leave online jeweler since acquisition in 2017". GeekWire. January 17, 2019. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  17. ^ "Blue Nile Names Sean Kell Its New CEO". JCK. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
  18. ^ Inc, Blue Nile. "Blue Nile Announces Sean Kell as Chief Executive Officer". Retrieved February 10, 2020.
  19. ^ "DEFM14A". Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  20. ^ Symington, Steve. "Why Blue Nile Inc. Stock Skyrocketed 34% Today". The Motley Fool. Retrieved March 21, 2017.

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