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Start-up proposes a 'secret' box for your engagement ring

When it comes to engagement rings, some say size matters. But for one start-up, the size of the box the ring comes in matters, too.

The smaller, the better, according to entrepreneur Ron Zheng, who told CNBC that when he popped the question, "I ended up just ditching the box and putting the ring in my pocket."


Soon after, Zheng and his friend, Jon Balanevsky, co-founded Parker Square. And one of the company's first products, a flat ring box, offers an alternative to what the two describe as "bulky, ridiculous $5 boxes."

The founders told CNBC the box, which they call, "Secret", is about the size of a standard men's wallet. Inside the leather box, the ring sits on a rising platform that lifts the ring up into a standing position as the lid opens. Another more expensive version includes an LED light that shines on the diamond when the box is open.

The Parker Square boxes retail for $98 and $118 for the lighted versions. The company sells both boxes direct to consumers on its website.

New York Angels board member Alicia Syrett asked whether the team would be able to stop others from creating a similar product.

According to the founders, the box's design is patent pending, adding that they have also filed for a utility patent.

Still, "Secret," already faces competition from traditional boxes offered by high-end jewelry retailers like Bulgari and Tiffany & Co., famous for its "little blue box."

"I think the [ring] box has been really overlooked. Even at Tiffany's and Bulgari, they don't spend a lot on their boxes. We're finding that the consumers are voting with their wallet, and are spending $98 to $100 on these boxes," Zheng told CNBC.

Parker Square’s “Secret” engagement ring box.
CNBC
Parker Square’s “Secret” engagement ring box.

According to the founders, the average size of the market for engagement ring boxes in the U.S. is roughly $50 million. Since January, Parker Square has sold about 1,000 boxes directly to consumers, and the company says it has 1,500 boxes on order from jewelry stores. The start-up said it has shipped to such places as Singapore, Hong Kong and London, more than 40 countries in all.

Venture capitalist David Wu, thinking outside the box, said he was curious if Parker Square considered itself a jewelry company or an innovation lab for jewelry accessories.

The founders said that Parker Square is both. In addition to producing new products for the diamond industry like the "Secret" box, the start-up also sells bespoke engagement pieces and other jewelry by appointment.

Parker Square is headquartered in New York City and its boxes are manufactured in the city and overseas. The start-up was bootstrapped with $2,000 and also raised upwards of $14,000 via Kickstarter to fund its "Secret" box project.

The founders told CNBC Parker Square is already profitable and they have plans to grow its box sales to jewelry stores and potentially license the boxes.

— Additional reporting by CNBC's Kelly Lin

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