Mejuri lays off 15 percent of staff as it’s forced to close all retail stores due to pandemic

Mejuri

E-commerce fine jewelry startup Mejuri has laid off 15 percent of its team and has closed all of its retail stores due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mejuri confirmed the 15 percent reduction in staff to BetaKit, but declined to comment on exact numbers. Based on the startup’s headcount on LinkedIn, which notes the startup employs 244 workers, it would appear about 36 members of Mejuri’s workforce have been laid off.

Mejuri is also donating resources to health organizations in Toronto and New York.

A spokesperson for the company told BetaKit there was a mix of temporary layoffs, which mostly affected workers in retail stores, as well as permanent layoffs, although the spokesperson did not specify what teams were impacted by the permanent layoffs.
 

In guidance with government-mandated non-essential business closures, the Toronto-founded startup has closed all of its retail stores, which operate out of Toronto, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Boston. Mejuri is continuing to operate its online store with free shipping on all orders in the United States and Canada, and has remained active on social media.

In a post from late March shared on Instagram, the company said the stores were closed as a measure to protect the community and its team, and that it is monitoring the situation and reassessing weekly.

“It’s been a tough few weeks,” Mejuri said in the Instagram post. “We’re all feeling the impact of COVID-19 while understanding the importance of staying home. Our number one priority continues to be protecting our community and our team.”

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Launched in 2015 in Toronto by Noura Sakkijha and Majed Masad, Mejuri offers a fine jewelry brand for millennial women. The startup engages customers and influencers through social media, email, and SMS, and currently boasts more than 730,000 Instagram followers.

In April 2019, the startup had raised a $30 million CAD Series B, which brought its total funding to date to $38 million CAD. Mejuri opened its first brick and mortar in Toronto in 2018, and its first US location in New York later that same year.

Mejuri’s layoffs come as several Canadian tech startups have downsized due to the outbreak. Over the last couple of weeks, OpenCare, Lighthouse Labs, Rangle.io, Ecobee, Mogo, Borrowell, and Ritual have all made reductions to their headcounts.

“We’re all feeling the impact of COVID-19 while understanding the importance of staying home.”

According to a recent survey from The Canadian Council of Innovators, 82 percent of Canadian tech CEOs are planning layoffs in the coming weeks. That same report noted that 94 percent of CEOs surveyed reported that they would not be eligible for the federal government’s wage subsidy, before the government announced it would relax some of the guidelines that made many startups ineligible for the subsidy.

Mejuri did not respond to questions about how the emergency government programs might apply for the company.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses across Canada and the world, like Mejuri, have been deemed “non-essential” and were ordered by state and provincial governments to close last month. In many regions, distribution centres and warehouses are allowed to remain open. A recent report from Deloitte suggests the COVID-19-driven recession will hit the retail sector particularly hard due to these mandated business closures.

In an online statement, Mejuri said it is donating resources to Sinai Health Foundation in Toronto and NYC Health and Hospitals in New York to support healthcare workers on the frontlines of the pandemic.

“Over the past few years, one of the greatest things we have accomplished is building a strong community,” the startup said. “In times of uncertainty, we believe it is our duty to come together to help make an impact.”

Image source Mejuri.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Writer, globetrotter, drone pilot & David Attenborough enthusiast