A jewelry company owned by two former Army Rangers has seen its sales increase by 2,000% since Taylor Swift hugged her NFL boyfriend, Travis Kelce, wearing one of their diamond tennis bracelets.
Swift hugged Kelce in the moments after the Kansas City Chiefs won the AFC championship game last week, sending them to the Super Bowl. Pictures of the two smiling and hugging on the field have gone viral online, with the diamond friendship bracelet on Swift’s wrist just inches from their faces.
The bracelet was made by Wove, an online jewelry store founded and run by veteran Army Rangers, Andrew Wolgemuth and Brian Elliott.
Kelce, one former Ranger said, ordered it as a Christmas gift for the singer, through a connection with another pro athlete the company works with.
The company had been hoping Swift was going to wear it, Wolgemuth said, but had to wait for the now-famous hug for an “undisputable photo of the bracelet and we were just ecstatic.”
From Afghanistan to the Super Bowl
Seeing their bracelet on Taylor Swift’s wrist is a long way from Wove’s origins as a daydream between firefights in Afghanistan.
“The idea for Wove came when we were deployed to Afghanistan and had a couple of guys that were looking to get engaged. They wanted to essentially be able to purchase a ring while deployed and step off the plane back from deployment and drop to a knee,” Wolgemuth said.
“The problem became: how do you get an engagement ring to Afghanistan?”
Wolgemuth and Elliott met while one year apart at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where both eventually made the selective cut to join the 75th Ranger Regiment after graduation. Both left the Army as captains after six years as infantry officers. Wolgemuth deployed to Afghanistan twice and once to Eastern Europe, Brian to Afghanistan and Syria.
But before the Army, jewelry was Wolgemuth’s family business. Growing up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania — just 30 miles from Swift’s hometown of Reading — Wolgemuth’s parents owned a jewelry shop. The two men worked with his parents’ connections to launch Wove Made.
The company prides itself in employing a workforce of 50% veterans or those with veteran affiliations, like spouses, as goldsmiths and salespeople. The current CEO Simone Kendle was a military brat.
“A lot of brands that claim ‘made in the USA’ will do 90% of the manufacturing overseas and I’ll set one diamond in the band and say ‘made in America,’” he said. “That is not the case with our jewelry. It’s made 100% here in the United States, start to finish.”
Connected by a pro golfer
Swift’s bracelet began with a collaboration that the company has with pro golfer Michelle Wie West, who retired last year. West is friends with Kelce, Wolgemuth said.
The football star wanted to design a friendship bracelet for Swift — who he famously has been dating for much of the 2023 football season — so he met with one of Wove Made’s designers and came up with the idea for TNT, or Travis and Taylor. He ordered one for the singer and one for himself.
“He wanted it for Christmas,” Wolgemuth said. “We’re not 100% positive but we believe it was a Christmas gift for Taylor.”
Swift is perhaps the most famous singer of her generation, and her appearance at Kelce’s football games this year has leaked over into strange online conspiracies about why she is there. Virtually every part of her life is tracked incessantly by fans and detractors alike — a phenomenon that Wolgemuth said has hit Wove in the last week.
Since the bracelet was front and center for Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift’s post-game hug, sales have increased by 2,000% and web traffic by 4,000%, he said.
Wolgemuth said Wove’s goal is to make custom jewelry available to a wide audience, particularly military members. Customers — whether they are planning an engagement from a FOB in Afghanistan or someplace closer — meet with a company designer on a video call, where they develop a sketch or base a design on a model. The company 3D prints a model in wax and uses that to produce a replica ring in silver, yellow gold, or white gold.
With cubic zirconium in place of a diamond, the company ships the replica to the buyer — even if they are deployed.
“If there’s an APO address, we can send a replica,” he said.
The company charges $300 for the initial replica, which is applied toward the final ring.
Online companies producing “custom” jewelry have proliferated in recent years, but Wolgemuth believes Wove Made is one of just a few that concentrates on a military audience. The company also sells through AAFES.
“I don’t believe there’s another company out there that exists that’s more veteran or military friendly than Wove. I just don’t know how there could be frankly,” Wolgemuth said. “I think there’s a level of authenticity as well that really resonates with a lot of people.”
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