To understand the history of John Christian, it’s helpful to understand the background of its founder, John Waugh.
In 1955 John Waugh and his brother Robert created a company called John Roberts, to fill the need for innovative and distinctive class rings as an alternative to what was available at that time. In 10 years the company captured 50% of the market share in the college class ring market, primarily through these two innovations:
· Casting – Product Innovation. Mr. Waugh was convinced at the time he started John Roberts class rings that there was a better, faster and less costly way to produce class rings than the complex multiple piece welded assembly ring exclusively offered by the industry. Mr. Waugh was an expert jewelry craftsman who paid close attention to the innovations in investing and casting that were being developed at that time for the production of jet engine parts. Through many hours of testing and re-testing, Mr. Waugh developed and perfected the tooling and techniques necessary to cast single piece solid class rings of far superior detail and construction than what the market made available at that time. The result was a much better looking class ring that was less costly to produce and had a much shorter manufacturing cycle. In his day, the establishment said there would never be a cast class ring. Today virtually 100% of the class rings produced by all manufacturers are cast instead of die struck. Each competitor finally succumbed to the superiority of casting and adopted Mr. Waugh's techniques.
· Campus Bookstore Distribution – New Distribution Channel. Just after WWII college campuses all over the country began establishing full fledged bookstores to sell not only books but all the other supplies needed by students. Mr. Waugh and his brother recognized the huge convenience and opportunity created by these stores and focused all their attention on developing class ring ordering and marketing programs best suited for these stores. John Roberts started from zero and grew to control 50% of the college ring market using this strategy.
The R. John's class ring company was founded by Mr. Waugh when he unexpectedly lost controlling ownership of John Roberts Class Rings which was acquired by Lenox
In 1998 Mr. Waugh formed John Christian, after selling the other business. He created it originally as a personalized wedding ring company utilizing similar techniques employed in the manufacture of class rings, since contractual obligations barred him from active participation in the class ring industry.
In 1999 Wes Weaver stepped in as CEO. Realizing the power of the Internet early on, Wes created the john-christian.com Website. A major part of the company’s marketing strategy has been to place ads in high-end magazines and newspapers. The company is well-known for its customized Roman numeral wedding rings.
In 2007 the company introduced a new metal -- Platanium™. It is John Christian’s proprietary jeweler's stainless steel alloy. Similar in color to White Gold or Platinum, it is extremely hard, much like Titanium. It is also hypoallergenic. This metal was created by John Christian to offer a superior option to sterling silver, and to offer an alternative to the sky-rocketing price of gold. The company has grown to $5 million in annual revenues.