- Manly Bands was founded in 2016 to provide better options and customer service in men's wedding bands.
- Unique materials include antler, dinosaur bones, meteorite, tungsten, and whiskey barrels.
- The company donates a portion of profits to charity every month.
Johnathan Ruggiero needed a wedding band. As a bigger guy he had trouble finding one to fit his size 17 finger. Then he ran into another issue: His wedding was in a few weeks. He never realized you should take care of this a few months out. The cheapest ring he could find was $600. Even then, given his finger size, it would take four weeks. He also wasn’t excited about the choices. His wife to be, Michelle, had a much better experience.
As Ruggiero puts it, “I did not expect it to be so difficult and so stressful.”
Fast forward a few months. The newlyweds, temporarily relocated to Florida from Los Angeles, were figuring out the next phase of their careers. Johnathan had experience in web design and marketing, while Michelle’s creative endeavors include writing and design. “This is our first real test as a married couple,” Johnathan thought. “What are we going to do with the rest of our life and how are we going to financially survive this?”
Then they remembered the ring buying experience. Poor selection. Terrible customer service. Inflated prices. They knew they could do better.
Manly Bands was born.
The Ruggerios set out to improve on all of Johnathan’s bad experiences in the jewelry store. Michelle set to work designing rings and writing website copy; Johnathan spun up a website and applied his marketing chops. The goal was to create rings men are excited about without breaking their bank account. Nearly four years later and they’ve built a successful brand.
With a career in acting and music, Michelle was accustomed to branding. While the couple decided to take a “silly and fun” approach to their rings, materials in the bands were equally important. This is where Michelle got to implement her creativity.
The first material on their website to jump out at you is dinosaur bone—yes, as in those dinosaurs.
“One of our manufacturers started working with dinosaur bones,” Michelle says. “They take smaller pieces of bone that museums can’t use and grind them down to make a mosaic. They can put it in an inlay in three different colors.”
Depending on where the dinosaur died, the resulting bone might be tan, reddish-brown, or jet black. Manly’s ring, the Triceratops, features all three.
After canvasing deep inside of the earth, they looked toward the heavens. Enter meteorite.
“They shave that in sheets and are able to put it in as an inlay. It’s pure iron, which means it’s heavy and feels significant. Also, every piece is different, so you’re never going to get the same exact design. You truly have a unique band.”
This causes Johnathan to jump in with his “dad joke.”
“The best part is when you mix meteorite and dinosaurs, you have a cursed ring because there’s a little animosity between the two.”
Whether antler, Cerakote, or tungsten, or more traditional fare like gold or Damascus steel, Manly Bands has greatly expanded the selection of men’s rings. There’s even a Whiskey Barrel collection.
By ordering in volume the prices stay low. Not having a storefront helps. In the tradition of Framebridge and Interior Define, Manly Bands is an internet-only enterprise, which is why customer service is their number-one concern.
“We’re really just our shipping and warehouse operation, our designers, some manufacturers, and the marketing and customer service team,” Johnathan says. “It’s a different corporate set up in the sense that we can take those savings and pass it along to the customers.”
In Manly Bands, Johnathan also found a calling. Growing up he always wanted to save the world. Though he realized that ambition is a bit grandiose, every month Manly Bands donates part of its proceeds to charitable causes. Just last week, they dropped off 10,000 face masks to first responders and hospital staff in Utah, the state the company now calls home.
“Every month we try to do something different to spread the goodness around,” Johnathan says. “In the last few months, we’ve tried to focus on organizations and groups helping with the COVID pandemic. We take it very seriously. We feel that if we’re fortunate enough to live in a country where we can earn money because our culture allows us to have an amazing business, we should give back.”