Manly Bands named UV50 No. 1 Startups to Watch


We don’t MEAN to point fingers — but manly bands IS A RING LEADER. The online ring store is revolutionizing and modernizing the wedding ring experience for men. From cool collections to incredible variety to extensive sizing to well-rounded customer service, the founders of Manly Bands — husband and wife duo John Ruggiero and Michelle Luchese — are determined to create an experience where everyone is both welcome and well-ringed. Manly Bands has over 7,000 5-star reviews and is doing eight figures in sales at just three years old. What’s more, they just launched a sister site — Rosie Ray — that caters to strong women and packs a pretty punch. Read on for the ring around (the Rosie).     

JOHN: It all started with my gigantic fingers. Size 17. Maybe 16.5 on a good day.

It was time to get married, and my wife Michelle was super excited about her engagement ring. I wanted to be excited about mine, too.

I went to a couple jewelry stores in California and discovered there weren’t many options. Women get the whole store, but they pointed me to a dark and damp little corner in the back where I could choose between three expensive rings I didn’t like. Then they couldn’t even size me because my fingers were too big! Super fun experience.

I ordered a ring online. It arrived in a plastic bag and fell out when I opened the package. Romantic, right? 

Months later, we relocated to Florida as newlyweds and lived with Michelle’s parents. We needed a job. I’m an online marketing guy and Michelle’s a creative genius. We set out to find a problem to solve.

I turned to Michelle and said, “Remember when I was trying to find a wedding ring? What if we create a company with cool rings for guys, great customer service, fast shipping, a variety of sizes, and better pricing? What if we create something a little more manly? What if we call it Manly Bands?”

MICHELLE: And so we did. We started the business in my parents’ garage. We began getting 2-3 orders a day. Then 10 orders a day. Then 20 orders a day. Then it exploded.

JOHN: It was a roller coaster, but the whole family was on board. Michelle’s mom wrote thank-you notes to our customers. My mom made ring boxes. We worked 15-hour days, and it wasn’t long before our company of 4 to 5 became a team of 31.

Early on, our CTO Scott pitched the idea of a road trip in an RV. Most of our employees at the time were remote, and we thought, “Why not?” So we ran Manly Bands out of our beat-up RV from February to June of 2019. Our sales were doubling, and we were always on the phone in tight quarters. 10 out of 10 do not recommend.

MICHELLE: On the bright side, we did end up in beautiful Utah, which has been better than we could have imagined. The talent here is fantastic, and the entrepreneurial community is so supportive.

Manly Bands is truly unique. We have so many cool collections, and we work hard to focus on inclusivity. We had a Pride collection we were really proud of, which included a transgender ring based on the transgender flag. We had a tech collection with computer board elements. We have an entrepreneurs collection, a sports collection, and even a collection with dinosaur bones.

JOHN: When COVID hit, we were agile. We took every precaution and sent employees home. Some even took inventory to their homes to create mini warehouses!

We’ve also been fortunate on the health of the company. Business has exploded. We keep doubling our revenue.

We just passed eight figures in sales — and climbing. We’ll expand our nationwide reach, launch more lines, and move into more retail and mom-and-pop shops. We’re in talks to get on the shelves of some large national retailers. We’ll go international.

MICHELLE: We’ll also expand our sister site, Rosie Ray. John and I always said if we ever had a daughter, we’d name her Rosie Ray Ruggiero. So in naming our women’s line, we found inspiration in our would-be daughter and women like Rosie the Riveter. We’re honoring women who are authentically themselves.

We always want to have fun. John always says we’re not curing cancer — but we can make people happy.

JOHN: I’m happy. Now I have 5 or 6 wedding rings.

MICHELLE: Try 20. 


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