Rapaport Magazine

A Matter of Trust

TrueFacet aims to change the way online jewelry sales work.

By Lara Ewen
Cartier 18-karat yellow gold diamond pavé drop earrings.
Photo courtesy TrueFacet.
While innovations to ecommerce have been coming fast and furious over the past few years, most new ideas have presented themselves as reimagined visuals or more technologically sophisticated back-end systems. However, jewelry ecommerce platform TrueFacet (truefacet.com) has developed an entirely new way to do business. Billing itself as the “authentic designer jewelry marketplace,” the site has become a success story of next-generation jewelry retailing.

How It Works
   Launched in May 2014, and upgraded to its current design in October 2014, TrueFacet is, at its core, a peer-to-peer shopping site whose format initially appears similar to sites such as eBay and Etsy. But unlike those sites, TrueFacet is designed specifically to help people sell luxury jewelry and watches.
   To that end, Tirath Kamdar, the company’s chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder, has incorporated several features designed to ensure a safe transactional process for both buyers and sellers. “They have a team of jewelry experts who authenticate the pieces, so I trust them,” says Anne-Marie Finn, a customer who has been buying and selling on the site since fall 2014. “I make maybe 95 percent of my purchases online, just for the convenience, so when I find a site I trust, I will support it more than even my local jeweler.”
   That level of consumer confidence is at the core of the site’s success. With transparent pricing, guaranteed on-time payments, a seven-day unconditional return policy and on-site certified gemologists and independent watch experts to vouch for each transaction, TrueFacet is working hard to build a level of trust in the online jewelry resale marketplace.
   “When you take a piece of jewelry to sell on 47th Street, you might get 15 percent to 20 percent of its value,” says Kamdar, who has eight years of jewelry industry experience and spent over five years at ecommerce companies such as Groupon and Fab.com. “Of course, when you go to your local jewelers, you can trust them. But where do you go when you want to buy or sell online? Our team gives you a fair price that you can see with our pricing calculator.”
   Focused on finished jewelry, signed and designer pieces, TrueFacet hopes to provide a luxury service experience along with its easy-to-navigate pricing policy. The site has a team of experts who assess the value of each item and come up with a fair market price, based on its current retail value. Once the price has been set by the TrueFacet team, there are two options for the seller: consignment or direct selling. For consigners, TrueFacet sends a prepaid shipping label, photographs the piece when it arrives, puts it on the site and takes a 20 percent to 25 percent cut of the selling price. Approximately 40 percent of customers choose this option. The second option is direct sales, for which TrueFacet takes a smaller percentage of the final sale. Sellers listing their own item are still required to send the item to TrueFacet for certification after it is sold and before it is sent to the customer. “Nothing ever gets to the shopper until after it comes to us first,” says Kamdar. “We vet everything. And if the item is not what the buyer expected, we will see if that customer still wants it or we will cancel the sale. Sometimes we get counterfeit product, but we catch all that. That’s the service we provide. Plus,” he adds, “We clean and polish everything up before we send it out.”
   In addition, potential sellers are encouraged to prelist their items in the site’s online “Jewel Box.” “Let’s say you have 20 pieces of jewelry lying around,” say Kamdar. “You can upload those to the site and get real-time updates on current pricing and get notified when prices change, so you’ll know when the best time to sell is. It’s like a personal jewelry management tool.”

Retail Partners
   TrueFacet’s service-oriented platform has received positive attention from media outlets such as Bloomberg and Crain’s. More importantly, it has drawn impressive traffic numbers. “I currently have over 110,000 hits a month and that’s growing by 30 percent a month,” says Kamdar. That makes the site a valuable tool for independent retailers.
   “I use TrueFacet to increase my sales,” says Yehuda Zilonka, owner of My Collection Inc., an independent jewelry store in Boca Raton, Florida. “The site gives me a bigger audience than I’d have on my own. I have a domain name, but it goes to my eBay store and advertising my website is expensive and takes time. So what I like is the exposure of using TrueFacet.”
   TrueFacet is U.S.-based, but Kamdar, whose parents’ business, Gemeralds, is part of a diamond sightholder organization in India, hopes to one day expand internationally. By combining old-world values with contemporary tech savvy, Kamdar’s plan is to help bring the jewelry industry into the future. “The jewelry industry as a whole is still very traditional and a lot of businesses don’t understand the internet. It’s shocking to see so many brick-and-mortar stores close,” he concludes. “But we want to find a way for the industry to find the right tools to stay afloat.”

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - June 2015. To subscribe click here.

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Tags: Lara Ewen