What strikes me about Jeweled Rose 2 Fine Jewelry Shop on Etsy, is the attention to details from the jewelry, to the shop policies. Everything is well thought out in a professional way with the focus on the customer.
We got to talk to the owner, Lori, about her shop, vintage jewelry and her journey to an online business owner.
Margie: Hi, Lori. Let’s start with what or who first got you interested in vintage jewelry?
Lori: When I was a teenager, I was involved in theater, the Renaissance Faire and a Victorian Christmas Fair. I made my own costumes and even went to fashion design school thinking I wanted to be a costume designer. These experiences made me interested in different time periods. After having a professional business career, I was drawn again to past times and jewelry became my focus.
Margie: So, how and why did you get started collecting Vintage Jewelry?
Lori: Oh my, I started collecting vintage jewelry almost 20 years ago. I’d just taken a new job that provided some extra income so was able to start investing that in antique and vintage pieces.
Margie: Lori, what type of jewelry did you buy? Is there a historic period or style that inspire you?
Lori: I prefer fine jewelry because it has a greater chance of maintaining its value over time and the value isn’t as dependent on the maker of the piece. My favorite periods are Edwardian, Art Nouveau and Art Deco. I love how Edwardian jewelry is delicate and lacy and frequently uses both yellow and white metals together. I appreciate the beautiful lines of Art Nouveau jewelry and its use of yellow gold. Art Deco is very appealing because it works very well with modern clothing and frankly, as I grow wiser and grayer, the white metals compliment my coloring!
Margie: I am glad the wisdom comes with the gray hair! So, what pathways led you to open Jeweled Rose 2 on Etsy?
Lori: I originally had a shop on Ruby Lane but transitioned to Etsy. I thought Esty’s pricing structure was more in alignment with my business.
Margie: Loli, Is there a story behind your shop’s name, Jeweled Rose 2?
Lori: It’s a practical story rather than an interesting one! I previously lived in California and you didn’t have to have a ‘doing business as’ designation if your business name included part of your name. I wanted a name that reflected my focus on jewelry and wasn’t already being used online, so I decided on Jeweled Rose. My (now closed) shop on Ruby Lane was named Jeweled Rose but when I opened my Etsy shop that name wasn’t available, so I named it Jeweled Rose 2. I have an eBay presence as well for more modern and artisan jewelry, as well as other non-jewelry items, and that shop is called Jeweled Rose 3.
Margie: What is your favorite piece of jewelry in Jeweled Rose 2 and why?
Lori: The three stone trilogy engagement ring is my current favorite. This was a ‘trade up’ engagement ring for me as I started with a ‘sweet’ tiny diamond. Antique jewelry lovers seem to have no fear about upgrading and evolving their jewels over the years as their tastes change. This ring has an incredible old European cut diamond; I call it the Charlie Brown diamond because if you just look at its specs, you’d maybe not give it a second look, but what a show stopper in person. That diamond is a beautiful disco ball that faces up white and beautiful. I enjoy this aspect of antique jewelry…each piece is unique and special in its own way.
Margie: And the uniqueness is what also adds to its value. When you look for an item for Jeweled Rose 2, what are you looking for and where do you look?
Lori: I look for quality items at a reasonable price so that I can pass my savings along to my customers. I often purchase from sellers on eBay, Etsy, Ruby Lane, and Instagram.
Margie: You have a lot of beautiful fine vintage jewelry in Jeweled Rose 2. Is there one area you specialize in? And can you tell me why to pick that area? And do you have any advice for our readers about collecting that specialty?
I don’t specialize in any area. I look for pieces that appeal to me and that are priced in a way that I can offer good value to my customer. As for collecting pieces, I think you should also buy what appeals to you at the price you are comfortable with and then upgrade your pieces later as your tastes and/or pocketbook change.
Margie: Lori, have you ever found any surprises after you bought something for Jeweled Rose 2?
Lori: My most unfortunate surprise was a diamond brooch that I purchased where the dealer vastly overstated the size of the diamond. I had purchased it to take the diamond out and re-purpose it and that is when I discovered the error. Unfortunately, I had altered the item. You learn from these mistakes. I ask a lot more questions now when working with a dealer I don’t know.
Margie: We all have had those kinds of surprises. What other things would you like us to know about you and/or Jeweled Rose 2?
Lori: That I have been in business online for over ten years and I have had many repeat customers. It is important to me to offer my jewels at reasonable prices and to treat my customers with courtesy. I offer a return policy because I want you to love your new jewels! I try to offer things in all price ranges. For my most expensive pieces, I obtain appraisals from an antique jewelry appraiser to give my buyers confidence in their purchase.
Margie: I think this is a good idea. What led to your decision to get appraisals and how do you think this helps Jeweled Rose 2?
Lori: While I do a lot of research and utilize basic identification tools (such as a presidium gem tester), I am not a gemologist. I’ve had experiences over the years when I’ve been told something about a piece that turned out not to be true. I’m sure that some of these were honest mistakes, and for less expensive pieces, it has been part of the learning process. However, when I sell any of my high-end pieces, I want the buyer to know exactly what they are getting. This protects both of us from disappointment!
Margie: You have such strong business practices and wisdom. Which came first: your love for vintage items or the dream of having your own business?
Lori: I started collecting jewelry first. As I learned more about what I was buying, I kept upgrading my pieces until my personal jewelry box was overflowing (or as my co-worker once teased, my ‘jewelry closet’). It seemed a natural step to start selling some pieces to finance other acquisitions.
Margie: Makes sense. A lot of our Vintage Jewelry Team Member get their start first as collectors. What do you like about having Jeweled Rose 2 on Etsy?
Lori: I like that it has wonderful teams that share interests! It is really helpful to be able to reach out and ask questions from others. I also like that Etsy passes along their shipping discounts and provides reasonably priced shipping insurance.
Margie: So much of selling vintage jewelry rests on research and sharing knowledge of a piece. Lori, from looking at your shop, you do your research. What have you found is your best source for information?
Lori: Books, books, books. Also the internet and making connections with others that love antique jewelry. Most dealers are passionate about what they do and love to share information. Lang Antiques in San Francisco has the most amazing jewelry and they also have wonderful online resources.
Margie: How do you market Jeweled Rose 2?
Lori: I have to confess that I am not a very good marketer. I’ve recently begun using Instagram. I’m envious of those of you who have mastered this tool! I like that platform because it allows you to use video and often times that is the best way for a customer to see a piece.
Margie: That’s interesting. I never thought of doing that. We were happy to share one of your videos here.
Margie: Do you keep items on your site until they sell, or do you cycle them in and out?
Lori: I keep items in my shop until they sell. Antique and vintage jewelry is one of those things that you just need to wait for the right person to come along…you should fall in love with a piece (and then buy it).
Margie: Sometimes, It is hard to develop good customer service online. Is there something you do special for your customers and if so, what is it?
Lori: With the shipping notification I include a personal note and I put a receipt in the package. Customers like quick shipping and I also offer a reasonable return policy. These things are just the basics of good customer service.
Margie: The word professionalism means a lot of different things to different people. Lori, what does it mean to you and does your meaning reflect in your shop?
Lori: Professionalism to me means being polite and respectful of your customer, but maintaining your standards as well. As a small business owner, I can’t offer ‘forever’ returns to my customers like Costco, but I do offer a return policy with a reasonable return window and no restocking fee. I recently sold a non-jewelry item (a vintage tea set) and one of the pieces was broken during transit. I had insured it but know this is a hassle for the customer, so I gave them the option of returning the set or a partial refund. Showing flexibility is an important part of professionalism as well.
Margie: I agree. Flexibility is one of the biggest tools small business owners have. Lori, what is the best advice you can give to someone else about selling vintage items?
Lori: I think it helps if you specialize in a certain time period. Customers like to know what to expect when they visit your shop. Unfortunately, I have a hard time with that since I love so many periods and price points. I guess my shop may not have the consistency of specializing in one period, but hopefully, it is interesting.
Margie: Your shop is interesting! What is the best advice anyone gave you about selling vintage items?
Lori: Be honest. You can’t be expected to know everything…if you’re not sure about something, say so and price it accordingly.
Margie: I think that’s good advice for life in general. Lori, do you have a hint that you are willing to share with the team about buying for or selling on Etsy? If so, what is it?
Lori: The one thing I think I do differently from other sellers on Etsy is when someone wants a layaway I confirm all the details with my customer and then issue them PayPal invoices in alignment with the agreed upon plan. The invoices can be future dated and you can send them all at once so the customer can pay them as they come due (or even early). I think this helps with managing layaway terms consistently.
Margie: On your Shop’s About page I read that you are a retired CPA and Finance Director. You also said that “I fell in love with antique and vintage jewelry. You have to take a break from spreadsheets every once in a while!” As an accountant and business owner, what basic records should online shop owners keep?
Lori: Shop owners should keep records for everything that they will use to complete their tax reporting. I don’t have a complicated system, just file folders labeled “shop expenses” and “sales”. I make sure to keep a paper copy in those files that I can put with my tax files. I’m very pro electronic files, but I find paper works best for me in this case. Also, I use Quicken. It makes it easy to run reports about my sales and expenses on a regular basis. Inventory records are the most challenging thing to maintain. I record each purchase in Quicken classifying it by the type of jewelry it is (rings, earrings, etc.) with as much information as I know on the piece. I haven’t mastered Etsy’s new reporting system yet…when I do that may be the subject of another article!
Margie: That would be a great article. Our readers would love it!
Lori, it has been nice to talk to you and touch on the business end of selling vintage jewelry online. You’ve got some wonderful ideas and it shows in your shop, in your long-term online success, and your repeat customers. Attention to details has paid off for you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us.