The digital marketplace is adding a new Brand Boutique platform to give shoppers access to select brand partners for jewelry and watches. The addition is in response to consumers’ request for “new,” according to founder and chief executive officer Tirath Kamdar. Consumers who head to the TrueFacet landing page can click on either the access button for the pre-owned marketplace or the one for the new boutique.
Kamdar said the boutique initially has 16 brands, with half offering jewelry and the other half specializing in watches. The plan over time is to add new brands to the offerings, as well as limited product pieces and specially created “exclusive experiences” coordinated between TrueFacet and a brand partner. Some of the launch brands include Fabergé, Fendi, Les Artisans de Genève and Mimi So. Prices range from $1,000 up to $250,000.
Kamdar began TrueFacet in 2014. Many of the brands that provide pre-certification of designer jewelry and watches on the resale side are now expanding their partnership to be part of the Brand Boutique category. The ceo also said, “Having a pre-owned certification can [command] a 15 percent premium for the item.”
According to Kamdar, data from consignment on the site indicates that in “five years, more than 65 percent of jewelry and watches will be purchased online. This is a revolutionary movement for the $38 billion fine jewelry category.”
Many of the site’s buyers are Millennials, with 28 percent of the traffic from those under age 30. Many Millennials are repeat buyers and sellers — they buy pre-owned, sell it later on and take the proceeds to buy something new that is also pre-owned. In contrast, older consumers tend to focus on selling their trophies of wealth.
Kamdar said executives in the “luxury watch market are trying to figure out where the future growth will come from.” He has his views on what is the problem in the watch industry and why there is a general malaise in the sector.
“There is a big disconnect among the Swiss and European firms on who is their consumer at retail. The problem is their customer is the retailer, and they don’t get a lot of data on the shopper who is the end consumer. So they make a lot of product, but they don’t get to see what it is the consumer really wants,” the ceo said.
That results in excess inventory, which in turn gets “dumped in the marketplace, whether by authorized dealers or even the brands themselves,” Kamdar said. He said that for some brands, it could take as long as three years to close up the gray markets.
The ceo said he’s helping to solve the disconnect by providing data to brands about what consumers are shopping for on his site. According to Kamdar, that possibly might help brands and factories with the other problem they have — the concern that cutting back for the sake of cutting back will lead to layoffs of skilled workers who might leave the industry and not be around for hire when demand in the high-end watch sector picks up again.