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The Difference Ten Years Makes

Eight years ago we closed our retail operation and shifted our focus to selling wholesale. In the five years preceding, we had built up a successful retail operation in Ireland, selling fashion jewellery and accessories to the masses. This happened to coincide with what became known as the Celtic Tiger years, when the Irish economy was booming and everybody was spending money as if it grew on trees.

Sales of non-essential items — which is what we were selling — were off the charts. Every business with something to sell was doing well, regardless of the quality or uniqueness of what they were selling.

By this stage we had grown so much that we were buying direct from manufacturers, in part due to the lower cost, but mainly because we were so unhappy with what jewellery wholesalers in Ireland and in the UK had to offer. They were selling what we would have described as “boring, dull, trash“. The sort of merchandise that got Ratner into so much trouble.

Our Current Best Selling Necklace

Best Seller

Our growing success sourcing direct from manufacturers prompted us to try our hand at selling wholesale ourselves. As it turned out, this was to prove a saving grace, as in 2008 the Celtic Tiger gave its last growl and died a sudden death. Sales of non-essential items such as jewellery fell off a cliff. All of our local competitors went out of business, and we would have too if we had still been in the retail industry and if we had still depended on selling to the Irish market.

By 2008 we had begun to establish ourselves as online wholesalers selling to retailers in the UK. We started out selling job lots on eBay in 2006, and by 2008 our eCommerce site was up and running, feeding off the customers we had built up on eBay, and growing as our reputation for supplying unique styles solidified.

We weathered the UK economic downturn of 2012, primarily because we were an online only operation, with no bricks and mortar expenses to put us out of business, but mainly because our relationship with our manufacturers was such that we could continue to supply new styles throughout those rough years while other wholesalers were stagnant, trying to sell previous years styles.

The key metric by which we measure our success is not our balance sheet, but the number of repeat customers we have on our books. We have shops and traders who have been buying from us every month since 2008. This tells us that we are doing something right.

2015 was our best year ever, and we have high hopes that 2016 will be even better still.

30 Apr 2016

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