The era of must-see TV in the 1980s and ’90s—back when networks packed their Thursday night schedules with ratings juggernauts—had passed when Joseph Ladin launched SFLMaven nearly 20 years ago. But the idea piqued his interest. His fledgling fine jewelry/accessories storefront on eBay needed a hook—and a Thursday night auction, with bidding for premium pieces, felt like a novel e-commerce concept.
Little did the graduate of the University of Florida know that it would become the cornerstone of a Fort Lauderdale-based company, now public, that typically does some $1 million in monthly gross sales.
“We took a chance and stayed committed,” Ladin says of the auction events that, on their own, will produce upward of $200,000 in one-night sales. “We’ve now done [more than] 900 weekly auctions. We have a huge customer following that counts on us not only for their fine jewelry, but also for their Thursday night entertainment.”
SFLMaven’s loyal clientele (the company has “top-rated seller” status on eBay and nearly 100,000 positive feedbacks) is driving a seemingly pandemic-proof business model. Mid-year financials for SFLMaven showed a 14% total sales increase compared to the first six months of 2020—and a year-over-year gross profits increase of 194%.
But it’s not just the Thursday fun. It’s the fact that customers are paying for what luxury and estate pieces are worth, compared to the marked-up pricing at a brick-and-mortar jewelry store, as well as a money-back guarantee to the protect the buyer.
“Everything is fully transparent,” Ladin says. “A customer can see great past feedbacks from other customers, our photos are raw and untouched, and our descriptions are to the point. It’s exciting to see what people like and what items go into a bidding frenzy. I’m always surprised by what resonates most with people, and I’ve been doing this a long time.”
Visit sflmavencorp.com (which has a link to the eBay store) to learn more.