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The Art of Selling Luxury with Celebrity Owned | EP. #127

April 03, 2024 | Author: Andrew Maff












Despite e-commerce's drastic evolution, Celebrity Owned has remained consistent in its luxury consignment offerings. On this 127th episode of the E-Comm Show, Andrew Maff interviews Dana Weinrot, founder of Celebrity Owned. Born through word of mouth, Celebrity Owned celebrates its 20th anniversary proving that it's here to stay. 

In this episode, Dana illustrates the evolution of the luxury goods market and why 20 years later eBay is still one of her top e-commerce platforms. Despite the challenges of a saturated market, Dana remains consistent by upholding the value of each item and never cheapening her brand or clients. From sending personal cheques over thoughtless Venmos, Dana teaches us the art of consistency and attention to detail, especially in a market that looks for it. 

Watch the full episode below, or visit TheEcommShow.com for more.


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The Art of Selling Luxury with Celebrity Owned  


Andrew Maff and Dana Weinrot

CONNECT WITH OUR HOST: AndrewMaff.com  |  Twitter: @AndrewMaff | LinkedIn: @AndrewMaff 



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I do not pay online because I believe that a physical check in the mail is my advertising in a sentence. Hello, everyone and welcome to another episode of the Econ Show. I'm your host, Andrew Maff. And today I'm joined by the amazing Dana Weinrot, who's the founder of celebrity owned. Dana, how're you doing? Ready for good show. Thank you so much for having me. Yeah. Thank you for joining us. Happy Wednesday, Happy Wednesday, I would. I always like to start these off the very stereotypical way and pretend like no one knows who you are. And if you want to just give us a little bit of insight into your background, how you got started with celebrity owned where you guys are out today. And we'll take it from there. All right. So hello, everybody. I am Dana Weinrot to the founder of celebrity owned.com. I launched celebrity owned back in 2004. I had dabbled in a couple other online businesses and kind of graduated right at the beginning of kind of the online boom, and so got a good taste for what that was all about. And in 2002, or 2001, I got pregnant with twins, and decided that this might be the last time to take a little bit of a break. So at that time, I found out that I was pregnant, I decided to quit a job I was at and just some take some time for myself. And I did that. And you know, that turned into about two years after I had the kids and just being mom at home and loving all of that, but I was ready, I was ready to start doing something again. So got back up and just kind of, you know, a few years into eBay launching and decided that I had some things in my closet that I wanted to try and sell. And it just feels it felt very daunting, truthfully, I mean, the interface back then the UI was definitely not user friendly. And it was something I didn't want to jump into very quickly. So I took my time and just took Baby steps. But I finally did it. And I launched not launched, I listed my first item on eBay. And it was shocked to see that actually someone wanted it. And it sold pretty quickly. It was it was a Prada handbag. And I got really excited because that feeling is just like, oh, wow, what do I What else do I have to sell? And so I did I continued to just look through and kind of see what kind of things I could sell and see how that went. And then I just organically naturally started talking about it with friends. And you know, hey, you know, I sold this on eBay. You guys should try it. But you know, again, no one wanted to do this themselves. Because this was it was it was overwhelming at eBay at first and it was a lot of work. So friends would start asking me to sell their things. And I said, sure. Okay, great. Let's do it. And I'd help them out. And before I knew it, bags of stuff just started piling up in my house and it got a little bit overwhelming. But my husband was like, why don't you want to do something with this? Like, go get a small office and go try it. You know, there you could be honest something here. And this was again back in 2004. No one was I mean consignment business resale businesses, no one this did not exist. There might have been one or two other big kind of known sellers on eBay that were selling women's clothing and accessories. But that was it. And so I did I went out and I got like a teeny, I don't know, 200 square foot office. And I sent a letter in the mail to anyone I had an address for letting them know that I was doing this and next time they were cleaning out their closets to think of me. And it just took off and it was so viral and so exciting. And I think I went on Craigslist and looked for an assistant and it just worked out you know, I was at the right place at the right time. No one was doing it. Most people just gave their stuff away. You know, they didn't know what to do with it. And so it was like a good experiment for everybody. And it worked. And it was fun. And you know, eBay was an exciting, lucrative place back, then, you know, you wanted to buy resale items, pre owned items, eBay was the only place to do it. For many years. I mean, after I launched, I mean, we're talking several years before some of the other players came on board. So it was good. It was fun. Nice. So fast forward to now now you have your own website, so you're not so reliant on just Ebay. I am fairly still relying on eBay, believe it or not, because they still a very big player, and you can't you can't rule out the beast. You know, they still own, you know, household market share in this business. And they're a great platform. And they've had many years of ups and downs as being a seller could was had. Its came with its frustrations throughout the years, no doubt. But they came through. They did, and they are a serious player now, and I could never leave them. I did launch my website out of frustration and not knowing what was going to come with eBay. And you know, I just You had this risk of being a seller on eBay, they they held the cards, it was like they controlled the light switch, you know, they could kick you off at any time, you know. And so it was scary. And I thought God forbid, you know, my entire business up until I launched my website was on eBay. And I said, if something happens with eBay, this is it. So I had to just prepare. So we did, prepared and launched a couple years ago, and just built the whole back end through Shopify, which is just an another amazing, incredible platform. And I dabbled with several others as third party like listing tools and stuff like that. And they all came with their headaches. So it was just such a pleasure to finally get to Shopify and just see how well that bird hums. And it's been great. So to answer your question, yes, eBay is still a huge part of my business. Every item that I list also goes in my eBay store. Yeah. So I also list from every item on my website and on eBay, and they're all linked through Shopify. So if one sells on Shopify, I mean, on my website, you know, the listing gets ended on eBay. So it works very well. Nice. Yeah, you got your eyeballs everywhere. So, yeah, so you're covering all your real estate genius? Yeah. How are you managing, like, the inventory side? Like, how are you still bringing in addition? Because consignment, you know, stuff, you get one of one thing that goes to like, how are you getting more and more people to work with you to help sell all the different items that they have. So I've been fairly lucky in the sense that I for this entire time of my business, it has always been a word of mouth referral business, I've never had to advertise. It's just, you know, friends of friends of friends, talking to people and saying, you know, hey, you know, if you you know, it's, it's interesting, I've always kind of said that my checks are my ad that I actually cut checks to clients, I do not pay online, because I believe that a physical check in the mail is my advertising in a sense, because, you know, you get this piece of this check in the mail, you open it up, and you're like, Oh, wow. And with the checkout include a statement that shows every item that sold so it's just as good, like, physical, psychological thing that happens. Yeah. And it reminds you that stuff is selling and that it's great. And I should go see if I have more stuff in my closet. And, you know, if you happen to be on the phone with a friend and you're opening your mail, you're like, oh my god, I just got a check from date, you gotta call Dana, next time you're cleaning out your closet, it's just a very organic viral thing, versus paying someone via Venmo or Zelle. With their, you know, once they have their sales, because you almost don't know when that happens. So it's like you're just not paying attention. So I definitely I'm not looking to shy away from paying my clients via checks unless they request otherwise. And to answer your question about incoming product, you know, there's no shortage of people worldwide that have stuff so you know, believe it or not, it comes in quicker then it goes out typically, you know, sometimes it's harder to move. Yeah. So the brand name celebrity owned how'd you how'd you come up with that? How does that kind of tie in the business with a couple big celebrity clients? So I just felt that it had some good cachet, you know, and then obviously, fast forward, you know, more and more people would ask me to sell their items and I wasn't going to say no to anybody so it just kind of rolled into I sell for everyone now but I kept the name. Yeah. Nice. What's the what's the overall marketing approach? How are you getting people to your website? I know eBay is obviously got its built in audience so you have eBay advertising, traditional marketplace, but for and off at eBay perspective, so your Shopify site, anything you're doing there from a marketing perspective and drive that traffic to your site. Nothing out of the ordinary, just the same things. Everyone else is doing the Google's the Instagrams, I do some Instagram Live shows as well. And people seem to like that just a good other way to kind of move product. And, yeah, it's just, you know, we we do pride ourselves on really trying to list an item with the right keywords, if it's a specific item that has a style name, we always want to include that because a lot of people who are searching for an item, we're going to type that name into Google. So fortunately, if we have the product, it's always going to show up. So it works pretty pretty well. And it's, you know, I'd say, 85% of the time, we know the style name of an item that we're listing. So it's just a great practice to have. So yeah, it's really just Google and Instagram. I post a lot of items in my Instagram, you know, just new new arrivals and my stories and yeah, that's it. So marketing, newsletters and stuff like that, you know, to follow. Yeah. What's the what's the game plan? Are you are you looking to scale it out from where it is? Are you kind of happy with where it's at now? What's the approach in the future with the business? Today's episode is brought to you by finale inventory, meet finale inventory, the ultimate solution for accurate and efficient inventory management. Trusted by 1000s of brands finale inventory offers seamless integrations with over 80 sales channels and platforms. With customizable workflows and reporting features. Finale empowers you to streamline operations and scale your business with ease, preventing, overselling and maximizing profitability. Whether you're juggling multiple platforms, expanding your product range, or just looking for a way to reduce operational chaos finale has the tools you need to succeed step into the future of E commerce with finale inventory. You know, what I'm very happy with where it's at, this has kind of just always been my little baby. And I've never been looking to be, you know, one of the big big players out there. I just think you can really, you can just focus so much more on your like, on my consigners I just have, you know, relationships with them. And it's just easier to stay small, you know, my consigners can text me like from their closets and just like, hey, can you sell this? Can you sell that? It's just, it's a very comfortable relationship. And, and it's worked and, you know, I'm happy with it would you know, everyone obviously would love, you know, more sales in time? Of course, I would never say no to that. But I'm not looking to be, you know, the big old beast in the in the game? Yeah, I like to be a little fish that's going to be around forever. Hey, some of the best businesses are the ones that are just sustaining and around for a long time and not forcing growth too fast. It gets. Yeah, no, that's not happening. What, um, what are some of like, the hurdles that you went through? Like, I know, you mentioned, you know, you've had your abs and flows with eBay. And you obviously went over Shopify, because of it. Like, what, what were some of the problems you were having? Yes. So, the right now, you know, that's been great. That's all good. I think, you know, the biggest hurdle is just, you know, once the other players came on board, all my competitors, um, you know, it dilutes the market. So, now a consigner has so many more options where they want to consign their items. Not only does the consigner but a buyer. I mean, again, like I was saying, In the beginning, eBay was so lucrative for the first several years there was nowhere else to buy, pre owned. So I mean, I had like all the business, I mean, it was just crazy, the kind of sales that we were having back then. And now obviously, there's so many more, you know, companies out there just doing what we're doing. So a lot more choices, a lot more options. But with that comes, you know, the market is very saturated with all the same stuff as well. So items take a lot longer to sell now, because nothing is special. You know, someone wants an Hermes Birkin bag. You can there everywhere, any color you want, you know, so it's like, and yes, the prices are absolutely ridiculous, but they're just not that special anymore. I mean, you can just buy them everywhere. You don't you know, you use these luxury brands become so hard to buy in store and pay retail, but you can buy them anywhere in the resale market and they're everywhere. So they're not a quick sale, you know, the inventory sits a lot longer now. So that's a hurdle. Yeah. You're consigners that you're working with and you're obviously helping sell their product. What happens if it takes too long to sell or if it just doesn't sell How do you have that mapped up? So I tell my clients that my consigners that I really don't, we don't have a specific timeframe that like, if it doesn't sell within 60 days, we give it back to you, we actually keep things for as long as they either take to sell or unless a consigner wants it back for any reason. Or at certain point, if it's been many years, we'll ask them, hey, you know, would you like us to return these items to you, would you like us to donate them, so we give them options. But one thing we do pride ourselves on is, we really, really do try and get our clients as much as we are our clients as much as we possibly can for items, there's a lot of other companies out there that they're in the, you know, they're in the business of moving items quick. And so they really do have to price to sell. So they're going to price your item at a certain point, and then you know, 30 days later, their market it down, down, down. And before you know it, the client is getting $15 for an item. And that's happening a lot. And clients are definitely not happy with that. So you know, they're leaving those companies, which is good for me, because I don't have that at all. We really, I mean, I even say the clients, you know, we have a make, name your price model, where something is like an expensive luxury item, they I allow the consigner to tell me, you know, hey, I really don't want to sell this unless I'm walking away with X amount. And I'll tell them if that's realistic. And then if so, I'd rather get my, my consigner what they want, and me take less than it not sell at all. So that's been working quite well. And the consigners really liked that. Because then they know they're being taken care of they know that their item is not selling unless it sells for that amount. So it's just a good reassurance that they you know, they're in control. Yeah. On eBay, do you have it set where it's like a bidding? Or do you have it just set where it's a buy now only buy now with we allow offers as well. So we never use auction. Everything is a fixed price with a makeup with make offer button, and my website actually has that as well. I allow customers on my website to make an offer. Oh, it's interesting how I always price my items with a cushion, you know, just to allow people to submit offers, because truthfully, you know, pricing is so subjective, you know, it's like, it's really about who's willing to pay what, you know, this, this has happened so many years, just in this business where you know, there's no price, I mean, there could be someone looking for this item, and they've been searching it for so long, they'll pay whatever they have to pay to get it you know, so, you know, sometimes people will just click the buy it now and they won't even make an offer. Yeah. Give you like a sweet spot with that, like have, you know, you try to keep products between like X amount? Or do you not do products that are over, you know, 1000s of dollars? Like, is there a limit on what you do or maximum, I really try to not accept incoming products unless it's going to sell for at least $100. But at times, we will end up marking things down a little bit. And they will go that, you know, they will go lower, of course. But um, no, we, and just brands just over the years, I've just learned that some brands just really, truly sell better than others. So you know, I'll try to stick with the brands that do so awesome. And so you also mentioned that you do you also have some email marketing that goes so do you have like repeat buyers coming in? Or do you have I imagine you probably have some of your consigners as buying off of each other? Like, how was how was that work? You know, it's interesting, I don't really know if my consigners are shopping as much for me. So I don't think that's happening. But the repeat customers absolutely 1000s of repeat customers, which is really nice. So yeah, I have an email list and, you know, send an email out once a week with, you know, new arrivals. And, you know, just sometimes people will come and browse and who knows, you know, some do some don't. But it's just a good reminder that hey, we're here. Don't forget about us. Yeah. And then so are you. When you approve, okay, I will, you know, I'll take the product on I'll help you sell it. Are they shipping you the product? Or are they sending you imagery? You're doing it and then they worry about fulfillment? How's that working? So I take everything every every product gets photographed by us and stored by us and fulfilled everything is done through us. If the I'm based in Los Angeles, if the client if my consigners are in Los Angeles, we offer we do pickups, usually, so we'll go to their homes or they can drop them off. Out of state. We offer free FedEx, we send them FedEx labels, so they'll just box up their items, they send them to us, but everything does come to us. We take physical product, photograph it and put it on our website and then store it until it ships Cool. Sounds awesome. Yeah. Yeah, a great little business you've got going on there. It seems to be working out pretty well for fun and it's really been exciting just to see like the evolution of how big resale has become 20 years ago, this just wasn't something people were really just like, you know, doing as much. I mean, maybe, you know, people were dabbling with selling items, but they weren't buying pre owned items as much. I mean, this is just really exploded so much in the last, you know, 10 years for sure and especially even more so now as these luxury brands continue to raise their prices like annually sometimes a couple times a year. It's just like who's paying retail anymore? Yeah, it's absolutely absurd out there. Yeah, I was gonna say I would imagine with like kind of this inflationary period we're in right now. It's probably a good time to be doing exactly what you're doing it is it is so I'm so glad I'm still here and alive and kicking through all of it so I survived survived pandemic survives, you know, the other beasts that came on board and tempted me. I'm still here. So I'm glad. Yeah. Well, Dana, thank you so much for being on the show. I don't want to take up too much more your time. I would love to give the opportunity to let everyone know they can find out more about celebrity and great



thank you. Yes, you can come to my website celebrityowned.com. And check us out on Instagram as well. We are @celebrityowned.



Beautiful. Dana, thank you for being on the show everyone who tuned in, of course, thank you as well please make sure you rate review, subscribe, all that fun stuff or head over to whichever podcast platform you prefer. And check out all of our previous episodes on theeccomshow.com. But as usual, thank you all for joining us and we will see you all next time. Have a good one.



Thank you for tuning in to The E-Comm Show head over to theecommshow.com to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform or on the BlueTuskr YouTube channel. The E-Comm Show is brought to you by BlueTuskr, a full service digital marketing company specifically for e-commerce sellers looking to accelerate their growth. Go to bluetuskr.com Now for more information. Make sure to tune in next week for another amazing episode of The E-Comm Show.














































































































































































































































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