By Brecken Branstrator
Kavador takes in jewelry from independent jewelers across the country and sells it on consignment on its website for 60 days.
New York--Consignment is an issue that’s talked about in the jewelry industry quite a bit, usually in reference to designers--whether they should consign, or how to make it work for their business if they do.

It’s not often, however, that the conversation is around consigning pieces from retailers themselves. And yet there’s one website that’s making it its business.

Kavador is a fine jewelry website that sells new and estate pieces sourced from independent jewelry stores across the country, giving those stores access to a national audience while also putting consumers in front of one-of-a-kind pieces to which they previously might not have had access.

In a recent interview with National Jeweler, co-founders Jennie Pastor and Michelle Reeves said the idea came about from a conversation they were having about the state of the industry, in particular the “struggles faced by independent retailers and the challenge that they have to try and compete online” as small, local stores, Pastor said.

20160621 RingThis sapphire and diamond cluster ring in 14-karat white gold is priced at $1,265 on Kavador.
“It was really from that discussion that Kavador was born,” Pastor said. “We were looking at how an independent retailer could take advantage of this growth in online sales.”

The marketplace operates on a consignment model.

After Kavador takes in the jewelry from the retailer, the company uses Gemological Institute of America-certified gemologists who are members of the Kavador team to authenticate it all.

They also take high-quality product photos and lifestyle images.

Once the piece is listed on the site, it’s held on consignment for 60 days by Kavador so that they can offer quick shipping and customer service benefits themselves.

If a piece hasn’t been sold within that two-month time period, Pastor said they can look at analytics on the piece to see if, for example, it’s had a lot of product views but just has yet to find the right buyer, or if it’s just not appealing to the site’s consumers.

While the final decision is up to the retailer to keep it on the site longer or take it off, the team stressed that ideally, they want to “continually refresh product.”   

While a website that offers consignment for fine jewelry isn’t new, Kavador separates itself from the others by working only with retailers. It does this for a few reasons, according to its founders--the breadth of product is a large part, but so is the quality.

“We know that these retailers are experienced jewelers so they know what they’re buying,” Pastor said. “They purchased these pieces because they believe in them and they believe in the quality and craftsmanship.”

Kavador has a flat 20 percent commission fee per piece. There is no listing fee or contract for retailers, as well as no minimum amount of pieces that can be put up on the site.

It also is open to all retailers, who can set their own price, though the founders said they aim to keep pieces to at least 20 percent below full retail to deliver a compelling price point for consumers.

Kavador handles the marketing campaigns and social media to get the jewelry in front of its national audience, takes the product and lifestyle photographs featured on the site.Kavador handles the marketing campaigns and social media to get the jewelry in front of its national audience, and takes the product and lifestyle photographs featured on the site.

This, in turn, allows Kavador to be a place for retailers to discount slow-moving inventory without harming their local brand and pricing structure or encouraging discount shoppers.

“We’re saying, ‘OK, we have an alternative to having an in-store sale or liquidating it,’ which is, let’s put it on a national level, show it to this new audience, and price it in a way that’s going to enable the quick sale. But it’s all under our brand so it protects your local branding,” Pastor said.

Officially launched last November, Kavador’s team has had some time to look at what’s doing well and what people are buying.

“Rings are very much a popular category. They continue to trend,” Reeves said. “In terms of price points, though, we’ve sold items from a few hundred dollars to well over $20,000 and everything in between. For us … it’s just showing the vast opportunity that exists for retailers to get their product in the hands of people everywhere.”

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Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.