Roman Sharf immigrated as a teenager from the Soviet Union and says he has worked every job under the sun.
He left his career at a Fortune 500 to pursue his passion: selling luxury watches on eBay.
His jewelry business now employs 30 people and has averaged $100M in revenue in each of the last 5 years.
Here he shares tips for success that can power any seller.
Find your new favorite piece at Luxury Bazaar.
7 Questions with Roman Sharf of LuxuryBazaar
What does a typical day look like for you?
It's a nut house.
My daily routine is a lot different than what it was when I first started. I still sell to this day. I have a whole sales team to help me out, but oftentimes I will still be the first point of contact.
The day I hired my first employee, I made a conscious decision to have an open door policy. We have a corporate structure without corporate politics. More of a family environment.
I do have a COO. I have a CMO. I also have a CFO. I have a head of every department reporting to me on different days. I also have a lot of external meetings.
For me, it's become a numbers game. I handle a lot of the finance around the company. In regards to finances, we're not a straightforward business.
The biggest challenge in our business in the luxury sector, you never know when you'll have to spend a million dollars on an hour's notice. I spend a lot of my time managing the funds that are going through the company, along with operations.
What does community mean to you and your business?
In my business, the community is a lot smaller than you think.
We're selling expensive items. We're catering to those with a certain income, but just because you have a higher income doesn't mean you're willing to spend that income on a watch. That shrinks the pool down even further.
Reputation is key. Solid, quality product. Not over-promising. Not messing with your clients and sending them a product that's not as described. Making sure you're completely honest and transparent to potential clients, because if you aren't it will come back to haunt you-specifically when you're talking about high-end watches.
LuxuryBazaar features some of the most rare, unusual, and noteworthy watches ever created.
What's your secret selling power?
My super power is actually very simple.
Picture yourself working in a retail store where a client walks in, and you're trying to sell them an item. Knowledge sells, which translates into a good detailed description on eBay-as detailed as possible and that will result in the least amount of questions.
Second thing. If you're at a store displaying an expensive item, you want to display it properly, maybe in a beautiful showcase with proper setting, lighting, et cetera. That translates to: take extremely good pictures.
Make sure your title is catchy. That's your first advertising sign. The billboard in front of your store that catches the eye of potential customers.
Last but not least, know your market and make sure your pricing is competitive.
What's your process for sourcing or producing merchandise?
If I told you, I'd probably have to kill you.
No, but in all seriousness, it's very difficult to source the merchandise that we sell.
There's no one steady supplier. You're constantly out there looking for suppliers. You're keeping relationships with all suppliers, but old suppliers fall off and new ones appear. It's a constant battle in finding suppliers.
And there are trends in the market we're in. Keeping up with the times is ensuring that there's always constant supply.
Where do you see your business in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?
This business started as a one man band. The company was Roman Sharff.
And I quickly realized that the big dream is to sell off the company.
Saying, 'Oh, I'm going to sell my company for a zillion dollars.' That's just a big dream. But if you don't take steps to get there, it's never going to happen.
Right now, we're shifting the company toward that ultimate goal of selling the company-for hopefully a tremendous amount of money.
What eBay tool do you find most useful? Why?
The Seller Hub dashboard is probably one of the most useful things. It's literally an assistant to your business. It's like having a personal human assistant.
You go onto the dashboard, and everything is within arms reach. You're able to perform every single operation that's needed, whether it's selling, taking an offer, providing tracking information, receiving payments, looking to see your sales volume, how your listings are doing, and everything under the sun that involves making a sale.
What's your favorite quote- motivational or otherwise? Why?
'Never set goals the results of which you cannot measure.'
I think that's both a mantra and great business advice that a wise man once said, with that wise man being me.
Check back for more seller stories and tips throughout the year on our Announcements board, the eBay for Business Podcast, and our eBay for Business Facebookand YouTube.
This interview has been edited for concision and clarity.
eBay Inc. published this content on 22 July 2021 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 22 July 2021 19:17:05 UTC.