About five years ago, I applied to Ruby Lane to sell some of my jewelry online. At the time, my application was turned down because I had a staff of jewelers fabricating the pieces for me. Ruby Lane found that this fact might make my jewelry not meet their levels of quality control. My initial deposit was politely returned to me with this explanation and I moved along.
Fast-forwarding to the future, I opened and ran a online Ruby Lane shop for 10 months to get a feel for how Ruby Lane operates and the amount of traffic, SEO and support Ruby Lane provided. While I closed the shop at the end of my experiment, it was on a whole a very positive experience.
Who Can Sell on Ruby LaneWhile Ruby Lane sells a lot of collectibles (over 20 years old) and antiques (over 100 years old), they also have a new jewelry and fine arts section. Fine arts include:
- Print Making
First, Check Out Your Ruby Lane CompetitionBefore making the leap to potential online shop owner, I highly recommend you check out other Ruby Lane shops selling items that are similar in nature to your own. See how long they have been in business and what their crown rating is. Ruby Lane’s crown rating represents number of sales: platinum over 1000 sales; gold over 100; silver over 25; bronze over 5 and green means a new shop with under 5 sales.
If a shop similar to your own has been in business for a length of time and only has a bronze or green rating, you have to carefully evaluate whether your type of fine art or jewelry will sell in this venue.
Of course, if the average sales price of the shop’s items is very high you have to consider that fact as well. Selling one $1000 piece per year that cost you $500 to make will give you a profit of around $200 after paying Ruby Lane fees. Good or bad? That’s a decision you have to make.
Getting Started With Ruby Lane
Ruby Lane is an online host for many individual e-commerce sites. Those that are interested in being hosted by Ruby Lane create a preview shop containing at least 10 items. Ruby Lane provides fill-in the-blank templates for sections such as the item’s description and your online shop policies. You also have the ability to upload images of your items directly into the Ruby Lane website.
Image quality is key. And the more images the better. Also,if your item has a front and back or top and bottom you must upload an image showing both (or all angles of the items).
Having non-deceptive image copy is also crucial. My preview shop included a pendant made from Argentium sterling silver. Before my site could go live, I had to re-write the description because the owners did not feel I was clear enough as to its properties (without going into all the bells and whistles – Argentium is slow to tarnish.
When you feel your shop is ready to go live inform management. You’ll either get suggestions on how to bring it up to Ruby Lane standards or get the go ahead to have your online shop join the over 2000 other hosted shops on the site.
What it Costs to Open a Ruby Lane Shop
There is a one-time setup fee of $75 per shop. This is refunded if you shop is not approved. After that it costs 30 cents to list each item and there is a $20 monthly maintenance fee. You can pay your fees by personal check, money order or through PayPal.
My Review of Ruby Lane
I was a greenie the entire time I had a Ruby Lane shop. However, I only had 10 items in my shop at any one time, which I am sure affected my sales. I found Ruby Lane’s management to be supportive and used good SEO practices.
When I decided to end my experiment and close my shop, I ignored the ‘Close Shop’ option and emailed support for instructions. Polite to the end, they wished me well with my future endeavors and gave me detailed instructions on how to find the ‘Close Shop’ option.