Non-fungible tokens (NFT) are becoming increasingly popular as an ecommerce commodity. An NFT is a unique and non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a digital ledger (blockchain). The growth of NFTs is now reflected among higher-end consumer goods. So why would an establish luxury goods retailer turn to these intangible assets?
To learn more, Digital Journal caught up with Joe Ladin, the CEO of SFLMaven
Digital Journal: Can you provide a brief background on SFLMaven Corporations?
Ladin: We’re an online estate fine jewelry store that has a weekly Thursday night auction on eBay with 200+ unique pieces. What’s really special about our auctions are that all of them are no reserve. That means bidders decide what the value of pieces are and this goes for everything, engagement rings, diamond studs, signed designer pieces like Tiffany & Co., Rolex, etc. We also have a gorgeous selection for those that would rather “Buy It Now.” At the core of my business model is always being sure to provide our customers with quality and beautiful pieces that can be truly treasured. For the past 18 years, we have been based on eBay but recently our business model has evolved and we now also have a presence on 1stdDibs.com.
DJ: You launched your company with an ecommerce model over 18 years. Why did you decide then to only sell your luxury goods online?
Ladin: At the time, my main reason for focusing on online shopping was that it was the only way to reach a worldwide customer base and that appealed to me. Even though shopping for luxury goods or shopping for anything in general online did not feel natural to most, it still made sense for me. Another reason was that I was able to get into a marketplace where traditionally a business owner would have to spend hundreds of thousands to have a stunning showroom to court a potential customer. However, with my online store, I could skip all of that and still have skin in the game.
DJ: How has the pandemic impacted your company?
Ladin: The pandemic has catapulted online shopping like a rocket. With everyone staying home, the convenience factor of online shopping has really blossomed. You can see that across the board in so many areas of lifestyle. SFLMaven qualifies as an eBay Top Rated Seller for 18 years now, which means we have high customer satisfaction, and we also guarantee the authenticity of our products. This has meant that people who may not have considered buying fine jewelry online feel reassured and are now shopping with us. These days, technology is so advanced that people buy our pieces right from their phones. It’s really incredible how far technology has come and where it’s headed.
DJ: SFLMaven recently announced the launch of a new Collectibles Marketplace strategy, what will that entail?
Ladin: Our Collectibles strategy is really exciting and such a natural fit for us. Something we notice more and more is how people are diversifying their investment portfolios and collectibles are one of those avenues. We will be expanding our reach into additional areas by acquiring various types of collectibles companies. Utilizing the strength and trust of our brand, we will be creating a multitiered synergy across the categories, which will allow us to provide more value to our customers.
DJ: Why are you focused on NFTs as part of your collectibles strategy?
Ladin: I’m someone who likes to do business in the present but anticipates the future and NFTs are the future of art. Only having an e-commerce business in 2004 was unheard of but it felt right and it felt like that’s where the future of shopping would evolve to. The fine art world appreciates and values history and pieces that have period significance. With the NFT art market still in its inception stage and technology evolving at rapid speeds, I believe that these pieces could be invaluable in the future. Think first editions.
DJ: What type of trends are you seeing with NFTs and other collectibles?
Ladin: Skilled collectors understand how valuable investing early in a particular niche is. It can be the difference in making a moderate profit to in other cases millions. When focusing on items that have first additions, getting in early is crucial. That’s exactly what the NTF market is. In the past 20 years, technology has changed the way society works and in looking towards the future, it’s easy to see that technology will only get more integrated in our daily lives.