By Sara Jordan-Heintz
Online shopping isn’t just the way of the future — it’s an avenue for selling and obtaining the highest quality, luxury products from all over the world, without the expense or hassle of pounding the pavement yourself.
Catching Up With Jasper52's Director
The New York City-based Jasper52 provides the forum for auction houses and antique dealers to present and market merchandise to advanced and novice collectors who are interested in obtaining authentic, vetted collectibles.
Jessica Mizrachi, who serves as director of Jasper52, sat down with Antique Trader magazine to talk about the services her company provides, and what makes her business a leader in the industry.
Antique Trader (AT): Who is behind developing and running Jasper52? How long have you been in operation, and how did it come together?
Jessica Mizrachi (JM): Jasper52 was developed at the request of auction houses who wanted help selling great collectibles they were encountering between their auctions, or that didn’t fit their brand or upcoming auctions. The service began in 2015 and our leadership includes myself, Erik Cross and Rohan Parikh. We quickly learned there was demand for a curated, full-service platform that could place items into an auction quickly, attract online buyers, and get the seller (typically an auction house or dealer) paid quickly with no fraud risk. Collectors enjoy that Jasper52 provides authenticity guarantees, clear shipping prices, and easy online bidding and payment.
Professional Paths Intersect
AT: Could you speak a little about your professional backgrounds?
JM: Prior to joining Jasper52 I co-founded Lofty.com, a peer-to-peer marketplace for art, antiques, and collectibles. I have worked in the online art space for nearly a decade and am passionate about using technology to connect people with the things they love. I have a bachelor’s degree in art history from Cornell University and a master’s degree in history of design from Bard College.
Erik Cross is an experienced director of business development with a demonstrated history of working in the internet industry. He is skilled in management, account management, sales, business-to-business (B2B), and business development. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree with a focus in business administration, management and operations from West Virginia University.
Rohan Parikh did his undergrad at WVU, as a finance major. He worked at a big bank, quit and decided to pursue technology because it’s more interesting and has a better purpose for society as a whole. He became the No. 1 sales person at SinglePlatform, which sold for $100 million. He completed certificate courses on entrepreneurship and innovation at HBS and Wharton, and was our first employee of J52, who worked with us to grow the business to triple the size by the end of the year. He also serves on the board of a non-profit and contributes thought leadership to Forbes on business development.
Anchoring Efforts on Meeting Customer Needs
AT: What makes Jasper52 different from say, eBay or other online auction outlets?
JM: Jasper52 is different than other online outlets in a few important ways:
1. It offers bidders an authenticity guarantee, or their money back.
2. It protects sellers from fraud through our secure payment processing platform.
3. It is curated to ensure we are offering bidders what they want at prices in line with the item’s fair market value.
Curators ensure the best items are surfaced and that collectors don’t waste time searching through tens of thousands of modern replicas.
4. It markets items on behalf of sellers via sophisticated email marketing, concierge outreach to specific bidders, and online advertising on Google, Facebook, LiveAuctioneers, and a host of niche sites.
5. It provides customer support and operational infrastructure, making selling online less time-consuming for our sellers.
Identifying the Experience of Luxury Shopping
AT: Can you explain some pros and cons of the online shopping experience, versus buying and selling through brick and mortar outlets?
JM: For sellers, the high cost of maintaining and staffing brick and mortar shops, and the strictly local reach of those spaces, moves more and more sellers online each year. Buyers will always enjoy and want to inspect items before purchasing, and the most successful online sellers are those that come close to replicating in-person inspection, virtually through great photos and descriptions, and those that give bidders additional confidence in their purchases through expert review of inventory and an authenticity guarantee. Buyers also enjoy the broader selection that comes from shopping online – and having the breadth at their fingertips on a mobile device.
AT: How does selling through Jasper52 work?
JM: Selling with Jasper52 is easy:
1. Sellers, typically auction houses and dealers, send us photos and descriptions of their items, which are reviewed by experts (often provided by auction houses) for accuracy and pricing.
2. Jasper52 curates the auction and markets it to hundreds of thousands of bidders through many online channels.
3. Jasper52 answers bidder questions, collects payment for won lots, and provides infrastructure that makes it easy for sellers to ship.
4. Sellers ship items to buyers.
5. Jasper52 pays sellers!
Ins and Outs of Business
AT: How often do you hold auctions? What are some of the themes?
JM: Jasper52 holds weekly sales in a variety of different categories, and we are constantly expanding our categories into new collecting areas. Some of our current categories include: Americana; Japanese Woodblock Prints; Fine Art; Rugs; Toys; Ancient Coins; Viking Jewelry; Maps; Jewelry and Gemstones; Fossils; Silver and Decorative Arts; Books and Ephemera; Gravures; Watches; Religious Icons; and Music Posters.
AT: What fees are associated with selling?
JM: Sellers earn 87 percent of the hammer price for sold items. Jasper52’s seller’s fee is 13 percent.
AT: What fees are associated with buying?
JM: Jasper52’s buyer’s premium is a flat 15 percent, which is among the lowest buyer’s premiums in the industry. Winners can pay conveniently via credit card at no additional charge!
Understanding Consignor Opportunities
AT: After a sale, how long does it take for a consignor to get paid?
JM: We typically work with sellers who are auction houses and dealers, who are paid 15 days after the auction, on average, so they can get funds to their consignor in a timely manner.
AT: What sales and pricing trends are you noticing? Are there luxury categories that are lagging and others that are surging?
JM: Though my background is in art and antiques, I am constantly amazed by how varied people’s collecting interests are. Fair pricing, clear photos and descriptions, and a guarantee of authenticity are extremely important to our bidders, and by providing those things, we’ve established ourselves as the venue for trading in many different categories. Some of our strongest categories are Americana; Japanese Woodblock Prints; Music Posters; and Maps. Several auction houses now consider us an extension of their own businesses in these categories and simply provide us with their inventory versus marketing it themselves.
AT: Your unique company name begs the question: What does Jasper52 stand for?
JM: Jasper means “treasure,” derived from Gaspar, one of the Wise Men that brought gifts to baby Jesus; “52” because we run auctions 52 weeks a year, so Jasper52 means Treasure 52 weeks a year!
Varied Luxury Offerings
AT: What’s the most expensive object that has sold through Jasper52?
JM: Some of the more expensive items we’ve sold include a beautiful Italian Murano Glass vase for $15,000, a Rolex Submariner with Blue Bezel for $14,000, a Buccellati Gold Diamond Bracelet for $13,000, a Serapi Rug for $11,000, and a Shiko Munakata Portrait Japanese Woodblock Print for $9,000.
AT: What is the most rewarding aspect of operating Jasper52?
JM: The most rewarding aspect of operating Jasper52 is knowing that each week we are connecting collectors with the things they love, and helping auction houses and antique dealers grow their businesses online.
Get in touch with Jasper52
www.jasper52.com • 212-634-0978 • firstname.lastname@example.org