How One Wholesale Buyer Auctions BrandsGateway’s Branded Watches on Live TV
Working extensively on expanding their network of wholesale buyers, BrandsGateway recently teamed up with a new client who specializes in selling luxury goods, specifically jewelry and branded watches, in a quite different and, for many, intriguing and entertaining way. In particular, George Tsagarakis has devoted 31 years of his life to building a successful business for selling luxury goods through live TV auctions. Undoubtedly, from all of the wholesale buyers in BrandsGateway’s network, George is the only one, so far, that offers this unique approach to selling jewelry and designer watches – one that gives a whole other dimension to the business of selling luxury items.
Selling luxury goods through live TV auctions is not an easy job, and George does it in a masterful way. George has been working in the field of jewelry, precious stones, and artwork for three decades and counting. And it’s fair to say that he managed to fearlessly come out on top of everything that has crossed his path and turned it to his advantage by transforming and adapting his business to the new times and advances.
George started his business in 1989 in Greece, specifically in the period when private broadcasting (radio and television) was legalized in the country. Up until that moment, he emphasizes that they had only government-owned channels in Greece.
“I opened the Gallery Tsagarakis in 1989 and since then I’m using it for selling art, especially antiques – which is what I specialize in. Apart from that, we sell furniture, paintings, china, porcelain, and other collectibles, and silver stuff. Sometime later I had the idea to continue with jewelry, so I started with diamonds since diamondology is what I specialize in”, says George.
From this emerged the idea for him to try and sell his artworks and jewelry through infomercials. As he points out – “at first it seemed very strange, but then, it went really well, so nowadays we are considered one of the most popular companies on the Greek territory.”
“Afterward, I grew my business and opened 22 stores in Greece and four other countries, including Cyprus, Spain, Bulgaria, Egypt with 180 people working for me. To emphasize, in reality, we are auctioneers – we have an auction house and we are mainly selling all kinds of jewelry. Now we have an everyday live show on television and our own studios where we broadcast it from to Greece and Cyprus”, he adds.
George expanded his business on a large scale during that time until the emergence of the crises in Greece. As he explains – “the last government we had was a very bad experience because everything went down – it was a communist government, which is so strange for this country – the country of democrats to have a communist party. They went down now after 4 and a half years but we had a very hard time. I closed most of my stores, I kept one here in Athens and one in Hilton hotel in Cyprus.
After the closure of many of his stores, George continued running the television business and hosting everyday live auctions. He still sells all kinds of precious jewelry, diamonds, antique jewelry, victorian, Art-Deco, Art-Nuvo, retro style, vintage jewelry from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and even modern contemporary jewelry from different Italian designers, including Carlo Palmiero.
GT Tsangarakis live auctions last for 2 to 3 hours and during that time the audience is bidding through their phones, regardless of their location in the country. Recently, with the idea to expand his portfolio with watches from brands like Esprit, Gant, and Juicy Couture, George decided to reach out to BrandsGateway and start a collaboration. So, his live shows were enriched with BrandsGateway’s watches aside from his usual jewelry pieces.
Speaking of challenges and obstacles, Covid-19 is yet another of the challenges brought to George that made him broaden his horizon and start thinking about growing his business in yet another direction. At the moment, he and his team are preparing to launch their platform for online auctions – GTB Online Auctions.
“The Covid-19 has shown to be good for us. Understandably, nobody wants to go on like this but, on the other hand, in our business, it’s good because the market is closed, all the stores are closed and we are the only company in Greece that does this type of live TV auctions where people can buy and even sell their jewelry to us. Particularly, our income went up to more than 50% because we are selling high-end pieces on television and delivering them to our customers’ homes in Greece and Cyprus. And we are running around 320.000 customers in this small country”, George points out.
“These challenging times provided us with the opportunity to look beyond TV auctions and got us to the decision to start a platform for online auctions. The idea with these online auctions is to attract more customers, for example, between 30 and 40 years, because now our customers are mostly ladies ranging between 55 and 80 years and also to expand our portfolio and sell more of BrandsGateway’s products, aside from the watches and sunglasses,” he adds.
George specializes in high-end jewelry and precious stones, but as he emphasizes – “sometimes people wish to buy different things at more convenient prices, for example, for a present. This is where BrandsGateway’s branded women’s and men’s watches come as the perfect offer.”
He finds the women’s watches by Esprit and Juicy Couture, and the men’s watches by Gant as the perfect fit for people who want to buy more affordable but yet branded and luxury models of watches either for themselves or for as a gift. When it comes to the watches he notes that branded watches like those that BrandsGateway offers – with an elegant and luxurious look decorated with gold and silver details, as well as with stones or Swarovski crystals are very popular and sellable. George sells BrandsGateway’s collection of watches through his TV infomercials and on his official website. To give a better perspective of the volume of branded watches that he purchases from BrandsGateway – in just two weeks he managed to sell 250 watches.
When it comes to the other luxury items featured in the extensive BrandsGateway’s portfolio, George additionally purchases casual women’s clothing by Silvian Heach, stylish women’s sunglasses by Dsquared², and elegant men’s shoes by Dolce & Gabbana. Having BrandsGateway as his supplier of luxury watches, sunglasses, shoes, and clothing, George highlights that the service and support he receives from BrandsGateway’s team has been perfect.
To the question – How did he hear about BrandsGateway and whether he is satisfied with the profit he has gained so far he explains that after doing research on stocks and luxury products, he came across BrandsGateway’s portfolio of branded products and decided to feature them in his collection and selling them through live auctions and on his official website.
Talking about other channels that he uses for selling his products, George says – “After working for 31 years with television, infomercials have shown to be the most effective way for us to sell our products, so this is our top channel at the moment. We are also using social media, however, with much less success since our target audience is of older age and is not very familiar with social media channels and the Internet. This is the reason why we will be launching a new platform for online auctions – to focus on a younger audience as well. And we have high hopes that our products – BrandsGateway’s items included, would be sold very well.”
Asked about what the future holds and whether he is looking into expanding towards other selection of branded items, like the rest of what BrandsGateway specializes in, such as luxury accessories and handbags, George adds that he was selling handbags before when he was supplying them from private sources at 20% off the retail price and we selling them at 50% off. However, they managed to sell 4.000 handbags for two years and decided to move onto other types of items.
Finally, he emphasizes that the experience he had with BrandsGateway’s team so far was perfect. One thing he wishes for is an expanded portfolio – an element that BrandsGateway’s team is already working on as they announced the arrival of new brands and products, particularly in the categories of branded watches and sunglasses for women and men.
“The watches that you have are great for selling at the moment on the live TV shows, however, with our new platform coming live, I think there would be a possibility also for other products of the BrandsGateway portfolio”, states George.
In the end, to those thinking about breaking into the business of selling luxury goods, especially watches, George gives the advice to look into offering anything that is good looking, gold or silver plated, with stones or crystals and that is of at least 30-40 mm, and more specifically branded.