SPOTLIGHT ON: TREASURES OF NYC CO-FOUNDER, ROBERT BIRD
How'd you get started?
I moved to New York to be on the accounting and finance side of things. Didn't have a job and moved. Crossed my fingers hoping that something would work.
I literally applied to 500 jobs just waiting to get my foot in the door so I started at Lord & Taylor for a little bit then I just kind of knew corporate fashion was for me. From there I started merchandising and enjoyed the side of being between business, with the designers, with the sales team and being t middleman in between. But there was always a creative side that I wanted to dig a deeper into. So then I moved around to a few different companies and it was too straight-laced.
It all started when my girlfriend was putting away something in her closet to throw away. Some of the items had names I heard of before. Then suggested we list some of it on eBay to see if there would be any traction from it. If not then we could donate what didn't sell. Nothing got donated. The traction came immediately and people were bidding, asking questions, and very receptive to the items listed. After getting a high from it I would go around to different stores and thrift shops to find things with well known names.
From there I started contacting people that I knew at companies I worked at that cycled through bags and offered my services: white glove pick up, photographing the items, and handling the listing on eBay. That's when things picked up. Along with our travels, we've been to a few different countries and met people at different companies that we supply from. Now it's our day to day and we really put everything into it.
How long did it take you?
We started in 2015. The first couple of months were a little rocky in figuring out the ins and outs of authentication, pricing, and structure of the industry because one bad review and could be the end of your business. From the beginning, we made sure everything was 100% then launched our e-commerce platform.
What did you do about pricing?
We always check competitors (The RealReal, Fashionphile, etc.) and brought our prices little lower to capture our audience and understand them. The quality and customer service is what's kept clients coming back to make us their "one-stop shop for vintage and new fashion."
How can people sell with Treasures of NYC?
If they are based in New York, we offer a white glove service. If not we'll send them a FedEx insured label and they can ship the item in.
What's payout look like?
For items under $5,000 we can typically purchase the item outright via cash or PayPal. Items of high value, over $5,000 like your Birkins and Chanel (depending on model and condition) we'll opt for consignment with a 70/30 split.
Can sellers opt for store credit in lieu of cash?
It would be about 80%
Where do people usually find you?
Word of mouth or Instagram. Instagram is our #1 source of new customers. Clients would message us, we'd get their email, and send a PayPal or Square invoice. Those items we call our "flash sale" items because of how quickly people respond to the posts. If you haven't already done so check them out on Instagram @treasuresofnyc
What does expansion look like for you in the next few years?
Look out for our pop up shops with partners in New York City and The Hamptons.
What's your target demographic?
You know fashion these days, it's changing a lot. Like you said you wanted the "big girl" bag to start your corporate job. It's not just that 40 year old executive women who finally made it and can buy the Chanel bag. Right out of college there is a way and the will for the girl who wants to "rock her sweats and Chanel bag to get her iced coffee." It;s such a demographic where anything goes and we really stand behind that.
Our number one item right now. is the Chanel fanny pack after Kendall Jenner wore it. There's a lot of 19-24 year old women who love this and buying secondhand they can afford it and get that look they want. We'd love to supply that for them and then some.
Top brands for you?
Chanel is #1 we have the most competitive price point for Chanel in good condition, Louis Vuitton based on volume, and Hermes when it comes to price point. Gucci is the fourth coming up strong with the rebranding.
There are some women who'd give their items from the 90s to their nannies or maids instead of selling them. Have you guys considered selling those items too?
We'll really inspect everything that comes in. We'll do new and vintage because there are still somethings from that era that have a certain structure or look that people are looking for so we'd like to cater to them too. It's not always about the name. Just because it has a logo on it we're not going to take it, it's really about quality and relevance to our target market.
If there are items that you won't consider, what do you do to break it to customers?
We'll offer them a list of items that we are accepting.
Describe your day to day:
First thing I do is check e-mails whether it be products people want me to look at to see if we want to bring it in, items on or website or Instagram.
Then I start sourcing from clients around the world extending to Japan and The Phillipines. From thousands of items, we'll narrow it down to what will work with our warehouse.
Afterwards we'll do 3-4 shipments a day. We're huge on packaging and delicate with the tissue paper and branded stickers. There's nothing better than getting home from a long day of work and seeing a package that was packaged just for you.
How's it working with your fiance everyday?
We balance each other out perfectly. We're constantly bouncing ideas of each other for business and creative ideas. We've been able to make it this far and I see many more years to come for us.
Coming up with a name for a business is so hard. What was the inspiration behind your name: Treasures of New York?
Since we've moved here, we've always been into vintage: furniture, clothing, etc. as explorers looking for hidden items that we'd like to call treasures. On the weekends, we'd go to Connecticut since there are a lot of flea markets up there and we started to get things that couldn't fit in our small New York apartment anymore so we wanted to start offering these treasures to everyone else. It's all cool coming from New York City. we curate and collect in New York City then ship it our so nothing is being drop shipped from somewhere else. Essentially, we're taking our own treasures and offering it to the rest of the world.