Handcrafted jewelry has always had an edge over commercial competitors: It comes in unique, eye-catching designs that can’t be duplicated by mass producers. Looking Glass Designs further differentiates itself by providing wholesalers the opportunity to purchase
its one-of-a-kind products at low prices.
Gale Franko, owner of Looking Glass Designs, recently spoke with the GoPayment Blog about how accepting mobile payments has cut operating costs for the company.
GoPayment: What sets your business apart from other online retail businesses?
Franko: Looking Glass Designs produces high-quality, unique handcrafted art-glass jewelry and home decor. We primarily sell wholesale to galleries, gift shops, museum shops, resorts, jewelry stores, and other gift and accessories-related businesses. We reach most of our customers through Wholesalecrafts.com, a wholesale site exclusively for quality handcrafted art and gifts. We also sell at wholesale trade shows. Some of these are order-writing shows and some are cash-and-carry venues. Occasionally, we do some smaller retail shows in our local area, but most of our business is wholesale.
As a wholesaler, your customer base is different from an online retailer who deals directly with customers. Is your approach to marketing different because of this?
We market Looking Glass Designs via national advertising in trade publications, the Wholesalecrafts.com Buyer’s Guides, direct marketing via mailings and Constant Contact emails, and also a Facebook business page. Because we are a wholesale business, we make every effort to protect the market areas of our retailer customers: We do not do any retail business that would undercut the sales in their markets. If we receive retail requests from their area, we refer those customers to that retailer’s business.
What do you feel is most challenging about running an online business?
The biggest business challenge we face is making a high-quality product that can provide a good return for our retailer customers. Keeping business expenses down, but the quality high, is always at the top of our priority list.
How has the business changed since you started in 1996?
The changes that we have made to our business since we started in 1996 are primarily in our products themselves. We have expanded our lines and streamlined our designs for efficient production techniques. In an art-glass business, your product is constantly evolving with your artistic skills and interests.
On the business level, we have strived to broaden the variety of our price points to accommodate the changing economy. This has served us well during the recession.
How has GoPayment helped your business?
One of the ways we have been able to minimize our expenses is by switching from our previous merchant account providers to the Intuit GoPayment system. We now pay much lower per transaction fees and do not have a lot of questionable fees like “statement fees” and “PCI Compliance fees.”
Now we no longer have to purchase or rent a wireless terminal for our credit card transactions, nor do we have to pay additional monthly wireless fees for that terminal. GoPayment is small, lightweight, and as compact a cell phone can be, making for one less piece of office equipment that we have to transport to and from trade shows.