Coming home to find your fiancée’s diamond engagement ring abandoned on the table doesn’t seem like a situation with many upsides. But for Josh Opperman, the end of a romantic relationship left him engaged with something far shinier.
In an effort to move on, the former market researcher decided to sell the ring, expecting to recoup a fair portion of the $10,000 he’d spent.
Instead, retailers offered him, at most, 35 percent of its value. In 2007 a frustrated Opperman founded I Do Now I Don’t, an online marketplace for “pre-loved” engagement rings.
“We have a higher average sale than most e-commerce sites that sell engagement rings, and I think that’s because of the safety and the reputation that we have,” Opperman says. Indeed, he notes, consumer confidence is the company’s central selling point. When a sale is made via the online marketplace, the money is put in escrow, and the item is sent to I Do Now I Don’t in New York City, where it is verified by a gemologist. “This way, it’s impossible for someone to get scammed,” Opperman says.
There’s no charge to post an item on the site, which takes a 15 percent cut of the sale price. Sellers typically recover 40 to 60 percent of their item’s retail value. There’s even a 10-day guarantee if a customer isn’t happy with a purchase. (But, Opperman boasts, there has never been a return.)
I Do Now I Don’t averages 325 listings per month and 150 transactions, generating monthly sales of about $200,000. The site has expanded beyond engagement rings to all types of jewelry, and even wedding dresses.
Not all that long ago, proposing with a secondhand diamond–especially one bought online–would have been unthinkable to many. Now, however, “the stigma of buying something pre-owned or old is gone,” according to Farnoosh Torabi, a personal finance expert in New York City. “If there’s anything the recession in particular has taught consumers and has ingrained in their mindsets [it’s that] you don’t pay retail. Period.”