Industry Insider: Tom Johnson Is Changing The Face Of Online Vintage & Luxury SalesAuthor:Lindsey Shook
Ruby Network CEO, President and Founder, Tom Johnson, is altering the face of online luxury vintage and collectibles sales, one Antique 1802 Danish Jurgen Kaadtmann Painted Pine Grandfather Clock at a time. A veteran of the technology industry and an innovator in the e-commerce realm with a career spanning over 30 years, Johnson left his position at IBM in 1995 in order to pursue a more creative passion.
Born from a love of collecting 1950s California pottery but discovering that most of the pieces he wanted to acquire could only be found through creative online hunting, (and due to the early stages of the Internet, securing a complete set of anything proved extremely difficult) Johnson decided to utilize his high-tech background and step in.
Named after his mother, Ruby, Johnson launched Ruby Lane, the world’s largest curated marketplace for vintage and antiques, in 1998, Ruby Real or Repro, a premier online source to help buyers research and identify reproductions, in 2013, and in October of 2015, Johnson debuted RubyLUX, an online platform that empowers luxury product dealers with the most effective and diverse 21st century sales tools available.
Currently showcasing over 150 dealers from the U.S. Canada and Europe, RubyLUX refuses to charge commission on sales, enabling dealers to offer the customer the best possible price, as well as encouraging both parties to communicate directly to establish relationships. RubyLUX also prides itself on not coming between the designer and dealer; so all communication on the sale is private.
In the wake of leaving a finely curated mark on the vintage online trade world, Johnson is still looking toward the future. “As we approach two decades of online selling, I’m sensing we’re coming into a perfect balance between dealers selling online and in their brick and mortar stores,” says Johnson, “dealers that take advantage of that symbiotic relationship will thrive.”
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