High-end second-hands

The Philippine Star Business As Usual
February 2, 2004
By Carla Paras-Sison

During his high school days, Eduardo Tantoco Lopez III rented out comic books to classmates. Today, Lopez sells pre-owned quality brands of Swiss watches like Rolex and Vacheron Constantin, first-rate diamond jewelry, and art pieces.

“The knack for business runs in the blood,” said Lopez, president of Secondo Pre-owned Time & Pieces, which is based in Glorietta 2 of the Ayala Commercial Center. “I was influenced by the success of second-hand golf shops. I think everybody loves a good deal, value for money,” said Lopez.

“He is good buyer like his grandmother, the late Gliceria Rustia Tantoco, who was famous to having an eye for good products and brands. High-class products with good value has been at the heart of the Tantocos’ success in the retail business,” said partner and vice-president for finance and administration Elizabeth Enriquez Dizon.

Starting out with a capital of P5 million, the partners opened Secondo in April 2003 as a facilitator of item exchanges between buyers and sellers, charging a commission on consigned goods.

Growing Market

The market for pre-owned original pieces has expanded, in part because of increased consumer pragmatism in an economic downturn and in part because some rare pieces and limited edition collectibles appreciate in value.

“We love making people happy. Our sellers are winners because they get the price for their goods. They give their own asking price and the market later dictates the fair value. Our buyers are winners too because we effectively cut the margin of the middlemen. Some of our indirect competitors have extremely high margins,” Lopez said.

Since most buyers prefer the authority of the watch’s official service center, Secondo has done away with dedicated technicians. This reliance on the official service center increases overhead expenses but is considered a value-adding service.

“We go to lengths to make our customers feel they are getting a good deal. And many of them have already done the rounds of the watch shops so you can’t fool them,” said Lopez.

In an effort to increase its stock on hand, Secondo has begun to offer a special consignment-loan package for sellers. It offers a maximum load value for the item and charges the amount when it gets sold. This allows the sellers to use the cash from the loan even before the item is sold.