The Opal Auctions Family Business Story
Priča o obiteljskom poduzetništvu Opal Auctions
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“A family working together is unstoppable”

–Wayne Sedawie 2012 

Timeline of Events

iilybs1v4lkmidgf.jpg1986 – Paul Sedawie Begins an Opal Mining Venture at Four Mile Opal Fields

1992 – Branching Out with Opal Wholesaling

2003 – Pursuing E-Commerce and Planting the Seed for Opal Auctions

2006 – Tucson Gem Show: A Disaster Turned Success

2008 – Bringing in More Family

2020 – Thriving Through the Pandemic

1986, How it all started: Paul Sedawie Begins an Opal Mining Venture

Sometimes we set out on a course that inevitably takes a detour. And if you’re lucky, that detour leads to treasure. That’s exactly what happened to Paul Sedawie, who lived in Melbourne, Australia and had a strong desire to try his luck at gold mining. While Paul didn’t strike gold, a series of events led him toward something more beautiful than he could’ve ever imagined: opals. Not just opal stones, but opals that would build a family legacy and become a dominating enterprise in the gemstone industry.

In 1986, Paul had a dream to go gold mining, and in light of a recent divorce, he decided it was now or never. He began his journey north in search of gold and passed through the famous opal mining town at Lightning Ridge. However, his path was interrupted by massive floods, and he could not proceed. With his dreams of gold seeming out of reach, he opted to stay in the nearby town.

As luck would have it, he ran into his school buddy, Bob Young, who offered him a stay at his camp, and talked him into abandoning his gold pursuit to instead go opal mining at the famous Four Mile opal fields. However, the luck didn’t last long with their small jack hammer operation, that was, until he met another opal miner, Chris, and they joined forces to create an opal mining operation.

paul sedawieBeing born and bred in Lightning Ridge – the Opal capital of the world – Chris is a second-generation opal miner who knew the lay of the land and best opal mining methods.

Currently, Chris is a seller on Opal Auctions under the name “Opal Rush.” Years before Opal Auctions launched online in the early 2000s, Paul and Chris were in the opal fields in a quest to unearth the world-renowned Australian opals.

Paul was so enamoured with opal mining and the lifestyle that his yearning for gold quickly transformed into an opal obsession. But his love for opals started long before his opal mining days.

Paul can remember buying his first boulder opal at the young age of twelve. There in the dusty open country, he poured his entire focus into unearthing the famous opals that only the climate and geology of this arid region could produce.

Leaving the gold and jack hammer operation in the dust, Paul invested in a claim with a caravan and necessary equipment at the Four Mile opal field in Lightning ridge. Like all new pursuits, striking gold – or in this case, opals – takes time, persistence, and hard work. In the beginning, Paul and his colleagues would wake up early, have breakfast, and go straight down the hole to begin mining. After more than a solid week of digging, the team unearthed their first opal stone!

While it may not have been a fine-quality elusive black opal, that half carat stone was a beacon of success, offering Paul hope of what could come, which is why he still has that first opal as a keepsake.

One month later, they unearthed a large crystal opal. Overcome with excitement, they had anticipated getting $1,000 for the stone, but unfortunately, the specimen contained sand throughout, and it only sold for $100. Paul knew there would be a fair share of upsets and a huge learning curve, but he persisted. He knew that opal mining is extremely hard work and being in the hole every day gave him a healthy respect for the work miners do, and an understanding of how hard it is to find opals.

After nine hard months of mining in harsh conditions, Paul pivoted his efforts and started dealing in rough opal.

Meanwhile, Paul’s twin brother, Wayne, lived in Perth, Western Australia. In 1989, Wayne was recovering from an ankle injury, so Paul sent him some opals from his mine and a cutting machine.

“How do I cut opals?” Wayne asked. Paul’s reply? “Just use your common sense!”

Well, Wayne didn’t think he had any common sense to do the task, but nevertheless, he quickly found himself thoroughly enjoying cutting rough opals. Maybe it was natural intuition or persistence to learn the craft, but he learned as he went and found the process rewarding.

With the brothers both engrossed in the rough opal enterprise, in 1992, Wayne moved 4,000 kilometres to the Gold Coast, Queensland, with his wife, Estela, and their two boys, Jason and Mark in tow. New roots planted, they set up a cutting room at The Mark Building on Orchid Avenue in Surfers Paradise to begin building their company.

1992, Branching Out with Opal Wholesaling

In no time, the rough opal cutting enterprise was up and running. Paul would supply the rough opal to Wayne and Estela, who would get to work cutting 120 opals every day. Working in a rhythm, Wayne would rub down the rough opals and pass them over to Estela, who would shape and polish the opals on the dob sticks.

In the 90s, Surfers Paradise was full of Japanese tourist shops, so Paul would supply opals to the jewellery manufacturers in town.

After Estela had cut 1,000 opals, she went and sold the opals to the shops since she had accumulated a breadth of knowledge accompanied by cutting experience to appreciate the rare opal colors.

One day, Chris showed them a red on black opal that he was proud of, and Wayne said “it’s orange not red.” Chris’ own face flared red and wild, and since then, there has been an ongoing joke about how red (or orange!) an opal is.

Quickly, the family became opal wholesalers across Australia and New Zealand. The twin brothers accrued hundreds of wholesale accounts and they each began travelling and selling monthly. This is what first led Paul to the Tucson Gem Show in 2008, which we’ll elaborate on later.

The brothers discovered that some clients would buy more from one twin than another, so both would carry all their stock to accommodate each client’s needs. At the end of the month, they would balance who owed each other and settle up. Back then, the paperwork was complicated or at best ‘sloppy’, so it was difficult to get accurate sales. The twins played the guessing game many times, as thankfully, money wasn’t the issue, so it didn’t matter if one got paid as it would eventually all balance out.

Paul had established opal mining partnerships, so sometimes the split was 60-40, but the twins both thought they had the higher number of sales, and this became another ongoing family joke. But the family’s profitable opal business wasn’t solely motivated by money, but by the lifestyle and enjoyment that aligned closely with their family values. The brothers relied on a strong system of trust and transparency, and this became a vital component of their relationship and the family business. Because of this trust, business was easy and rewarding.

As the family expanded the operation, they employed Patrik in 2006 to help service the client base. Today, Patrik has his own site “Rolling Stone Opals” on Opal Auctions.

The business continued to expand and thrive, and along with hiring Patrik, opened an opal cutting factory in HCM, Vietnam, with a staff of workers cutting and polishing opals, while making silver and gold opal jewellery.

Business was great, and the family was selling silver opal jewellery to hundreds of shops across Australia. But unfortunately, the family’s success was cut short after five years, when Chinese sellers undercut their prices by half, and they couldn’t compete with these slashed prices.

Heading to Vietnam to close the factory, Wayne took samples of the Chinese silver jewellery they couldn’t compete against and showed it to the workers. To everyone’s shock, a Vietnamese jeweller cut the silver pendant in half, and exposed that the metal was actually a pewter in rhodium plating – not genuine silver! Can you believe it? Neither could Wayne! But of course, it all made sense in that moment that the Chinese sellers could only halve our prices because the jewellery wasn’t genuine silver.

What did we do next?

2003, Pursuing E-Commerce and Planting the Seed for Opal Auctions

Wayne attended the Las Vegas Gem Show in the US to sell opals but did not sell any because he quickly became distracted by talk of the internet and online business. A wonderful venture blossomed from this experience. At the show, there were seminars from eBay sharing information about the internet and the lucrative potential of e-commerce.

The events were so exciting that Wayne forgot to sell any opals, and instead spent his trip going from seminar to seminar and chatting with people full time to learn as much as he could.

One day, he went for coffee and all of the tables were full, so he sat next to a guy who was going around asking for close out stocks to purchase. Wayne had many chats and found out that this guy was buying stock for Bidz, an online jewellery company. The man suggested that Wayne and the family business should open an online opal site because selling online was the future.

At the seminars, Wayne also met a retired NASA scientist who shared with him many entertaining stories about how he used mathematical equations for everything. His position also included how much oxygen an astronaut requires when in space. He told stories about how they would monitor Russian spaceships and listen to the astronauts when they ran out of air and died. What did this have to do with selling opals online?

When Wayne visited the man’s home, his bathroom walls were full of mathematical equations, and he said that eBay’s formula wasn’t sustainable as the sheer volume of sellers could not make enough income.

Initially, Wayne wasn’t sure what he meant by eBay’s formula being unsustainable, because in those days, many businesspeople said eBay was for slaves only, and that only eBay will make money online, not the sellers. Looking at eBay today, you have to wonder if these businesspeople were correct?

These two men influenced Wayne to start Opal Auctions, and what he learned was that to compete, the business had to have a better system than eBay. How would we take a completely fresh approach that succeeded against the e-commerce giant that was eBay?

At Opal Auctions, we decided from the beginning that our Sellers must be verified with product knowledge, and that only approved professional laboratories would handle certificates.

estella sedawieWe started the Opal Sheriff and Verified program in 2005 to include authentic descriptions of every stone sold through our platform. eBay, on the other hand, didn’t roll out this type of system until October 2020, a whopping 15 years after we started ours!

In a winner takes all business environment, Wayne realized that our auction website needed to be more than just user-friendly to succeed; it needed trusted systems that prioritized time and information for buyers.

In 2003, he joined eBay and started selling but was hopeless at anything online, so his two teenage sons, Jason and Mark, helped set up eBay, email, and payment systems. Wayne realized that he’d have to venture away from eBay to make a profitable business. But how?

Remember that in 2003, the cost of a computer was $4,000, and a monthly internet plan (that was extremely slow in those days) was $500 per month. The computer was in Wayne’s son, Mark’s bedroom, and they had an uphill battle to work through all the bugs and tech issues. But like all business ventures, we all learnt a lot, and in 2004, we purchased a Spanish system for our online auctions and officially launched Opal Auctions in 2005.

As you can imagine, our start-up was anything but smooth and we had so many technical problems. For example, we built a video system in 2008 that cost us $15,000 just to make super basic videos filmed on a $3,000 camera. Fast forward to today and you can film superior video content on your mobile phones. But at the time, we had to work with the technology available, not knowing then that it would drastically improve over the coming years.

For the first five years, we lost a lot of money just trying to build the new online sites. But we all persisted because we believed in the potential of the online business when done right – for the users with transparent information and trusted buyer programs.

Once we got up and running and worked out all the kinks, we started to put the site out for sellers to join the platform. Our brother Paul and his partner Sally Patel were the first to join our online auction platform.

From there we continued to expand the family business. Both of Paul’s sons, Peter and Ross, are sellers and Sally Patel’s family of seven became individual sellers based in Australia and Tucson, Arizona, USA. We have always built our business around family values and that is what has remained constant through all of the shifts and turns in the evolution of Opal Auctions. The passion for opals is rooted not only in the family business, but our family history as well.

Ross cut his first Opal at 8 years old, and his son Hamish just carried on the family legacy by cutting his first opal at 8 years old, too.

What can we say, opals are in our blood! So, how did we get everyone else to jump onboard with Opal Auctions? We knew we needed to raise awareness about our company, so Wayne packed up once again for a trip, this time heading to the United States to attend the Tucson Gem Show in Arizona.

2006, Tucson Gem Show: A Disaster Turned Success

Wayne travelled with Patrik from Rollingstone Opals to launch Opal Auctions at the world-famous Tucson Gem Show in the US.

Upon arrival, things got off to a bleak start. They knew they had something special, but convincing others proved to be a difficult task. They were placed in a dead-end location at Days Inn, with little foot traffic. It was depressing, and the first client in a business suit told them that the internet was designed for war, and that Opal Auctions would never work.

The second client owned four shops in California and said that people would not buy opals online.
Finally, their third client saw some potential, and said they had a brilliant idea, amazing stock, and wished them the best of luck. They were happy to have some positive feedback… until they noticed that right after he left, their best rough black opal was missing! He had sweet talked them and stolen it right from under their noses.

What a disappointment! Making matters worse, they hadn’t filled out their forms for electricity for the show, so the bill was $1500 instead of $500.

Obviously, this was their last Gem Show in Tucson! Paul participated in Tucson shows for 20 years, but now, with online selling going so well, he’s stopped selling at Trade Shows.

The business started to pick up some momentum with the online auction site, but in those early days of e-commerce, technical difficulties were never far behind.

In 2007, the site crashed, and we lost most our buyers, as our Australian server could not handle requests. Around the same time, Steve joined us and taught himself computer coding. Today, he is our head coder and manages our massive server that can handle thousands of requests per minute, and he is forever building more improvements to our site.

2008, Bringing in More Family

By 2008, our system had greatly improved and was expanded to include more unique features. We had come a long way from our first system in 2004. In fact, we began a system called “Know Your Customer” before it was fashionable and status-quo for online business. With this program, all sellers had to be verified first, and our Opal Sheriff program and Item Watch program proved successful. Needless to say, Wayne was very fortunate and grateful to have met those two guys in Las Vegas who encouraged him to be more creative and push the envelope on his ideas.

In 2012, Paul’s sons officially joined our team.

Before joining the team, Ross was an engineer at Holden in Melbourne, Australia, and undertook a Gemmology course. He is now one of our gemmologists, as well as working with his wife Terese, who holds a double degree of IT and Accounting with years of experience with small business and the corporate sector. Together, they are an ideal team that handles the SEO, marketing, and improvement division. They have overseen many user-friendly aspects added to our platform.

ross sedawieterese sedawiePeter has been opal mining in Lightning Ridge for over 15 years. He is an accomplished and skilled opal cutter and is now our head cutter at Opal Auctions headquarter office where we cut around 4,000 opals per month. Peter took over his grandpa’s Opal Auctions selling site called “Anembo Opals.”

xvvwicrmm1l06pbj.jpgWe have been through many ups and downs since those early days when Paul started opal mining at the Four Miles opal fields, but nothing could have prepared us for what was to come in 2020.

2020, Thriving Through the Pandemic

The Coronavirus pandemic had a massive effect on our buyers and sellers worldwide. There are so many traditional buyers who did Trade Shows that stopped buying. However, these were replaced by people buying and starting their own online business selling on social sites.

wayne sedawieYou can never predict the impact a worldwide health crisis will have on the global economy, and we weren’t sure what to expect for our family business. Fortunately, due to the heightened activity in online selling, our sales leapt up around a 70% per month average from previous years.

In April 2021, Paul made the largest donation to date to the Australian Opal Centre at Lightning Ridge -- the largest and most diverse donation of rare opalised fossils and opal-related curiosities ever gifted to a public institution.

In June 2021, Opal Auctions won the Family Business award in Gold Coast, Australia where the head office is based.

Looking back at our family’s journey in the opal industry and e-commerce opal market, we have covered a lot of ground, physically and digitally! We have always believed that when a family comes together utilizing everyone’s talents, skills, gifts, and determination, while always putting family first, a business will be unstoppable.

It hasn’t always been easy, but we’ve stuck together through the ups and downs. Opals run through our veins and colour our lives, and we don’t plan on stopping any time soon!

Paul compiled online opal gallery of his most prized opals collected over the years, which you can view at the link below.

Click To Download The Ebook

“Obitelj koja radi zajedno je nezaustavljiva”

– Wayne Sedawie 2012

Vremenska traka događaja

iilybs1v4lkmidgf.jpg 1986. – Paul Sedawie započinje pothvat rudarenja opala na Four Mile Opal Fields

1992. – Razgranavanje s veleprodajom opala

2003. – Provođenje e-trgovine i sadnja sjemena za aukcije opala

2006. – Tucson Gem Show: Katastrofa pretvorena u uspjeh

2008. – Dovođenje više obitelji

2020. – Uspjeh kroz pandemiju

1986., Kako je sve počelo: Paul Sedawie započinje pothvat rudarenja opala

Ponekad krenemo kursom koji neizbježno ide zaobilaznim putem. A ako imaš sreće, taj zaobilazni put vodi do blaga. Upravo to se dogodilo Paulu Sedawieju, koji je živio u Melbourneu u Australiji i imao je snažnu želju okušati sreću u kopanju zlata. Iako Paul nije postigao zlato, niz događaja doveo ga je do nečega ljepšeg nego što je ikada mogao zamisliti: opala. Ne samo opal kamenje, već opali koji će izgraditi obiteljsku ostavštinu i postati dominantno poduzeće u industriji dragog kamenja.

Godine 1986. Paul je sanjao da se bavi kopanjem zlata, a u svjetlu nedavnog razvoda odlučio je da je to sada ili nikad. Započeo je svoje putovanje prema sjeveru u potrazi za zlatom i prošao kroz poznati rudarski grad opala u Lightning Ridgeu. Međutim, put su mu prekinule velike poplave i nije mogao dalje. Budući da su se njegovi snovi o zlatu činili nedostižnim, odlučio je ostati u obližnjem gradu.

Srećom, naletio je na svog školskog prijatelja Boba Younga, koji mu je ponudio boravak u njegovom kampu i nagovorio ga da odustane od potrage za zlatom i umjesto toga krene u kopanje opala na poznatim poljima opala Four Mile. Međutim, sreća nije dugo potrajala s njihovim malim čekićem, sve dok nije upoznao drugog rudara opala, Chrisa, i udružili su snage kako bi stvorili operaciju rudarenja opala.

paul sedawie Budući da je rođen i odrastao u Lightning Ridgeu – svjetskoj prijestolnici opala – Chris je druga generacija rudara opala koji je poznavao stanje zemlje i najbolje metode vađenja opala.

Trenutačno, Chris je prodavač na Opal Auctions pod imenom "Opal Rush". Godinama prije nego što su Opal Auctions pokrenute online početkom 2000-ih, Paul i Chris bili su u poljima opala u potrazi za iskopavanjem svjetski poznatih australskih opala.

Paul je bio toliko oduševljen rudarenjem opala i načinom života da se njegova čežnja za zlatom brzo pretvorila u opsesiju. Ali njegova ljubav prema opalima započela je mnogo prije njegovih dana rudarenja opala.

Paul se sjeća da je kupio svoj prvi balvan opal u dobi od dvanaest godina. Tamo, na prašnjavoj otvorenoj zemlji, sav je svoj fokus uložio u otkopavanje poznatih opala koje su mogle proizvesti samo klima i geologija ove sušne regije.

Ostavivši operaciju zlata i čekića u prašini, Paul je uložio potraživanje s kamp prikolicom i potrebnom opremom na polju opala Four Mile u Lightning ridgeu. Kao i sve nove potjere, za postizanje zlata – ili u ovom slučaju, opala – potrebno je vrijeme, upornost i naporan rad. U početku bi se Paul i njegovi kolege rano probudili, doručkovali i krenuli ravno u rupu kako bi započeli rudarenje. Nakon više od solidnog tjedna kopanja, tim je iskopao svoj prvi kamen opal!

Iako to možda nije bio nedostižni crni opal fine kvalitete, taj polukaratni kamen bio je svjetionik uspjeha, nudeći Paulu nadu u ono što bi moglo doći, zbog čega još uvijek ima taj prvi opal za uspomenu.

Mjesec dana kasnije, iskopali su veliki kristalni opal. Obuzeti uzbuđenjem, očekivali su da će dobiti 1000 dolara za kamen, ali nažalost, primjerak je u cijelom sadržavao pijesak, a prodavao se samo za 100 dolara. Paul je znao da će biti dosta uzrujanosti i velike krivulje učenja, ali je ustrajao. Znao je da je vađenje opala izuzetno težak posao i svaki dan u rupi dao mu je zdravo poštovanje prema radu rudara i razumijevanje koliko je teško pronaći opal.

Nakon devet teških mjeseci rudarenja u teškim uvjetima, Paul je okrenuo svoje napore i počeo se baviti grubim opalom.

U međuvremenu, Paulov brat blizanac, Wayne, živio je u Perthu u Zapadnoj Australiji. Godine 1989. Wayne se oporavljao od ozljede gležnja, pa mu je Paul poslao opal iz svog rudnika i stroj za rezanje.

"Kako rezati opal?" upitao je Wayne. Paulov odgovor? "Samo se služi svojim zdravim razumom!"

Pa, Wayne nije mislio da ima imalo zdravog razuma da obavi taj zadatak, ali usprkos tome, brzo je shvatio da je potpuno uživao u rezanju grubih opala. Možda je to bila prirodna intuicija ili upornost da nauči zanat, ali on je učio kako je išao i smatrao da se proces isplati.

S braćom koja su bila zaokupljena grubim opalnim poduzećem, 1992. Wayne se preselio 4000 kilometara na Gold Coast, Queensland, sa svojom ženom Estelom i njihova dva dječaka, Jasonom i Markom u vuči. Zasadili su novo korijenje, postavili su rezonicu u The Mark Building na Orchid Avenue u Surfers Paradiseu kako bi počeli graditi svoju tvrtku.

1992., Razgranati s veleprodajom opala

Ubrzo je poduzeće za grubo rezanje opala pokrenuto. Paul bi grubi opal opskrbljivao Wayneu i Esteli, koji bi svaki dan prionuli na posao rezanja 120 opala. Radeći u ritmu, Wayne bi trljao grube opale i prenosio ih Esteli, koja bi oblikovala i polirala opale na dob štapovima.

Devedesetih je Surfers Paradise bio pun japanskih turističkih trgovina, pa je Paul opskrbljivao gradskim proizvođačima nakita.

Nakon što je Estela izrezala 1000 opala, otišla je i prodala opal trgovinama budući da je stekla širinu znanja popraćenog iskustvom rezanja kako bi cijenila rijetke boje opala.

Jednog dana, Chris im je pokazao crveni na crnom opalu na koji je bio ponosan, a Wayne je rekao “to je narančasto, a ne crveno”. Chrisovo je vlastito lice bljesnulo crveno i podivljalo, a od tada je u tijeku šala o tome kako je opal crven (ili narančast!).

Ubrzo je obitelj postala veletrgovci opala diljem Australije i Novog Zelanda. Braća blizanci su prikupila stotine veleprodajnih računa i svaki je počeo putovati i prodavati mjesečno. To je ono što je prvo dovelo Paula do Tucson Gem Showa 2008. godine, što ćemo kasnije razraditi.

Braća su otkrila da bi neki klijenti kupovali više od jednog blizanca od drugog, pa bi oboje nosili sve svoje zalihe kako bi zadovoljili potrebe svakog klijenta. Na kraju mjeseca izbalansirali bi tko je jedan drugome dužan i namirili se. Tada je papirologija bila komplicirana ili u najboljem slučaju 'traljava' pa je bilo teško doći do točne prodaje. Blizanci su mnogo puta igrali igru pogađanja, jer, srećom, novac nije bio problem, pa nije bilo važno hoće li netko biti plaćen jer bi se na kraju sve izjednačilo.

Paul je uspostavio partnerstva za rudarenje opala, pa je ponekad podjela iznosila 60-40, ali su blizanci obojica mislili da imaju veći broj prodaje, a to je postala još jedna stalna obiteljska šala. No, profitabilni obiteljski posao s opalom nije bio motiviran isključivo novcem, već stilom života i uživanjem koji su bili usko usklađeni s njihovim obiteljskim vrijednostima. Braća su se oslanjala na snažan sustav povjerenja i transparentnosti, a to je postalo vitalna komponenta njihova odnosa i obiteljskog posla. Zbog tog povjerenja posao je bio lak i isplativ.

Kako je obitelj proširila poslovanje, 2006. godine zaposlili su Patrika da pomogne u servisiranju baze klijenata. Danas Patrik ima svoju stranicu “Rolling Stone Opals” na Opal Auctions.

Posao se nastavio širiti i napredovati, a uz zapošljavanje Patrika, otvorio je tvornicu za rezanje opala u HCM-u u Vijetnamu, sa osobljem radnika koji režu i poliraju opale, dok izrađuju nakit od srebra i zlata od opala.

Posao je bio sjajan, a obitelj je prodavala nakit od srebrnog opala u stotine trgovina diljem Australije. No, nažalost, uspjeh obitelji prekinut je nakon pet godina, kada su kineski prodavači prepolovili svoje cijene i nisu se mogli natjecati s tim sniženim cijenama.

Uputivši se u Vijetnam kako bi zatvorio tvornicu, Wayne je uzeo uzorke kineskog srebrnog nakita s kojim se nisu mogli natjecati i pokazao ga radnicima. Na svačiji šok, vijetnamski draguljar prepolovio je srebrni privjesak i otkrio da je metal zapravo kositar obložen rodijem – a ne pravo srebro! Možeš li vjerovati? Nije mogao ni Wayne! No, naravno, sve je u tom trenutku imalo smisla da su nam kineski prodavači mogli samo prepoloviti cijene jer nakit nije bio od pravog srebra.

Što smo dalje radili?

2003., Provođenje e-trgovine i sadnja sjemena za aukcije opala

Wayne je prisustvovao Las Vegasu Gem Showu u SAD-u kako bi prodao opal, ali nije prodao niti jedan jer su ga brzo ometali razgovori o internetu i online poslovanju. Iz ovog iskustva procvjetao je prekrasan pothvat. Na sajmu su održani seminari s eBaya na kojima su se dijelile informacije o internetu i unosnom potencijalu e-trgovine.

Događaji su bili toliko uzbudljivi da je Wayne zaboravio prodati opal, te je umjesto toga proveo svoje putovanje idući od seminara do seminara i puno radno vrijeme razgovarajući s ljudima kako bi naučio što je više mogao.

Jednog je dana otišao na kavu i svi su stolovi bili puni, pa je sjeo pored tipa koji je išao okolo tražeći gotove dionice za kupnju. Wayne je mnogo razgovarao i otkrio da ovaj tip kupuje dionice za Bidz, online tvrtku za nakit. Čovjek je predložio da Wayne i obiteljska tvrtka otvore internetsku stranicu za opal jer je online prodaja budućnost.

Na seminarima je Wayne upoznao i umirovljenog NASA-inog znanstvenika koji je s njim podijelio mnoge zabavne priče o tome kako je koristio matematičke jednadžbe za sve. Njegov položaj također je uključivao koliko kisika treba astronautu kada je u svemiru. Pričao je priče o tome kako će nadzirati ruske svemirske brodove i slušati astronaute kada im ponestane zraka i umru. Kakve je to veze imalo s online prodajom opala?

Kad je Wayne posjetio čovjekov dom, zidovi njegove kupaonice bili su puni matematičkih jednadžbi, a on je rekao da eBayeva formula nije održiva jer golem broj prodavača ne može ostvariti dovoljan prihod.

U početku, Wayne nije bio siguran što je mislio pod time da je eBayeva formula neodrživa, jer su u to vrijeme mnogi poslovni ljudi govorili da je eBay samo za robove i da će samo eBay zarađivati na internetu, a ne prodavači. Gledajući danas eBay, morate se zapitati jesu li ovi poslovni ljudi bili u pravu?

Ova dva čovjeka utjecala su na Waynea da pokrene Opal Auctions, a ono što je naučio bilo je da posao mora imati bolji sustav od eBaya kako bi se natjecao. Kako bismo zauzeli potpuno svjež pristup koji je uspio protiv diva e-trgovine koji je bio eBay?

Na Opal Auctions smo od početka odlučili da naši Prodavatelji moraju biti verificirani s poznavanjem proizvoda, te da će samo ovlašteni profesionalni laboratoriji nositi certifikate.

estella sedawie Program Opal Sheriff and Verified pokrenuli smo 2005. kako bismo uključili autentične opise svakog kamena koji se prodaje putem naše platforme. eBay, s druge strane, nije uveo ovu vrstu sustava do listopada 2020., nevjerojatnih 15 godina nakon što smo mi pokrenuli svoj!

U pobjedniku preuzima sve poslovno okruženje, Wayne je shvatio da naše web-mjesto za aukciju mora biti više od jednostavnog za korisnika da bi uspjelo; trebali su mu pouzdani sustavi koji su davali prioritet vremenu i informacijama za kupce.

Godine 2003. pridružio se eBayu i počeo prodavati, ali je bio beznadan u bilo čemu online, pa su njegova dva sina tinejdžera, Jason i Mark, pomogli u postavljanju eBaya, e-pošte i sustava plaćanja. Wayne je shvatio da će se morati odvažiti na eBay kako bi napravio profitabilan posao. Ali kako?

Sjetite se da je 2003. trošak računala bio 4000 dolara, a mjesečni internetski plan (koji je u to vrijeme bio iznimno spor) bio je 500 dolara mjesečno. Računalo je bilo u Wayneovom sinu, Markovoj spavaćoj sobi, i vodili su tešku bitku kako bi riješili sve greške i tehničke probleme. No, kao i svi poslovni pothvati, svi smo puno naučili, a 2004. smo kupili španjolski sustav za naše online aukcije i službeno pokrenuli Opal Auctions 2005. godine.

Kao što možete zamisliti, naš je početak bio sve samo ne gladak i imali smo toliko tehničkih problema. Na primjer, izgradili smo videosustav 2008. koji nas je koštao 15.000 dolara samo za snimanje super osnovnih videa snimljenih kamerom od 3.000 dolara. Prijeđite naprijed do danas i možete snimati vrhunski video sadržaj na svojim mobilnim telefonima. Ali u to smo vrijeme morali raditi s dostupnom tehnologijom, ne znajući da će se ona drastično poboljšati u nadolazećim godinama.

Za prvih pet godina izgubili smo puno novca samo pokušavajući izgraditi nove internetske stranice. Ali svi smo ustrajali jer smo vjerovali u potencijal online poslovanja kada se radi kako treba – za korisnike s transparentnim informacijama i programima za kupce od povjerenja.

Nakon što smo pokrenuli i riješili sve nedostatke, počeli smo postavljati stranicu kako bi se prodavači pridružili platformi. Naš brat Paul i njegova partnerica Sally Patel prvi su se pridružili našoj platformi za online aukcije.

Odatle smo nastavili širiti obiteljski posao. Oba Paulova sina, Peter i Ross, su prodavači, a sedmeročlana obitelj Sally Patel postala je pojedinačni prodavač sa sjedištem u Australiji i Tucsonu, Arizona, SAD. Uvijek smo gradili svoje poslovanje oko obiteljskih vrijednosti i to je ono što je ostalo konstantno kroz sve pomake i zaokrete u evoluciji Opal Auctions. Strast prema opalima ukorijenjena je ne samo u obiteljskom poslu, već i u našoj obiteljskoj povijesti.

Ross je izrezao svoj prvi opal s 8 godina, a njegov sin Hamish je samo nastavio obiteljsko naslijeđe tako što je izrezao i svoj prvi opal s 8 godina.

Što reći, opali su nam u krvi! Dakle, kako smo naveli sve ostale da se uključe u Opal Auctions? Znali smo da moramo podići svijest o našoj tvrtki, pa se Wayne još jednom spakirao za putovanje, ovaj put zaputujući se u Sjedinjene Države kako bi prisustvovao Tucson Gem Showu u Arizoni.

2006, Tucson Gem Show: Katastrofa koja je postala uspjeh

Wayne je putovao s Patrikom iz Rollingstone Opalsa kako bi pokrenuo Opal Auctions na svjetski poznatom Tucson Gem Showu u SAD-u.

Po dolasku stvari su krenule sumorno. Znali su da imaju nešto posebno, ali uvjeriti druge pokazalo se teškim zadatkom. Smješteni su u slijepu ulicu u Days Innu, s malim prometom. Bilo je depresivno, a prvi klijent u poslovnom odijelu rekao im je da je internet dizajniran za rat i da Opal Auctions nikada neće raditi.

Drugi klijent imao je četiri trgovine u Kaliforniji i rekao je da ljudi neće kupovati opal online.
Konačno, njihov treći klijent uvidio je potencijal i rekao da imaju briljantnu ideju, nevjerojatne zalihe i poželio im svu sreću. Bili su sretni što imaju pozitivne povratne informacije... sve dok nisu primijetili da je odmah nakon njegovog odlaska izostao njihov najbolji grubi crni opal! Slatko ih je pričao i ukrao im to pravo ispod nosa.

Kakvo razočaranje! Što je još gore, nisu ispunili svoje obrasce za struju za emisiju, pa je račun bio 1500 dolara umjesto 500 dolara.

Očito, ovo je bio njihov posljednji Gem Show u Tucsonu! Paul je sudjelovao na sajmovima u Tucsonu 20 godina, ali sada, kada internetska prodaja ide tako dobro, prestao je prodavati na sajmovima.

Posao je počeo dobivati određeni zamah s web mjestom za online aukciju, ali u tim ranim danima e-trgovine tehničke poteškoće nikad nisu bile daleko iza.

Godine 2007. stranica se srušila i izgubili smo većinu kupaca jer naš australski poslužitelj nije mogao podnijeti zahtjeve. Otprilike u isto vrijeme, Steve nam se pridružio i sam naučio računalno kodiranje. Danas je on naš glavni koder i upravlja našim ogromnim poslužiteljem koji može obraditi tisuće zahtjeva u minuti, a on zauvijek gradi nova poboljšanja naše stranice.

2008., Dovođenje više obitelji

Do 2008. naš se sustav uvelike poboljšao i proširio kako bi uključio više jedinstvenih značajki. Prešli smo dug put od našeg prvog sustava 2004. U stvari, pokrenuli smo sustav pod nazivom “Know Your Customer” prije nego što je postao moderan i status quo za online poslovanje. S ovim programom svi su prodavači morali biti prvo verificirani, a naš program Opal Sheriff i program Watch Watch pokazali su se uspješnim. Nepotrebno je reći da je Wayne bio vrlo sretan i zahvalan što je upoznao ta dva tipa u Las Vegasu koji su ga potaknuli da bude kreativniji i potakne svoje ideje.

2012. Paulovi sinovi službeno su se pridružili našem timu.

Prije nego se pridružio timu, Ross je bio inženjer u Holdenu u Melbourneu u Australiji i pohađao je tečaj gemologije. On je sada jedan od naših gemologa, a radi i sa svojom suprugom Terese, koja je imala iskustva u informatici i unosu podataka. Zajedno su idealan tim koji se bavi SEO, marketingom i odjelom za poboljšanje. Oni su nadgledali mnoge korisničke aspekte dodane našoj platformi.

ross sedawieterese sedawie Peter rudari opal u Lightning Ridgeu više od 15 godina. On je uspješan i vješt rezač opala i sada je naš glavni rezač u uredu sjedišta Opal Auctions gdje siječemo oko 4000 opala mjesečno. Peter je preuzeo prodajnu stranicu svog djeda Opal Auctions pod nazivom "Anembo Opals".

xvvwicrmm1l06pbj.jpg Prošli smo kroz mnoge uspone i padove od onih ranih dana kada je Paul započeo rudarenje opala na poljima opala Four Miles, ali ništa nas nije moglo pripremiti za ono što je trebalo doći 2020.

2020, Uspješno kroz pandemiju

Pandemija koronavirusa imala je ogroman učinak na naše kupce i prodavače diljem svijeta. Toliko je tradicionalnih kupaca koji su radili na sajmovima da su prestali kupovati. Međutim, njih su zamijenili ljudi koji su kupovali i pokretali vlastiti online posao prodaje na društvenim stranicama.

wayne sedawie Nikada ne možete predvidjeti kakav će utjecaj svjetska zdravstvena kriza imati na globalno gospodarstvo, a nismo bili sigurni što očekivati za našu obiteljsku tvrtku. Srećom, zbog pojačane aktivnosti u online prodaji, naša je prodaja skočila oko 70% mjesečnog prosjeka u odnosu na prethodne godine.

U travnju 2021. Paul je dao najveću donaciju do sada Australian Opal Centru u Lightning Ridgeu -- najveću i najraznovrsniju donaciju rijetkih opaliziranih fosila i zanimljivosti povezanih s opalom ikada darovane javnoj ustanovi.

U lipnju 2021. Opal Auctions osvojio je nagradu za obiteljsko poduzetništvo u Gold Coastu u Australiji gdje je sjedište.

Gledajući unatrag na putovanje naše obitelji u industriji opala i tržištu opala e-trgovine, pokrili smo mnogo toga, fizički i digitalno! Oduvijek smo vjerovali da će posao biti nezaustavljiv kada se obitelj okupi koristeći svačije talente, vještine, darove i odlučnost, a uvijek stavljajući obitelj na prvo mjesto.

Nije uvijek bilo lako, ali izdržali smo zajedno kroz uspone i padove. Opale prolaze našim venama i boje naše živote, a uskoro ne planiramo stati!

Paul je sastavio online galeriju opala svojih najcjenjenijih opala prikupljenih tijekom godina, koju možete pogledati na poveznici ispod.

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