Get the 411 on Pawn Shops: Traders Loan + Jewelry’s Diane Taylor Talks About How to Use a Pawn Shop!
Nothing on reality television is real or completely accurate. If you thought you knew everything about pawn shops courtesy of “Pawn Stars” unfortunately there is a lot more to the business than what is shown on TV. However rather than have you running all over trying to learn about how to shop pawn stores for great fashion, decor and gifting finds, I did the leg-work for you!
Given that this post is right after the Emmys, here’s a way to score some serious bling for LE$$! YES.. that’s right LESS! Both previously owned jewelry as well as original, designer jewelry that will have the pop and sizzle that you want! From necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings and watches.. there is something here for everyone!
Having celebrated Trader’s Loan + Jewelry’s 60th anniversary in May, this pawn shop has a great reputation and is known as the oldest pawn shop in the San Fernando Valley.
While some people come to Traders Loan & Jewelry to shop, the store also grants loans against collateral, offers onsite appraisals, sells new and pre-owned merchandise, designs and creates custom jewelry, and repairs watches and jewelry. The store’s owners, Diane and Douglas Taylor refer to Traders Loan & Jewelry as “the people’s bank” because it is a non-recourse lender that doesn’t report to credit bureaus due to loan defaults; loans are based on the item, not the person.
“We help people of every socio-economic level, whether they need money for closing costs on their homes or to cover payroll for their businesses, or if they need cash for other reasons,” says Taylor. “We’re proud to have served our community for 60 years and will continue to do so.” Diane Taylor
How did you end up owning and running a pawn shop?
Owning a pawn shop was unexpected. I was presented with an opportunity to purchase Traders Loan and Jewelry in 1997 through some friends. I have an extensive background in retail as former area manager for Mervyns department store and a buyer for Robinson/May, and I even owned my own retail store in the Antelope Valley area for several years. I’ve had success in retail in the past and I have a head for business, so I knew I could apply that experience into the pawn industry.
What is owning a pawn shop like?
Owning a pawn shop is all about helping people. Most people don’t realize this, but 95% of pawned items at Traders Loan and Jewelry are redeemed. We’re not in the business of keeping peoples’ sentimental items. That’s why we ask them how much they need; this increases the likelihood of them getting their item back and not borrowing more than what’s feasible for them. It gives people a great chance to succeed.
There are also two distinct sides to our business:
the first is the pawn aspect, where people get a short-term loan on their valuable personal belonging(s) and when the debt and interest are paid, they can redeem their item or renew the loan.
The second is that we’re a jewelry store. We have hundreds of brand new jewelry pieces in our store that are high quality and cost a fraction of retail. In fact, many jewelry stores you see inside malls buy their diamonds from us. We also sell pre-owned high-grade watches, charms, gold chains, gemstones and much more. And if you’re looking for something truly unique, we can custom make jewelry.
How different is it from what we see in the reality shows on TV?
Very different. On the popular pawn shows, most people come in to sell their item(s). That is not the core business of a pawn shop. Our core business is loaning on peoples’ collateral to help them through a rough patch, start a small business or go on a family vacation.
How does the consumer work with you if they want to pawn something? Sell something? Buy something?
They simply come in with their item and we will ask them what they’d like to do and how much they are looking to get. Whether we’re loaning, selling or buying something, we do our research so we know we are loaning or offering to buy something at a fair price. The same goes for what we sell in our store.
What would one find in your store that sets it apart?
Perception. Meaning many people have never been inside of pawn shop because movies, television and media have portrayed of pawn shops as being located in a dark, seedy alley where you walk in and it’s dank with burly men covered in tattoos, smoking a cigar behind the counter.
Well, that isn’t the case at all. Our store is well lit, clean, on a bright and busy street corner, has security and is, frankly, beautiful and filled with fresh, clean, smiling faces to welcome you when you walk through our doors.
Can anyone buy things from you? Is it possible for people outside of LA to purchase from you?
Yes, they certainly can. We have an eBay store: http://stores.ebay.com/Traders4you/. Many items that we have listed offer free shipping. You can also find us on the following social media sites and our website, where we offer other items that are not always on our eBay store.
The Traders Loan and Jewelry website and Ebay store are listed here.
EBAY STORE: http://stores.ebay.com/Traders4you/
ALL their social media platforms are listed at the bottom of this article!
It’s not a store in the typical sense because you aren’t buying things in all sizes…. so what should the average consumer know about “shopping” a pawn shop for gifts or for items for themselves?
Not everything in our store is at a loss of someone else. Much of our jewelry is brand new. Most items like watches, musical instruments, tools, coins and more were sold to us outright. Very little that we have for sale is something that someone forfeited on a pawn loan. You can feel good about shopping here. We have a lot of different things all the time, so it’s good to check in often. You can find major deals on items and brands such as Rolex, Cartier, diamonds, guitars, tools, gemstones and much more.
You have to remember, when you pawn or sell an item to us, we are only going to offer you a portion of what the item is worth; not the retail value. It’s also important to understand that something is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it.
Pawning an item is a great option for people who don’t have a bank account, are under-banked, have bad credit, don’t want to pay traditional bank loan fees or can’t get a traditional loan. A pawn loan is strictly based on your item and nothing else. Not you, not your credit score or bank account. When someone is pawning an item, we appraise them item and make them an offer. The offer is usually a percentage of what the item is worth; not what it can be sold at retail for. If our offer is accepted, we’ll fill out the paperwork, get a thumbprint and copy government issued photo ID and they’re on their way with cash in minutes. Once they pay off the loan plus interest, they can pick up their item.
This is a great way to get through a cash crunch without losing your valuables. It’s the best of both worlds. Again, 95% of Traders Loan and Jewelry customers redeem their pawned items. It’s also important to note that we’re a non-recourse lender, meaning should you default on your loan, we don’t report you to the credit bureaus.
If you want to sell us something, it’s a similar process. But in this case, you don’t need to make any payments or pay any interest on it because you sold us to it outright and now we own it and you have the cash.
When people buy something from us, they will find that both our new jewelry and anything else pre-owned in our store is sold at a fraction of retail. We also offer layaway, have sales and more. I highly recommend that people come see what we have to offer before they purchase at someplace like a jewelry store in the mall. Knowledge is power.
What would be of interest for most fashion-obsessed women from your store?
A lot of people don’t know that we have some furs for sale, along with some vintage dresses and purses. Again, we’re always getting new and interesting items in, so it’s good to keep checking.
What’s the price range of items in your store?
Prices can range from $1.99 to $50,000, and everything in between. In other words, we can fit into most peoples’ price range.
You have custom designed pieces in your store– who does the designs and how does that work out?
Yes we do. We have a gemologist on staff, who designs one-of-a-kind pieces like rings, necklaces and more. He will work closely with you to get the design you’re envisioning.
What items or categories have the most demand? (Or is there any category that is “in demand”?)
Gold is always in demand. Jewelry is always a big one, especially diamond rings.
Since shopping a pawn store is as much like shopping vintage or thrift store, what should people know about being a smart consumer?
It’s really important that you feel good about where you’re shopping. Do your due diligence. Know who you’re dealing with and if they belong to the National Pawnbrokers Association and California (or whichever state they’re in) Pawnbrokers Association. It’s also good if they have a brick and mortar store where you can see items, interact with people and build trusting relationships. There’s a reason that Traders Loan and Jewelry has been in the same location for over 60 years. People trust us.
What is the most expensive thing you have had in your inventory?
We had a diamond ring selling for $95,000.
What is the wildest /craziest thing you have had in your inventory?
I’d have to say someone sold us their teeth because they had gold in it. Yes. It’s true.
Any “famous” items in your inventory – past or present?
We have a Golden Globe. It’s not for sale though, and I can’t say whose it is. Sorry!
What do you look for in items that people bring in?
Authenticity, good condition and value.
Have any stylists borrowed or purchased products from the store (from fashion to home décor) for magazines, events, or TV shows? If so, who was the stylist and where was the product featured?
We’ve lent out memorabilia that is displayed on our walls for various and TV shows and movies, which remain confidential.
Charities Diane Taylor supports: St. Jude’s and The Battered Women’s Shelter
Follow Diane Taylor and the Traders Loan and Jewelry store on these social media platforms
GOOGLE PLUS: https://plus.google.com/+TradersloanandjewelryReseda/
EBAY STORE: http://stores.ebay.com/Traders4you/
Traders Loan & Jewelry
18505 Sherman Way, Reseda, Calif. 91335
Thank you to Diane Taylor for her time in answering the significant number of questions. I wanted to make sure I didn’t make any mistakes in writing about her business based on conjecture and reality TV shows. It’s very easy to think you know what it’s all about when you really don’t!
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