In 2001 we opened our first eBay store and sold 42,342 gemstones
Here's our username and feedback score...
Every-type of gemstone imaginable went through our fingers and we appreciated all of them, but there is nothing as captivating as an opal - it i the most compelling gemstone in the world. And it was for this reason we decided to focus exclusively on opal.
A bit of fun with my third son Alexisand me.
G'day My name is Geoff McDonald.
I've been working on the business full time for over 10 years (but first started dabbling in 2001) and consider it a modern, progressive business. You can probably tell from this website that I'm pretty passionate about opal, but it does go deeper. I love everything about it. The mining, the history, the stories and, most of all, the people.
After you visit I think that you too will come to appreciate this fabulous gemstone.
We understand our customer concerns in a modern era. We know that things have changed and customers expect more if they are going to shop with a business.
More than anything else, my experience has taught me that in the long term it's best to deal only in solid opals. It's much harder to do this because there is more work involved, but for us it's not about the quick sale but acquiring a long-term customer. And you get a long-term customer only if you have a great product and top service.
To have a great business, I believe it comes down to
- Have a desire by the owner (me) to be the best and
- truckloads of experience.
We all know that we learn from our mistakes and I've made my fair share of those. I know what sells and I know what people want and I know that unless an item has something special about it no-one will want it. And, most importantly, I've learnt that the best time to prove good service is when a customer has a challenge. I love nothing more than solving a customer challenge and then telling them that it was free of charge. That's real service!
Here is our story in a series of photos
An Aussie hippy and a French lady fall in love while in London. We both moved to Australia.
Above is the garage where we started our eBay business and ran it from this location for three years. We lost LOTS of money but I stubbornly believed that one day it would work. It didn't. Over seven years we sold a total of 42,342 gemstones on eBay (not just opals but all gemstones). But, no matter how hard we tried, we never made enough money.
Then I had the bright idea that if we had a shop, then we would finally have a successful business. It wasn't much to look at, but I had big dreams and a positive attitude.
The shop was fairly basic in the beginning.
But in time with a limited budget I was able to constantly improve it.
We even got a dog, Lizzy.
Then along came our first boy, Max.
At this point. I finally bit the bullet and came to the conclusion that, after seven years, eBay was never going to work for us, so after losing thousands and thousands of dollars I decided to ditch eBay and then our office space became available.
But what to do with it?
No, not the Opal Museum, but a place that would get attention (the idea of the Opal Museum was still deep in my mind).
I'm not going to tell you what we did with that space. What you need to do is to watch this video (goes for 90 seconds and was taken by me in February 2011). I find it very amusing looking back at it now.
But that didn't work either!
We were getting desperate. Money was running low. I needed to come up with something to help separate us from every other shop out there. Something that would give customers a great experience and help them fall in love with opal. And then it hit me. Like a bolt of lightning!
Let's turn this space into an Opal Museum...
In the beginning we had very little "Wow!" opal specimens, only big pictures and a good story. I am very grateful to Len Cram, an icon in the Industry who allowed me to use his images.
And we have never looked back.
Digging ourselves out of a deep financial hole, the business finally grew. and so did Max.
I'd been thinking what to do about our small space and then one of the tenants left and a big space became available. Even though I couldn't really afford it I, I also knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was going to take it. - It was part of my grand plan. So now began the renovating. It took me a year to finish it.
A lot more work! A lot more money! But that wasn't going to stop me!
And during all this we had another boy (Julian) and Lizzy had a litter and a puppy called Gizmo.
He grew, and so did the opal museum
And here is what it's like today (December 2015)...
And the shop is looking pretty good as well...
And finally, if that wasn't enough along came baby boy number 3, Alexis (with his hand in the opals).
Through all the struggles we have built a business that I love which offers a great experience to all who visit it. We have been able to succeed because we have been able to give great service and have a fantastic product and big dreams to make this century the opal century. Come discover this amazing stone for yourself.
To see a strong and thriving opal industry that is profitable for all involved, environmentally sustainable, free from bureaucracy, and constantly unearthing mind boggling & newsworthy opal specimens.
- Have the biggest and best opal collection in the world.
- Display a massive world class collection of opal wonders coupled with quality entertaining information about this fascinating industry.
- Lead a new golden era in opal exploration and in time be a part owner in the discovery of the largest opal field ever to be discovered & winning (winning means discovering) the most brightest & stable opal ever to be discovered.
So relax and enjoy the website and know that you a dealing a business that has vision and integrity. Happy Shopping!
Welcorp PTY LTD - Trading as JG Jewellers & The Brisbane Opal Museum
ABN 11010783776 (ACN 01078377