Full Circle With Erin-Leigh Hess, Overstock

Overstock.com has been around since 1999, with the goal of providing customers with the highest-quality product offerings at the best possible prices. For those of you who have visited or made purchases from the site, you know it has everything under the sun—furniture, home decor, outdoor needs, and of course, jewelry!

Erin-Leigh Hess is responsible for buying the jewelry that is sold in this massive virtual showroom. Not to mention she is one of the judges for this year’s JCK Tucson Design Challenge, which will feature submissions from some of the industry’s most innovative designers!

We caught up with her this week to talk jewelry, of course, to find out more about her involvement in the Design Challenge and to hear what it’s like being a jewelry buyer for one of the leading online retailers out there.

Describe your typical day in three numbers.
One workout at our on-site gym, two cups of coffee at our coffee bar, about three successful impromptu meetings, and far too many emails!

How did you get started in the jewelry buying industry?
My passion for jewelry sparked 13 years ago when a close friend presented me with an opportunity to source custom jewelry pieces specific to customers’ requests—the industry has captivated me ever since, and I can’t imagine doing anything else.

What kinds of pieces do you look for to buy for Overstock?
The great thing about a virtual showcase is I have space for everything. Most recently, our focus has been on luxury jewelry and watches. I think it is important that our jewelry assortment has constant diversity, offering something for everyone, from bold statement pieces to delicate designs.

Biggest challenges of your career? Biggest rewards?
Multimillion-dollar liquidation purchases. While opportunistic, it can be logistically challenging. However, with great effort comes great reward, and I live for those moments when we sell through the last little piece of inventory.

Tell us a little bit about your involvement with the Design Challenge for JCK Tucson.
I will be one of two judges on the panel. I’m excited to have the opportunity to vote for the top three submissions. I’m looking forward to seeing each designer’s uniqueness, craftsmanship, and ability to sell. The winners will receive grants that will further their careers and help get their names out there.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of JCK?
Industry standard.

What do you like most about working with jewelry?
As people we are naturally emotional. Jewelry drives that passion and evokes emotions without words.

What’s one thing you can’t live without?
Probably shared by many, but I would have to say coffee and my calendar. That’s really two things.

Last item you splurged on?
A new watch—no big surprise!

Describe your personal jewelry style.
Classic with a twist of uniqueness, but must be multifunctional and has to match many outfits. Since I’m a busy mom, jewelry has to be a quick but important thought.

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