Company Timeline

Tom Johnson
Ruby Lane's beginning is simple: In 1998, I was collecting 1950's dishes and found it cumbersome to complete a set. Searching shops online was difficult and often proved fruitless, especially since the Internet was in its infancy. With a desire to help others find antiques and vintage collectibles via the Internet with ease, I worked together with my co-founder to launch Ruby Lane. We began at my kitchen table with nothing more than a single server and a couple of computers. The idea was to create an easy to use online community of shops that showcased only the highest quality antiques and collectibles, and made us the one-stop shopping destination for them. Starting with just one shop, Ruby Lane has steadily grown to host more than 2,000 shops today with an extensive selection of over half a million Antiques & Art, Dolls, Vintage Collectibles, and Jewelry items.

Looking back, I remember when Ruby Lane was first being constructed, one of our biggest challenges was what to name the site. We searched for a name that had value, reflected quality, and that was memorable. Each time we set out to associate a name with the site I would be reminded of my mother Ruby, now 91 years young, and how she reflected all the elements we were trying to convey. By using my mother's name, I have been able to assure shop owners, their customers, and our team of Ruby Lane's high ethical and business standards.

We at Ruby Lane are proud of our accomplishments over the past 20 years, and we are proud of our customers' successes. Mostly, we look forward to serving our shop owners and their customers for years to come as we continue to innovate and strengthen our website with their help.

To help celebrate this 20 year milestone, there will be several events in the month of August:
  • Site Shopping Spree Giveaways
  • Special Sales Throughout the Month
  • Free Listing Month
  • Social Media and Online Video Coverage of Special Events
  • Triple Online Ad Spends
  • Larger Referral Amounts for Referring New Dealers to the Ruby Lane Family
  • And Much, Much, More!

A sincere thank you to all of our shop owners and their customers for helping to build Ruby Lane into one of the most respected, and oldest, online venue for enthusiasts of antiques and art, dolls, vintage collectibles and jewelry!

Enjoy shopping on Ruby Lane!

Sincerely,
Tom Johnson
President and CEO, Ruby Lane Inc.


1997
Dec: Official Planning for Ruby Lane Commences

Dec: Official Planning for Ruby Lane Commences

Idea for online Antique & Collectibles website comes together at founder Tom Johnson's kitchen table in his 1906 San Francisco flat. The first equipment includes 2 laptop computers and a two home-built servers. The company is privately funded by its founders; no VC funding is used
1998
Ruby Lane is named after Tom's mother Ruby

Ruby Lane is named after Tom's mother Ruby

Original company names considered include Ruby June and Ruby June & Friends
August 15: Ruby Lane officially goes live at 3:06pm

August 15: Ruby Lane officially goes live at 3:06pm

The original site hosts Antiques & Collectibles. It also includes a Global Search Engine that extends beyond Ruby Lane. There are 7 shops on the site and 366 items listed. 27 items are sold in the first week
August: First Shop: Brian Killian & Company

August: First Shop: Brian Killian & Company

The first item listed was a Regency Arm Chair for $650
1999
Ruby Lane launches its first major promotional campaign  by giving away electronics such as digital cameras, and scanners

Ruby Lane launches its first major promotional campaign by giving away electronics such as digital cameras, and scanners

At this point the site indexes over 1.5 million items in 2,000 categories, including those of eBay, Antique Networking, Boxlot, TIAS, and their own fast-growing community of shops
The Send to Auction Feature added

The Send to Auction Feature added

Ruby Lane begins offering the ability for shops to submit their items directly to any number of online auction sites for free
Ruby Lane contracts with eBay

Ruby Lane contracts with eBay

eBay results for Antiques & Collectibles are shown in the Global Search results on Ruby Lane
August 15: Ruby Lane celebrates its first birthday

August 15: Ruby Lane celebrates its first birthday

On this date there are 288 shops on the site and approximately 10,000 items listed
Rubylane.com is named one of the top 20 fastest growing sites on the Internet by Media Metrix

Rubylane.com is named one of the top 20 fastest growing sites on the Internet by Media Metrix

The report places their visitor growth at 38% per week
Ruby Lane Drops eBay From Their Antiques & Collectibles Search Engine

Ruby Lane Drops eBay From Their Antiques & Collectibles Search Engine

eBay decides to pull agreement as it closes its site off to all aggregators
2000
Ruby Lane signs up its 500th shop

Ruby Lane signs up its 500th shop

Ruby Lane introduces Groundbreaking Make-An-Offer Program

Ruby Lane introduces Groundbreaking Make-An-Offer Program

Allows buyers to give and receive real time feedback as to whether or not an offer is accepted. To use the program, buyers visit Ruby Lane's site and make an offer on an item of their choice. Using proprietary software developed in-house, the Make An Offer program automatically counters the offer in seconds, based on the criteria set by the individual shop owner
The Arts & Crafts Lane added

The Arts & Crafts Lane added

Ruby Lane decides that good quality arts & crafts items would blend nicely with the antiques, collectibles and fine art already on the site. Ceramics and glass, handmade quilts, home furnishings, jewelry, and metalwork begin to be offered
2001
Introduces no commission fee structure

Introduces no commission fee structure

The new program consists of a 25 cent listing fee for each item, then 25 cents per month, with a minimum of $15 per month, and no commissions
The Ruby Lane Logo shop officially opens

The Ruby Lane Logo shop officially opens

It offers promotional items to buyers and shop owners
Ruby Lane launches its Auction Counter tool

Ruby Lane launches its Auction Counter tool

The tool offers detailed hourly and daily statistics, designed to help maximize auction sales by providing information on when people are viewing an auction
2002
Launch of the first Monthly Finds

Launch of the first Monthly Finds

The promotional emailing to opt-in subscribers where all Ruby Lane shops may list a single unique item
The Shop Participatory Print Ads Program is launched

The Shop Participatory Print Ads Program is launched

This program gives shop owners the ability to showcase their individual shops in targeted antiques and collectibles publications for a fraction of the cost of doing it themselves
Closes special Charter Shop program

Closes special Charter Shop program

With 825 shops, Ruby Lane closes its charter shop program to new shop owners. The Charter Shop program rewards shop owners who add or sell 50 items per month with a 50% discount on all fees
Ruby Lane becomes a California C-Corp

Ruby Lane becomes a California C-Corp

Ruby Lane incorporates to help manage growth responsibly and to safeguard the continued operation of the business thereby protecting the interests of Ruby Lane and its swiftly-growing community of shop owners
Ruby Lane signs up its 1,000th shop

Ruby Lane signs up its 1,000th shop

A major milestone for the startup
2003
Ruby Lane acquires its first full time employee

Ruby Lane acquires its first full time employee

To date, the only employees were the co-founders, along with hired contractors

Ruby Lane launches its Exclusive Program

Program offers heightened exposure to shops who choose to sell exclusively on Ruby Lane
The Quality Assurance Program launched

The Quality Assurance Program launched

Designed to ensure that items presented for sale are authentic, and accurately represented.
Ruby Lane adds Participatory American Style ads

Ruby Lane adds Participatory American Style ads

These ads are designed to target enthusiasts of Fine Art and handcrafted items
August 15: Ruby Lane celebrates its 5-year anniversary

August 15: Ruby Lane celebrates its 5-year anniversary

There are 1,200 shops on the site with approximately 200,000 items listed
Ruby Lane discontinues its Auction Counter service

Ruby Lane discontinues its Auction Counter service

After a very successful service, it was decided to concentrate on the core business
The site-wide Return Policy introduced

The site-wide Return Policy introduced

Designed to ensure satisfaction and for the protection of both the buyer and shop owner
The Gift Ideas page is added

The Gift Ideas page is added

This new page goes live in time for the Holiday season
2004
Ruby Lane launches a brand new look

Ruby Lane launches a brand new look

Introduces SHOP.SELL.RELAX, the Ruby Lane Advantage and the new Jewelry Lane which includes Antique, Collectible, and Artisan Jewelry
Ruby Lane begins 4-color advertising in magazines such as Martha Stewart Living

Ruby Lane begins 4-color advertising in magazines such as Martha Stewart Living

It later adds advertisements in InStyle Home, Country Living magazine and House Beautiful
2005
Ruby Lane Co-Founder Tom Johnson assumes the company helm

Ruby Lane Co-Founder Tom Johnson assumes the company helm

Despite the woes and closings of some online sites, Ruby Lane has weathered the times successfully. Never VC-funded, the site boasts superior technology, and credits an aggressive, but responsible, approach to marketing and expansion for their overall health
2006
Ruby Lane officially opens the What's This Shop

Ruby Lane officially opens the What's This Shop

Shops can post items to get feedback from other Ruby Lane shops on their identification
The Artisan Lane is closed

The Artisan Lane is closed

Artisan Jewelry remains on the site and continues to grow as it becomes part of the Jewelry Lane
Live Help is added

Live Help is added

Customers are now able to chat directly with a member of Ruby Lane's Customer Service team to receive online assistance
Lucky Magazine names Ruby Lane one of its favorite web sites to shop

Lucky Magazine names Ruby Lane one of its favorite web sites to shop

Yeah!
2007
Ruby Lane launches online video tutorials

Ruby Lane launches online video tutorials

Tutorials are designed to show visitors and shops how the site and its many features work
Ruby Lane exapnds advertising

Ruby Lane exapnds advertising

Tests television advertising in limited markets within the U.S.A
Ruby Lane launches a major site update to the home and splash pages

Ruby Lane launches a major site update to the home and splash pages

Additional Featuring options are included in the update
2008
Launches its blog: Notes from The Lane

Launches its blog: Notes from The Lane

This site is designed to complement the Ruby Lane site, offering a wide range of articles on topics relating to antiques & art, vintage collectibles and jewelry, as well as loads of tips on how to succeed as a seller in the online marketplace. It serves as a participatory venue for all visitors, both Ruby Lane sellers and shoppers
August 15: Ruby Lane officially turns 10!

August 15: Ruby Lane officially turns 10!

In celebration of this milestone a series of promotional events were planned throughout 2008
Ruby Lane Revamps the Entire Site

Ruby Lane Revamps the Entire Site

Ruby Lane launched exciting updates to its retail mall including the addition of several new lanes. This new design created a total of thirteen lanes on the site that zero-in on collectibles by category. Buyers are able to search the site with greater precision
2010
Ruby Lane Launches Twitter Social Networking Page

Ruby Lane Launches Twitter Social Networking Page

Looking to give buyers and sellers another avenue to connect in the ever-expanding e-commerce marketplace, Ruby Lane launched a page on social networking site Twitter. By June 2010, Ruby Lane's Twitter page had more than 4,000 followers
Ruby Is the New Green - Environmental Awareness Program Launched

Ruby Is the New Green - Environmental Awareness Program Launched

Antique, vintage and artisan items are by their very nature green. Antiques and vintage items represent the best way to reduce environmental impact. Also, artisan work is generally done by individuals using local resources and reconditioned items. We encourage the use of these items as a means to help local economies and to reduce the waste and pollution associated with industrial production. In Ruby Lane's workplace, we utilize technology to conduct business in an energy efficient manner while continually striving to minimize our carbon footprint. We believe conservation is everyone's responsibility
Ruby Lane Launches Ruby Plaza

Ruby Lane Launches Ruby Plaza

Launched on April 20, 2010, Ruby Plaza is the sister site of Ruby Lane. Ruby Plaza offers a complete variety of home decor items ranging from furniture, and accessories, to lighting, bedding and window coverings—all in one category. Other categories include fashion and accessories, jewelry, woodworking, toys, and supplies to name just a few. On October 1, 2010, Ruby Plaza had 800 shops and more than 156,000 unique items. Its tremendous growth is representative of an untapped market
Secret Shopper Program Launched

Secret Shopper Program Launched

We are constantly looking for effective ways to improve the buying experience on Ruby Lane. Buyers shop Ruby Lane because they know they'll have a safe and enjoyable experience. Throughout the year, Ruby Lane's Secret Shoppers randomly shop the site and make purchases. They then evaluate the experience based on such criteria as response times and packing quality. If the experience does not meet the standard level that is expected, Ruby Lane staff members work with the shop owner to improve the shopping experience. It has helped improve shopper satisfaction
2011
Ruby Red Tag 50% Off Sale Launches

Ruby Red Tag 50% Off Sale Launches

The Ruby Red Tag 50% Off Sale is held at different times throughout the year to mark seasonal milestones, during the holidays, and to drive more traffic to the site during slower sale periods. Each 24-hour Sale is a special occasion, not a regular event. The Sale drives additional traffic to the site the week prior, during, and after the Sale. Not only do discounted items sale during the Ruby Red Tag 50% Off Sale but, the sales volume of regularly priced items more than doubles
Migration to Amazon Cloud

Migration to Amazon Cloud

In November, Ruby Lane migrated to Amazon Cloud. The new options and scalability provided by cloud computing has allowed Ruby Lane to add tools, and the site to grow its technical capabilities. The site is faster, more stable, and has a new foundation that supports growth
2012
Addition of Pinterest Social Network

Addition of Pinterest Social Network

Pinterest today is all the rage. Early in 2012, Pinterest cracked the 10 million monthly unique visitor mark faster than any site - ever. The "Pin It" button lets you grab an image from any website and add it to a board. When you pin from a website, it automatically grabs the source link. Ruby Lane boasts many tens of thousands of quality visitors to its site from those participating on Pinterest
New Photo Viewing System

New Photo Viewing System

In June, we launched a new photo viewing software that allows shoppers to zoom-in and out, rotate, and inspect item photos on the site. The software helps shoppers take the guesswork out the viewing vintage and antique items on the site - the result is improved buyer satisfaction
2013
New Logo

New Logo

Ruby Lane introduces a new logo
Ruby Read

Ruby Read

Ruby Lane Launches Ruby Read Online Magazine
Ruby Lane celebrates its 15 Year Anniversary

Ruby Lane celebrates its 15 Year Anniversary

To celebrate its 15 Year Anniversary, Ruby Lane launched a redesign of the site. As part of its redesign, Ruby Lane introduces Advanced Image Processing that removes backgrounds fromm item images, allowing buyers to focus on an items attributes and not the backgrounds
2014
Ruby Lane Dolls Facebook Page Launched

Ruby Lane Dolls Facebook Page Launched

Doll Lovers from around the world turn to the Ruby Lane Dolls Facebook Page for education, events, and to learn of trends in the doll community
Ruby Lane Dolls Newsletter Launched

Ruby Lane Dolls Newsletter Launched

Focusing on Ruby Lane doll sellers, the monthly Dolls Newsletter features videos of doll/bear shows, interviews with dolls/bear experts, new doll and bear shops on the site, and doll/bear event highlights
Baltimore Summer Antiques Show

Baltimore Summer Antiques Show

Ruby Lane sponsored and displayed it newest booth display, You Can Buy Love, at the Baltimore Summer Antiques Show. Several Ruby Lane shops showcase their merchandise at this annual show in Baltimore, Maryland
2015
Trustpilot

Trustpilot

TrustPilot is added to the site to show buyer reviews of their shopping experience on the site
RubyLUX - Past & Present

RubyLUX - Past & Present

RubyLux.com, a new online marketplace from Ruby Lane, focuses on the secondary purchase of luxury goods, launched in 2015
San Francisco Fall Antiques Show

San Francisco Fall Antiques Show

RubyLUX sponsored the Young Collectors Evening at the 2015 San Francisco Fall Antiques Show. An event of networking and education for the new generation of vintage and antique collectors, in San Francisco, California
The Original Miami Beach Antique Show

The Original Miami Beach Antique Show

Ruby Lane both sponsored and had it's own booth at this show, distributing our branded tote bags. Several Ruby Lane shops showcased their unique vintage and antique items at this very large and prestigious show in Miami, Florida
66th Annual UFDC Convention

66th Annual UFDC Convention

Ruby Lane sponsored and displayed at the 66th Annual United Federation of Doll Clubs Convention in Kansas City, Missouri
Ruby Lane Facebook Reaches 100,000 Likes

Ruby Lane Facebook Reaches 100,000 Likes

The Ruby Lane Facebook Page reached 100,000 Likes in July 2015, making it one of the most viewed Vintage and Antiques Pages on Facebook
2016
eCommerceBytes.com 2016 Seller's Choice Awards

eCommerceBytes.com 2016 Seller's Choice Awards

Ruby Lane Ranked #1 for Customer Service in the 2016 Sellers Choice Awards
2016 Architectural Digest Design Show

2016 Architectural Digest Design Show

RubyLUX sponsored and displayed at the 2016 Architectural Digest Design Show in New York, New York
2016 Palm Beach Jewelry, Art and Antique Show

2016 Palm Beach Jewelry, Art and Antique Show

RubyLUX Sponsored the 2016 Palm Beach Jewelry, Art and Antique Show in Palm Beach, Florida
2016 Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club Decorator Show House

2016 Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club Decorator Show House

RubyLUX Sponsored Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club Decorator Show House in New York, New York. The event raised funds for the Boys & Girls Club so they could continue to provide programs for inner-city children in Manhattan
CINOA partners with RubyLUX

CINOA partners with RubyLUX

CINOA is the principal international confederation of Art & Antique dealer associations and the highest authority in the field
Ruby's Retro Cookbook

Ruby's Retro Cookbook

Ruby's Retro Cookbook is a recipe book comprised of delicious family recipes from Ruby Johnson, Shop owners' at Ruby Lane and the Ruby Lane Team featuring illustrations by resident artist Denny Plesea
2017
eCommerceBytes.com 2017 Seller's Choice Awards

eCommerceBytes.com 2017 Seller's Choice Awards

Ruby Lane Ranked #1 for Customer Service and 2nd in Communications in the 2017 Seller’s Choice Awards
The Ruby Lane Dolls Facebook Page reaches 40,000 Likes

The Ruby Lane Dolls Facebook Page reaches 40,000 Likes

Doll and teddy bear lovers around the world return to see the latest doll, teddy bear, and doll accessories news on Ruby Lane’s continuously updated Dolls Facebook Page
2017 Las Vegas Antique Jewelry and Watch Show

2017 Las Vegas Antique Jewelry and Watch Show

Ruby Lane sponsored and displayed at the 2017 Las Vegas Antique Jewelry and Watch Show, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Many of the Ruby Lane shops attend the annual show as sellers and buyers
68th Annual UFDC Convention

68th Annual UFDC Convention

Ruby Lane was one of the title sponsors of the 68th Annual United Federation of Doll Clubs Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida. Doll collectors and enthusiasts from around the world attend this unique annual event
2017 Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys Fall Show

2017 Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys Fall Show

Ruby Lane sponsored, and distributed 400 branded tote bags at The 2017 Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys Fall Show in Denver, Colorado
2018
eCommerceBytes.com 2018 Seller's Choice Awards

eCommerceBytes.com 2018 Seller's Choice Awards

Ruby Lane Ranked #1 for Customer Service, and as the Most Recommended Marketplace in the 2018 Seller’s Choice Awards
Ruby Lane Dolls Pinterest Page Launched

Ruby Lane Dolls Pinterest Page Launched

The Ruby Lane Dolls Pinterest Page was created to showcase dolls, doll related accessories, doll houses, miniatures, and teddy bears
69th Annual UFDC Convention

69th Annual UFDC Convention

Ruby Lane is one of the title sponsors of the 69th Annual United Federation of Doll Clubs Annual Convention in Phoenix, Arizona in July
Ruby Lane Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Ruby Lane Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Launched in 1998, Ruby Lane celebrates 20 years in business in 2018. Commemorative logos, events, and giveaways, along with videos and special Sales allow buyers and sellers to celebrate this milestone