October 16, 2013: Thrifting Goes Upscale
When I first moved to California and spent months and months looking for a job, I haunted local thrift stores in search of clothes and furniture I could afford. Fast forward several decades, and thrift stores gained an additional group of customers-Millennials who were not only looking for bargains, but also believed thrifting was an environmentally-friendly, socially responsible way to shop.
Today there’s yet another evolution underway in thrift stores-some are being reborn as upscale resale boutiques. Adweek magazine reports there are a “a growing number of luxury resale platforms” cropping up online, and while the merchandise “might be used, this is not your mother’s consignment shop. The newest clique of luxury resellers offers choice goods, personalized service, reasonable fees and deep discounts.”
We’re talking formerly high-priced, high-fashion goods, such as Yves Saint Laurent, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Rolex and Chanel. Part of the concept’s success, says the magazine, is due to semantics. Likening this to the marketing brilliance that transformed used cars into “certified, pre-owned vehicles,” these online shops (or should I say shoppes?) are “shunning terms like ‘used’ and ‘secondhand’ in favor of ‘vintage,’ ‘collectible’ and even ‘pre-loved’.”
If you want to open an upscale resale online store, check out your competition first: Fashionphile, Covetique, LuxuryExchange, Shop-Hers.com, SnobSwap.com, Threadflip.com, Portero.com, and Vaunte.com.
Adweek says it’s about the “selectivity and customer service” these shops are offering. (One of the sites even offers a personal shopping service.) Of course, as the magazine points out, upscale resale is nothing new. But technological innovations and a Great Recession hangover have created a harmonic convergence of sorts that is an ideal launch environment.