ReFashioner – The Collaborative Consumption Site Is Now Offering Consignment
I have to admit I’m not really a huge online clothes shopper. I bought designer jeans once from Ebay when I was in college, and it was a disaster. I haven’t really done much thread purchases online since. I prefer to swap clothes from friends (they’ll tell you) and I enjoy a little bit of consignment shopping too—it’s like a clothing treasure hunt. Refashioner used to be the answer to my first preference, and has now switched gears to accommodate the second and answer their users many, many clothes-selling requests.
From Swapping to Selling
Refasioner’s initial concept was a designer clothes swapping site for all of us luxury-loving sharers. But, according to founder Kate Sekules, it was impossible to scale. And, eventually users wanted the option to sell their clothes too—and the website has answered. The shift from sharing to selling consignement has commenced.
The company’s mission and target audience will stay the same: collaborative consumption for the engaged high-end goods consumer. Kate admits it’s a little snobby—the bar is set very high in terms of what the site will accept and has users go through an application process, ensuring only high-quality, designer clothes make the cut. H&M and Forever21 need not apply.
But she insists the site is really friendly too and it hopes to create a community saying:
“Not only do we want there to be a viable secondary marketplace for these valuable pre-owned clothes, but also a space where women who love their stuff can play and discuss”
This is what she says will separate refashioner from competition like Threadflip, a company, according to Kate, that has a top-down approach to e-commerce; Refashioner is user-centric. Kate believes the pre-owned space online still has a lot of growth potential.
And, what about the profits?
Refashioner will take 22% from items sold on the site, more than Ebay, but still less, says Kate, than birck and mortar consignment shops with 50-60% mark-ups.
What about the launch?
You’ll find celebrity duds from the closets of Courtney Love and editors at Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. That’s thanks to Kate’s previous titles (to name a few) of Editor in Chief at Culture+Travel, Consulting Editor in Chief at Conde Nast Digital, and author of the book the Boxer’s Heart (she was a former boxer…what a badass). Not a bad network to be coming from.
The Designer Digital Dread
It’s interesting to note the hesitance of designer brands to move into the digital and social media world. For most of these luxury companies, digital means democratization and accessibility—the opposite of the inaccessible, elitism luxury brands want to uphold. But hits from the recession and discount department store prices have seen a somewhat forced luxury-brand shift into the big, bad digital world. Check out adweek’s article for more on this mass move.
I spent a good 30 minutes on refashioner’s site screen-shopping (I should coin that term), but opted to put my credit card away. But, it is addicting and I know some of you are online shopping (and selling) fiends, so check out refashioner and get your designer duds fix.