As I never tire of saying, I’m not the biggest online shopper. The reasons are many but in a nutshell:
*I live in London. We have Harvey Nichols, The Shop At Bluebird, Portobello Market et al
*I work in fashion, ergo I like to shop on the hop, browsing in stores on my daily beat
*I’m freelance and despite some people’s conclusions, I don’t sit at home in front of a screen all day so I’m not always in to receive parcels
All that said, I’m still interested in online shopping because I think that once etailers convert people like me, then the fun can really begin. I do buy some things online. Hard-to-find beauty products are convenient as packages tend to be small so can slip through my letter box if I’m out, and Amazon is quite irrisistible for books. And I have had some pretty good successes with vintage finds on Ebay which is great for obscure searches.
A new resale site I’ve recently been introduced to is French marketplace Vestiaire Collective which has just launched in the UK. It’s not auction based but instead has a thorough vetting and quality control system that sounds insane but is actually very effective. I was invited to the Paris HQ to see the workings of the site and meet some of the team.
HEAD OF FASHION, SOPHIE HERSAN TALKED US THROUGH TRENDS AND SOME OF THE BRANDS THAT MAKE UP THE ‘MINI SERIES’ COLLABORATIONS VESTIAIRE COLLECTIVE DOES WITH THE LIKES OF MADRAS BY APC AND LEVI’S MADE & CRAFTED TO SELL NEW MERCHANDISE
ONE OF MY FAVOURITE AFFORDABLE FRENCH LABELS LAURENCE DOLIGE (THINK ARTIST’S SMOCKS AND CHLOE-LIKE PONCHOS) SELLS NEW PRODUCT ON VESTIAIRE COLLECTIVE
WE WERE SHOWN THE CYCLE OF A RESALE ITEM ARRIVING AT VC HQ. MUCH HILARITY ENSUED WHEN BY A MIRACULOUS COINCIDENCE (OR PERHAPS A SET-UP), THIS BRETON TURNED OUT TO BE THE VERY SAME ITEM THAT ONE OF OUR PARTY HAD BOUGHT A FEW DAYS PREVIOUSLY. WHEN YOU BUY SOMETHING ON THE SITE, THE SELLER SENDS IT TO VC HQ AND IT THEN GOES THROUGH A RIGOROUS MEASURING, CHECKING AND AUTHENTICATION QUALITY CONTROL PROCESS BEFORE BEING SENT ON TO THE BUYER
ONE OF VESTIAIRE COLLECTIVE’S USP’S IS THAT IT WORKS WITH WELL KNOWN LUXURY BRANDS (CHANEL, HERMES AND BALENCIAGA AMONG THEM) TO HELP AUTHENTICATE PRODUCTS. THE VESTIAIRE COLLECTIVE QUALITY CONTROLLERS HAVE ALL WORKED AT THESE LUXURY HOUSES SO ARE WELL QUALIFIED AND COMMITTED TO ERADICATING THE ONLINE SALES OF FAKE DESIGNER GOODS
A READY RECKONER TO BEAT THE BALENCIAGA FAKES. VESTIAIRE COLLECTIVE’S CUSTOMERS LIKE THE PEACE OF MIND THEY GET WHEN BUYING VIA THESE EAGLE-EYED MIDDLEMEN. NOT EVERYTHING SUBMITTED TO THE SITE GETS SELECTED FOR RESALE AND WHILE VESTIAIRE COLLECTIVE CHARGES A HIGHER COMMISSION TO SELLERS THAN OTHER SITES, IT ALSO HELPS THEM ESTABLISH THE BEST SELLING PRICE BASED ON PREVIOUS SALES OF SIMILAR ITEMS. IF THE BUYER DOESN’T LIKE THE ITEM WHEN IT ARRIVES, IT CAN”T BE RETURNED BUT IT CAN BE RELISTED STRAIGHT AWAY (THIS IS THE BIT THAT WOULD MAKE ME SWEAT A BIT)
VESTIAIRE COLLECTIVE ALSO PARTNERS WITH BRANDS TO SELL NEW PRODUCTS CALLED ‘MINI SERIES’. I DISCOVERED THESE BOOTS BY FRENCH BRAND ODETTA, GREAT FOR STOMPING AROUND LONDON ON APPOINTMENTS WHATEVER THE WEATHER
ALTHOUGH RESELLING IS THE MAIN PART OF THE BUSINESS, IT’S NOT THE ONLY ELEMENT. THE SITE IS BUILT ON A COMMUNITY MODEL SO YOU CAN MAKE A PROFILE, FOLLOW OTHER MEMBERS AND COMMENT ON EACH OTHERS’ PURCHASES AND WISH LISTS. THE PRODUCT IS ALSO CURATED INTO A ‘WE LOVE’ SECTION, WHICH NOT SURPRISINGLY IS
DANGEROUSLY NICELY POPULATED WITH HERMES JEWELLERY AND CHANEL BAGS. AS THE SECONDHAND PRODUCT ON THE SITE IS SO CAREFULLY SELECTED, BROWSING THROUGH AND ADDING TO WISHLISTS CAN BECOME QUITE ADDICTIVE
AS VESTIAIRE COLLECTIVE HAS NOW LAUNCHED IN THE UK, THERE’S A GOOD LIKLIHOOD THAT THE PRODUCT WILL VEER MORE TOWARDS SOME OF THE UK BRANDS, BUT THE SITE IS ADAMANT IT WILL KEEP ITS SELECTIVE, HIGH QUALITY FEEL. WHILE I DON”T KNOW IF I’LL BECOME A REGULAR CUSTOMER, I CAN DEFINITELY SEE MYSELF ACTIVE IN THE COMMUNITY, WISHLISTING AND SHARING SOME OF MY FAVOURITE PIECES ON SOCIAL MEDIA. OH LOOK, I’VE STARTED ALREADY…