Fashion resale company Vestiaire Collective has recently started offering its customers a new shopping option. In our interview Maximilian Bittner, CEO of Vestiaire Collective, explains exactly what this is all about and why direct shipping simplifies many things. We also talk to Bittner about the top sellers at Vestiaire Collective and the most relevant issue at the moment, sustainability.
Can you tell us more about Vestiaire Collective’s new business model and what benefits it will bring to Vestiaire Collective customers?
Authenticity and quality control are the heart of the Vestiaire Collective business. Every item sold on Vestiaire Collective undergoes a physical check by our dedicated in-house team of experts. With our new direct shipping service that is available for products under €200, buyers have the choice to bypass physical control and authentication at check out for the first time and receive their item directly from our trusted and expert C2C sellers. This extension to our business model rewards our community with relaying our trust in exemplary sellers whilst offering buyers an exceptional shopping experience. Direct shipping makes shopping on our platform easier as it speeds up the average delivery time and buyers save around €10 for authentication and shipping. All items available for direct shipping are highlighted on our site in a special category, so our customers see all products on one view.
So far there are direct brand partnerships with Sandro, Maje and Bash among others. What other brand partnerships are planned for the future?
We are planning more partnerships with inspirational brands in each market to close the circle between resale and retail through a 360° integrated partnership and to locally encourage consumers to join the circular fashion movement. Sandra, Maje, Ba&sh, Claudie Pierlot, Amélie Pichard and MaisonCléo are great brands to launch with as they are France’s leading contemporary brands with a strong French DNA just as Vestiaire Collective. Further brand partnerships will include beloved brands from the UK, Germany, Scandinavia and Italy which we can’t reveal at this point.
Which products belong to the top sellers?
Our bestselling category globally is handbags, the brands and model differ slightly per market but the styles by the big luxury houses such as Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Gucci are consistently popular. We know that 60% of the people coming to Vestiaire Collective are looking for pieces they can’t find somewhere else while being more aware of what brands represent. This is why the new luxury brands such as Balenciaga, Prada, Gucci and Off-White are having a moment. In order for customers to develop a unique style by mixing designer labels with more accessible premium brands such as Ganni, Supreme and Veja.
In times of climate crisis and the aspect of sustainability, do you notice that people are using secondhand products more? Can this be seen in the figures at Vestiaire Collective?
There is an increased consumer awareness and interest in sustainability, leading consumers to look to resale as an eco-conscious alternative to fast fashion which we definitely notice at Vestiaire Collective. People consume less but better and have become more aware of the quality and worth of fashion. As the younger generations are driving the green movement, we have noticed a significant shift in our audience which has become much younger over the past few years. Young people prefer to go for a more sustainable choices like a vintage dress or blouse, instead of going to a fast fashion brand where they would also lose the quality and uniqueness that vintage provides.
Vestiaire Collective celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.What were the most important developments for Vestiaire Collective during this period?
In the last 10 years we have grown from being a small team to over 400 employees with six offices around the world in Paris, London, Berlin, Milan, New York and Hong Kong. Milestones include our first investment round in 2010, opening our first office outside of Paris in London in 2012, our expansion to the US and APAC as well as launching our Vestiaire Collective app. Reducing our commission structure this year has also been a huge development for us to engage more sellers on the site while allowing buyers to purchase pieces at more accessible price points. Not to forget our integrated brand partnerships and Direct Shipping, which is one of my favorite projects. The latest milestone for Vestiaire Collective is a number of physical activations including a six-week pop-up at Le Bon Marché which opened late August, a pop-up in Milan in collaboration with the Green Carpet Awards and our first permanent boutique opening in Selfridges department store in London the end of October.
Are there already exciting projects for the near future?
We continue to focus on our global expansion, especially in Asia, as we look to extend into more key markets in the region. This allows Vestiaire Collective to have a unique position in the resale space, since we provide our fashion community with a diverse product curation from different sellers and buyers from all over the world. Another key focus for the business will be implementing a series of functions that will further empower the community to engage and interact with each other. Also tech innovation, customer engagement, personalization and discoverability are also priorities as we move toward becoming an app-first platform.