Did you know that extending the lifespan of a garment by just nine months through reselling reduces water and carbon footprints by up to 30%?! Revolving around the concept of limiting fashion waste, Vestiaire Collective has grown into a community of over 10 million members across 100 countries looking to give their luxury items a new home.
Founded in 2009 by Fanny Moizant and Sophie Hersan, this preloved fashion platform gives its highly engaged users a place to interact, share a common love for designer fashion and refresh their wardrobes sustainably. We spoke to Fanny Moizant, Co-Founder and President of Vestiaire Collective, about the company’s 2017 launch in Asia, advice for sellers and why many have hopped on this sustainable bandwagon.
Nana Asia: How did you come across the market gap for pre-loved luxury pieces?
Fanny Moizant: Fashion was always a part of my childhood; my mother ran her own boutique in France and I would often help out. I think it was a natural progression for me as it was always something I felt passionate about. Vestiaire Collective was started in 2009 after my fellow co-founder Sophie Hersan and I realised that most of our friends’ closets were full of beautiful designer pieces they no longer wore, and that many style bloggers were beginning to sell their clothing online. There was nothing that combined the fashion curation and trust element.
The notion of waste reduction is also key to explain this trend. Shopping preloved items extends the lifespan of garments, which in turn minimises waste and harm to the environment.
Nana Asia: How does consumer behaviour differ between East & West? How has that affected your decision to launch Vestiaire Collective in Asia?
Fanny Moizant: We typically launch in markets where we see natural traction from our buyers so this largely influenced our decision to set up operations in Hong Kong in 2017 followed by Singapore and Australia, our other key markets in Asia, where we saw natural demand.
In terms of differences, there is a high consumption of luxury products in Asia, where we noticed the high spending ability of Asian customers, but also the amazing supply we have here of premium items. We launched a Smart Side of Fashion report earlier this year, which explored the evolution of the circular economy and consumer habits during COVID times when consumers were especially looking to monetise their closets.
Nana Asia: How has Vestiaire Collective changed the public’s perception of second-hand consumption?
Fanny Moizant: Sustainability is extremely important for consumers today; it’s also become a key concern for the fashion industry. Circular fashion is a large part of the fashion movement, which has naturally helped influence the public’s perception towards second-hand consumption.
We’ve also noticed consumers are moving towards the idea of buying less but buying better, and we have reached a moment where we just can’t continue consuming in the way we have in previous years so it’s time to rethink our consumption habits.
Nana Asia: Buyers are always on the lookout for sustainable ways to shop. How does Vestiaire Collective differentiate itself from its competitors?
Fanny Moizant: Our unique business model brings together four elements, which sets us apart from our competitors:
- Sustainability – A growing mindset shift towards the importance of sustainability has been growing over the last few years, and this has further escalated since the outbreak of the COVID crisis. People are switching to a conscious approach to consumption, focusing on buying less but better.
- Global community – There are currently over 10 million members worldwide who enjoy engaging with the app regularly. The community enjoys the social engagement and being able to connect with like-minded circular fashion lovers and activists.
- Fashion DNA – Our catalogue now features two million unique desirable fashion pieces sourced from the wardrobes of fashion lovers all over the world. The platform is updated daily with 60,000 new products added every week to ensure newness, often reflecting the latest trends and in-demand items.
- Trust – Vestiaire Collective has built up a high level of trust on the platform and within its community due to its diligent processes including authentication and quality control.
Nana Asia: How does your team check for quality and authenticity?
Fanny Moizant: Trust has and will always be at the heart of Vestiaire Collective. It is one of the core founding pillars and remains central to everything that we do. Part of this process touches on quality and authenticity. In all of our logistics hubs, including Hong Kong, we have specialists who run a series of checks on each piece in order to ascertain the authenticity of the piece before it is sent to the buyer.
Nana Asia: Any advice for sellers who wish to sell their products on Vestiaire Collective?
Fanny Moizant: Firstly, customise your profile in Newsfeed on our app and actively build up a community of potential buyers who will see your pieces first and be notified of all your updates including price drops. Also, never underestimate the power of good images: take good pictures!
Always put yourself in the buyer’s perspective and try to be super clear and thorough in your product listings: include clear visuals, as well as thorough descriptions that state the true condition of the item including any flaws. Most importantly, keep receipts and original packaging where possible: this will ultimately increase the resale value.
Nana Asia: What can other women learn from your entrepreneurial journey?
Fanny Moizant: That it’s not always going to be an easy road ahead. It takes hard work and determination when it comes to managing your own business, and it’s up to you as the leader to inspire your team to succeed. Having said that, a good work life balance boosts productivity and prevents you from burning out. Carving out time for yourself is key.
You can never innovate without exploring new ideas. Failures will happen but it’s important to learn from every mistake and grow from every learning experience. So be prepared to take risks and embrace challenges!