Designer resale retail online does not lack for options or enthusiasm. The favored trend of the moment — doubtless fueled by the excess of consumption in the fast fashion fad — is simplicity: slimming down the wardrobe to contain less trendy-by-the-minute clothes that maybe have three trips through the washing machine before they’re past their prime and more fit as dust rags.
Consumers have been urged on by a crush of new self-help books like, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” “Living With Less: Discover The Joy of Less And Simplify Your Life” or “The Capsule Wardrobe: 1,000 Outfits from 30 Pieces” — not to mention scores of blogs on the subject. The new paradigm says the secret to happiness is in buying less and buying better.
Any lifestyle change that starts with the premise of buying less may not sound like much of a commerce opportunity, but it actually is. That further admonition to “buy better” has been fertile ground for a host of reselling eCommerce retailers offering the discerning customer access to high-end fashion brands at costs that are not quite stratospheric.
And we do mean a lot of brands: thredUP, The RealReal, Bag Borrow Or Steal, Poshmark, Etsy and (of course) eBay are all locations that attempt to woo and lure consumers with reasonable prices for access (either buying or renting) to designer items rarely otherwise seen without a four- or five-digit price tag attached to them — and those are just the sites formally dedicated to shopping. Social media, particularly Instagram, has emerged of late as a new rival alternative for the shopper looking to buy or sell secondhand couture.
In that environment, Tradesy — one of designer fashion’s more established players — faces a problem: an overabundance of competition in an environment for shoppers with a fairly specific problem. Founder Tracy DiNunzio understood this problem acutely when she was selling used wedding dresses from her bedroom, but it’s still a problem facing a select slice of hotly competed-for consumers.
Today, Tradesy has over 5 million users and an investor list that would make most entrepreneurs envious. The company is considered the top eCommerce website for any fashion maven on the prowl.
What Tradesy does is imitated at points all over the web — in various incarnations — but Tracy DiNunzio’s approach for the company is somewhat different. Said simply, Tradesy is a brand with the attitude that fashion mavens aren’t born; they’re made. A brief peek at Tradesy’s website and mobile app reveals that the company is firmly in the business of creating fashion mavens.
Curious why a Hermes scarf fetches thousands? Tradesy can tell you. Wonder why a Burberry bag is meaningful to so large a segment of the population? Tradesy can also offer an entire historical perspective on that. Don’t like shopping but don’t want to be known as a bad dresser? Yep, Tradesy is reaching out explicitly to that customer too.
The website and mobile app even offer some unexpected advice from a brand that specializes in selling luxury brands.
“Even if you’re rich, never, ever, cover yourself head-to-toe in designer labels. You look like an idiot. Worse, you appear to have no imagination, which is the opposite of style. We all know that girl who wears seven fancy labels at once. She’s got perfection issues. She’s often in credit card debt. Don’t be her,” the company’s blog advises.
The brand also offer ways to decide what luxury items to buy for those first-timers.
“The days of going to work hungover with dry shampoo in your hair is a thing of the past. You are an adult now, with an income and some responsibility. Which means it’s time to get your first luxury bag. But, unless your mother is Diana Vreeland, how do you know where to start? When you’re a beginner, it can feel a little overwhelming,” Tradesy’s blog admits.
What makes Tradesy different in an online high-end fashion field that is crowded — and becoming more so by the day — is that it doesn’t assume its customers are buying experts, or even necessarily sold on the idea of spending big on a secondhand item.
High fashion, instead, is treated like any other skill set a customer is investigating, and Tradesy eases users in with not only the goods to purchase, but a reasonable strategy for purchasing them.
“We should have access to the things that make us look and feel great without getting into debt,” DiNunzio noted in an interview. “I love people who are self taught.”