Some entrepreneurs enter the marketplace with the goal of changing the world – or at least the vertical where they have planted their flag. But Luxury Garage Sale Co-founders Brielle Buchberg and Lindsay Segal had much smaller ambitions in mind. In fact, they weren’t initially aiming to launch a luxury consignment business at all. Luxury Garage Sale started out as a favor for a friend who was closing down a luxury clothing boutique and needed help liquidating her inventory.
Buchberg and Segal set up an eBay store and got the job done, and thought that was the end of it. But soon, other people were asking for help liquidating their own luxury goods, and the pair realized there was a real need.
“Modern shoppers, even wealthy individuals, are drifting toward shopping resale because it's the smart thing to do. You can trade in and trade up,” noted CEO Trish Lukasik. "People still want high-status items, but know they can get them more inexpensively than walking into Neiman Marcus and paying full price."
Lukasik joined Luxury Garage Sale in 2017, about six years into its corporate life. The shop has evolved greatly since its early days, when it consisted of a series of pop-up shopping events. The pop-ups are still part of the business, springing up in major metros throughout the year. But the brand’s focus has shifted to its permanent brick-and-mortar boutiques and large online business.
The major challenge of the last two or three years has been bolstering the site’s internal technical operations to optimize its ability to list its ever-changing inventory of consigned goods. The aim is for the system to be manageable and seamlessly accessible to its employees, particularly the ones on the ground in boutiques.
Luxury Garage Sale may not have started with an intention to become a full-service, omnichannel luxury consignment business, but that is how the market evolved – and the business had no choice but to evolve along with it.
In the stores, that means they need to pair a constantly rotating inventory of desirable goods with knowledgeable sales staff and a host of service offerings, such as personal styling services. Online, it means making the wider selection of tens of thousands of items easy to navigate, while also making it easy to send in items to sell or to return things that don’t work. The overarching challenge is to blend those very comprehensive experiences into a single customer journey, easily started and stopped across channels.
"We've put a lot of focus on online growth (recently) and put a pause on scaling stores, because we wanted to make sure we could make them as efficient as possible," Segal noted in an interview with the Chicago Tribune, pointing out that efficiency had to be paired with a “white-glove experience online."
The customer who is looking for a luxury product is, in most cases, also looking for a quality shopping experience – and, perhaps most critically, a safe one. There is no shortage of websites offering resale luxury goods. The problem is that some of those so-called luxury goods are actually high-end knockoffs that look convincing enough in a picture on a website, but are then revealed forgeries when received.
It is why Luxury Garage Sale prides itself on putting products through a very intensive authentication process. Each piece in the inventory is first inspected by hand, by an expert and/or a GIA-accredited jewelry specialist. Items that don’t pass muster don’t make it onto the site.
“We inspect materials, workmanship, details, any tags, labels, logos, hologram stickers, date and/or serial codes, and identify the time period of each item. Extensive research is then conducted on each item’s style and brand, which includes side-by-side comparisons and critical examination,” Segal said.
Luxury shoppers are looking for a good deal, she noted, but they want that good deal on something that is real. A fake, even a good fake, is a bad deal at any price for a consumer looking for designer goods.