When you think about buying and reselling clothes, eBay likely comes to mind. But the auction site is best navigated with some skepticism thanks to the hoards of counterfeiters using the platform to make a dime. It’s now one of the last places you would ever look for genuine Chanel, Gucci, Prada, and other name brands. To fill this market with a bigger safety net is Tradesy, which launches out of beta.
Tradesy is a peer-to-peer market for designer and women’s accessories and apparel — giving last season’s dress, handbag, or bracelet a second chance at life in another fashionista’s closet at steeply discounted prices. You can find anything from 3.1 Phillip Lim and Michael Kors to Armani Exchange and J.Crew. But unlike eBay or other existing sites out there, you can rest assured that what you’re buying is the real deal, and that there’s an attentive human being on the other end of your email, phone call, or in-app chat should you have any concerns.
Customer service is one competitive advantage that Tradesy’s CEO and founder, Tracy DiNunzio, prides her startup on. She and her staff are actively monitoring the Tradesy community and call themselves the “Zappos of women’s fashion resale,” a reference to Tony Hsieh’s well-regarded business model that transformed Zappos. It’s a reassurance for buyers and sellers of second-hand clothing especially when shopping for vintage clothing online has been tainted by scam stories.
Tradesy takes a hands-on approach to maximizing a seller’s sales potential. After sellers photograph their unwanted clothes and accessories to list on the site, the Tradesy team will spruce up amateurish photographs. The platform also uses a pricing recommendation engine that tracks what items are selling for by brand, item type, and in real-time updates, and suggests to its sellers a recommended price that they can use as a benchmark. “It’s for what we know those items will sell for right now,” says DiNunzio. “In winter, summer items are going to be less in demand so there’s an additional discounted recommended for those items.”
And for sellers, there are no listing fees, and essentially nothing to lose until you sell an item — for the record, Tradesy takes a nine percent commission for every sale.
Buyers can shop with the assurance that their purchases will be genuine (or your money back), and receive on average 68 percent off items. Typically products are price at between 40 and 90 percent off retail value. Shipping is included in the price of the item (between $1 and $6) and buyers will receive their purchases in a Tradesy branded box.
But there are a few rules in order to keep the system running smoothly. You must photograph serial numbers to prove the authenticity of a designer good; you’ll get banned for selling counterfeits. Items also must be women’s wear. It’s worth mentioning that Tradesy employs a team of experts that can spot a counterfeit from a mile away.
Of course simply eyeing a photograph isn’t entirely fool proof, even for professionals, but Tradesy eats any losses. All purchases of counterfeit items or misrepresented and damaged items are guaranteed a full reimbursement. Any purchases that you’re unsatisfied with can be sent to Tradesy for “store credit.” While sellers will get banned, the site will soon launch mechanisms to rate and verify sellers.
As for all the returned clothingm it’ll find a home in a closet full of returned items at Tradesy headquarters. DiNunzio revealed to Digital Trends that they hope to resell returned items at a heavily marked down price in the “Tradesy Closet.” “It’s our secret shop. There’s going to be certain incentives that allow some of our most active members access to the Tradesy secret closet where they’ll find those items that have been returned at up to 90 percent off.”
Tradesy isn’t DiNunzio’s first startup, and she knows a thing or two about the resale industry. She bootstrapped her first company – Recycled Bride, which is also a marketplace for used wedding apparel – by renting out her apartment through Airbnb. This time around, after initially bootstrapping the development of Tradesy she’s hit her stride and just raised $1.5 million in funding from investors.