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While fans of high-end fashion have long been privy to buying secondhand designer goods at a discount, the fashion consignment store industry has gotten a big boost recently with an influx of specialized online marketplaces for vintage luxury goods. Not only does this trend offer greater opportunities for budget fashionistas to save money, but it ultimately exposes a greater audience of shoppers to the potential for savings.
And the savings can be big: to the tune of up to 70% off retail value. With the market for secondhand designer goods online burgeoning, luxury resale sites such as Shop-Hers.com, Fashionphile, Covetique, and SnobSwap have flourished with an inventory of quality products, reasonable fees, and sizable discounts. To top it off, personalized service invariably debunks the popular stigmas about consignment shopping; such service also sets these sites apart from the likes of eBay, where shoppers can also find sellers pedaling used designer wares.
While the goods on these sites aren't new or cheap, the deals themselves are significant enough to warrant some celebration, and in-the-know shoppers looking for unbeatable prices on quality wares can choose from a vast array of popular names in fashion. SnobSwap, for example, offers products from the likes of Chanel, Gucci, and Marc Jacobs for a fraction of the cost; shoppers can buy Burberry bags for 70% off or snag iconic Missoni dresses for 67% off, and either pay with cash or barter.
Beyond bartering, folks can also sell and swap vintage wares, and many of these sites will list items on a user's behalf; SnobSwap even calls the full service a "Closet Concierge." However, such services will in theory yield a smaller profit for the seller, since the Concierge takes a 35% cut from the final selling price, leaving the user with a 65% profit. Conversely, personally selling items on SnobSwap only racks up a 10% listing fee, leaving the user with 90% of the earnings.
In the vintage shopping world, personalized services make a world of difference. Like "Closet Concierge," Threadflip offers a White Glove Service that handles all of a customer's unused and "pre-loved" items. Still, managing the sale does come at a cost; Threadflip takes 40% of the cut to handle goods from start to finish, much like SnopSwap.
Luxury resale sites also distinguish themselves from the likes of eBay by implementing stricter quality control. Unlike the online marketplace giant, which does business in 30 countries and handles close to 1 billion transactions daily, luxury resellers are able to manage the demands of a smaller subset of buyers through a system of verifying the authenticity of goods. While eBay may not be able to sift through inventory for counterfeit merchandise, sites like Portero and SnobsSwap have zero tolerance policies for fake or counterfeit items; they employ expert third-party authenticators to consult on all accepted for-sale merchandise. Likewise, Shop-Hers requires all sellers to ship items to their headquarters first to determine their authenticity, and Portero even offers a money-back guarantee.
For a generation that has grown up during a recession, the cost and relative ease of use of these luxury resale sites is coupled with a reverence for unique, vintage finds. That translates into a clear way to avoid run of the mill retail chains like H&M that merely mimic the high-design trends. With a range of perks that span cost, quality, and brand names, the growth of the luxury resale platform gives fashionistas everywhere reason to rejoice — especially if the standard consignment store shopping experience has so far left them feeling unfashionably broke.