November 25, 2017

Longevity as we know it, is no easy feat in fashion. Many brands are struggling to find their solid footing in a capricious industry where competition is fierce, aggressive and unforgiving. However, this isn’t the case for Vestiaire Collective—an online retailer which has managed to carve a name for itself in the last 8 years. Fanny Moizant, the co-founder of Vestiaire Collective decided to strike out of her own after spending years in the fashion industry—and the push factor came when she became a mother.

Despite the fast-paced nature of fashion, Vestiaire Collective has stuck to their winning single formula of buying and reselling pre-owned luxury goods. The French company has grown from strength to strength with their first office in Paris before expanding to Europe, the United States and now Hong Kong. Together with her 5 other co-founders, Vestiaire Collective has made the headlines for their simple, easy-to-shop consumer-centric website and their fastidiousness towards the quality and authenticity of each product listed. Since Fanny was in town last month for the Millennial 20/20 Summit, we decided to speak to her on why e-commerce is growing rapidly and the company’s expansion plans in Asia.


HNW: How did the idea of Vestiaire Collective come about?

Fanny Moizant: I have always been deeply passionate about being an entrepreneur, I think it lies in my family’s DNA. I specialise in fashion marketing and worked for several brands such as John Galliano, Dim and Mexx. After giving birth, I decided that I want to work for myself and launch a business. The idea for Vestiaire Collective came to me one day when I was reading the French press. Interestingly, my brother’s friend was also working on a similar idea, so we decided to join forces. We merged the two concepts and launched Vestiaire Collective. Now we have six co-founders with very different backgrounds. Two of them are the tech guys and another one is doing logistics. I leave the more corporate aka boring stuff to the guys.

I understand that community plays a big role in your business. How did you go about building one that now has over 5 million people?

First, we believe in putting the community at the heart of our business. When you empower your members with social media features like following, commenting, and liking, etc… It becomes very addictive and they start to engage with one another. It’s a virtual yet fun and addictive circle, and word gets around. That was how the community grew—all very organically.

Who makes up the Vestiaire Collective clientele?

Women and men who are passionate about fashion. They might love different brands, styles and aesthetics, but they are all very smart in their approach to consumerism. They know the value of items and want to get the best deals. So I would describe them as savvy and passionate.

E-commerce is growing fast but most brands still aim to open a physical store. What is your take on the future of retail?

I think the future is about offering a holistic experience. Retail stores or online platforms are just channels. We need to focus on our clients’ needs by offering convenience, so that they can shop anytime or anywhere. In the brick-and-mortar aspect, we are currently testing a Vestiaire Collective boutique in Paris. It is much more than just a store; it consists of a cafe, a florist and a space to interact with industry leaders to get inspiration.

I understand that Vestiaire Collective is a platform for resale and pre-owned items. Are you afraid of items going out of style?

No, we are not. Style is timeless and trends are cyclical.

People tend to be more cautious towards pre-loved items, how do you go about ensuring the quality and authenticity of each product?

Our entire business model is centred around “Quality” and “Authenticity”. Our curation team accepts only the best out of the 4,000 items submitted digitally and daily by our community. Next, we conduct an in-depth physical check on the quality and authenticity of each product with our experts. We have zero tolerance towards counterfeit items and work closely with luxury brands to identify replicas or fakes. Similarly, for quality, we have our own set of standards—if the items do not qualify, we may cancel the sale and reimburse it to the buyer or sell it at a depreciated value based on what was given to us.

Do you think buying luxury goods is more of an investment or a fashion statement?

Both. Luxury goods hold value over time. So you should definitely buy a luxury item that you like and resell it once you’ve moved on to something else. In addition, you should have recouped a significant portion of what you had paid for. In that aspect, I think it’s a clever investment.

Do you think millennials will reshape the luxury market?

Yes, thanks to digital and social media. Brands need to adapt to what millennials want and understand what appeals to them.

I understand that Vestiaire Collective is expanding into Asia. What strategies are you employing to capture market share?

At the moment, all our efforts are focused on APAC. We are currently creating the Hong Kong hub and a team to look after the whole region. We are planning to first target Hong Kong, then Singapore, followed by Australia. Thereafter, we will be looking at South Korea, Japan and China. Strategy-wise, we want to educate Asian consumers on second-hand luxury items as we feel that it is less common in this region.

What is the ultimate goal for Vestiaire Collective?

Make our members happy!

How would you like people to remember you and your company?

As a very exciting place to shop, sell, find inspiration and interact with other fashion lovers.


Image Credit: Vestiaire Collective