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PARIS — Paris-based luxury resale site Vestiaire Collective, whose backers include Condé Nast International, is preparing to launch in the United States and Italy.
This story first appeared in the February 10, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Founded in 2009, the social shopping site offers items from brands including Chanel, Hermès and Céline, with 2 million members in countries as far afield as Iceland, Australia and China.
Having focused initially on building a strong community and a solid offering that promises to filter out counterfeits, the site is on track to post its first organic profit in 2014, said Sébastien Fabre, Vestiaire’s chief executive officer.
He forecasts revenues will approach 60 million euros, or $81.3 million at current exchange, in 2014 versus 27 million euros, or $35.9 million, in 2013.
Vestiaire Collective has already launched in the United Kingdom and Germany, with the U.S. to follow later this month and Italy in June. Its users post 2,200 new products a day, up from 980 in January 2013, and buyers are spread across 40 countries, with the top markets being France, the U.K., Germany and Italy.
Fabre expects international markets will account for 50 percent of the site’s revenues by the end of 2014, versus 40 percent at present.
“Vestiaire’s ambition is to become a real destination for fashion,” said the ceo, who worked at Vivendi and Microsoft before founding the site with five partners. “The quality of the products is incredible. That’s what matters the most to me, because the war between marketplaces is waged on supply.”
By tracking popular products, Vestiaire Collective focuses on the most profitable items, which it asks sellers to send to its headquarters before putting them on sale, guaranteeing they reach buyers more quickly. “Increasingly, we are shifting to a consignment system, having the products on tap,” Fabre said.
Speed and quality of service are especially important in the U.S., he noted, saying the company has a team of four people in New York and will hire 10 more this year.
Mobile transactions account for 55 percent of revenues, up from 10 percent in October 2012, and new developments will be targeted at mobile consumers, with the planned introduction of an electronic wallet function that will allow transactions to pass directly between users.
Fabre also sees great potential synergies between Vestiaire Collective and Condé Nast, which in September 2013 led a $20 million investment in the site alongside private equity firm Idinvest Partners and existing investors, London-based venture capital firms Balderton Capital and Ventech.
Editors at Vogue, Glamour and GQ have made a selection of products on the site, Vestiairecollective.com, and there are plans to integrate more editorial content. Fabre also sees Condé Nast’s “critical mass” as key to accelerating growth in the U.S. and entering markets such as Russia and Asia in the future.