“[Having a secondhand offering] is something that was dear to our hearts because it fit with our values. We’re doing quality garments made to last, so we think they can have several lives…and we’re backing that up with our willingness to buy them back ourselves,” Ami’s chief executive officer Nicolas Santi-Weil told WWD ahead of the launch.
Consumers will be able to send their products back to the brand through the platform, and after items have been evaluated, receive store credit to be used across its offerings, new or preloved. There are no immediate plans to extend the program to stores, according to Santi-Weil.
“Most of our existing stores — at 1,300 or 1,500 square feet — are already a bit tight to express the entire Ami universe, let alone add For Ever,” he regretted, noting that the brand is eyeing surfaces up to 3,250 square feet for future projects.
To put the platform in place, the brand worked with French secondhand solutions provider Faume, a two-year-old start-up that handles the logistics of incoming products and ensures they are in an appropriately salable condition before being offered for sale.
Items on Ami For Ever will be priced depending on their condition, seasonality and whether it’s an Ami de Coeur logo item, but consumers can overall expect to pay between 20 and 60 percent less than new products.
The secondhand program will be open to consumers based in France for now, but Santi-Weil hopes to extend it in the medium term to all retail territories.
While offering secondhand products fits in with concerns on sustainability and moving toward a circular economy, it also addresses a growing category among Ami clients: those who remained invisible to the brand.
In recent seasons and with the logo-centric Ami de Coeur collection growing in visibility, Santi-Weil and Alexandre Mattiussi noticed that the Ami consumer was getting younger — “there are these 14-year-old kids, who can’t always afford to buy full price, but who will look to us for a special occasion or a birthday,” he said — and that their first port of call to purchase the brand wasn’t retailers or even its website — it was pre-loved fashion platforms.
Making projections on what volume of sales this will eventually represent is premature, nor is it really the point at the moment, according to the executive, although from his observation, consumers who entered through pre-owned eventually also went for box-fresh items.
“Ami For Ever is not an offer that we look to make profitable or lucrative per se, but the idea is to connect with clients sooner instead of starting the relationship by leaving them to buy Ami without having the Ami experience through third-party sites,” said Santi-Weil, who also views the buy-back a perk of sorts for loyal customers. “You only have one opportunity to make a good first impression.”