ReUpp is a start-up with a different take on sustainability and the resale market.
Launched in August 2021, ReUpp’s software technology enables customers to see what they can sell an item back for — before they first purchase it.
“There is just so much friction in the consignment business as it currently stands, but 79 percent of Americans who haven’t sold something are willing to,” said Lauryn Vaughn, founder and chief executive of ReUpp, citing Thred Up research.
Vaughn said she created ReUpp “to change consumer behavior from consumption to thoughtful purchasing by getting shoppers to think about the resale value at the time of first purchase and knowing they can give it a second home if they decide down the road.”
“Historically, if people decide to resell, it’s a chore, with a financial incentive that might or might not be worth the effort, plus they have to wait until their item sells — if it sells — for them to cash in,” said Vaughn, who also founded The Revente, Canada’s largest online luxury reseller. “ReUpp provides a guaranteed sell-back price before they’ve even purchased.”
ReUpp is live on luxury brand Smythe, but Vaughn said there’s about 15 brands “in our sales funnel we are looking to launch this year.” She also said ReUpp’s technology is being licensed to other resellers in the luxury and furniture space, including Luxe Du Jour, a Canadian online luxury boutique for shopping, as well as consignments, rentals, and restoring handbags.
Sonya Weisberg, Smythe’s head of marketing and e-commerce, said ReUpp’s technology adds “a level of sustainability to Smythe…While our pieces are designed to last a lifetime, a lifetime is a long time, so we can now facilitate those pieces finding a second home.”
By partnering with a brand, ReUpp knows when something is purchased new. ReUpp generally allows for a buyback within 12 months of the original purchase, though Vaughn said with less seasonal luxury products, a longer period could be considered, up to 18 months. If someone wants to send back an item after the term expires, ReUpp will connect the shopper with a resale partner, but can no longer guarantee the buy-back rate.
ReUpp handles the “reverse logistics,” meaning it provides the packaging and the shipping label and pays for shipping items to its offices, which are in Austin, Texas, and Calgary, Canada.
“We receive it. We confirm it. We authenticate it, and check it to see that there is no significant damage,” said Vaughn. Then ReUpp pays the customers, and manages the resale, listing the items on marketplaces such as Poshmark or eBay.
In last year’s pre-seed round of funding ReUpp raised $750,000, including investments from The51, a female-focused fund; Jonathan Greller, president of digital ventures at Marquee Brands; Ken Pilot, former Gap, Ralph Lauren and J. Crew executive who invests in technology supporting brands and retailers, and Tom Williams, an angel investor who manages venture capital funds. ReUpp is seeking to close on additional funding in the first quarter of this year.
According to Vaughn, ReUpp incentivizes the initial purchase since customers know they can get some money back from it, and can build customer loyalty to the brand. “It helps take away any post-purchase guilt,” said Vaughn. “Customers know they can love a piece and then it can have a second, third or even fourth life.”