Trade in, get paid. Billions of valued clothing items sit in consumer closets, and Patagonia is asking customers to ship it back to them — their “worn wear” — that is.
Patagonia Inc. announced a mail-in trade-in incentive program for used Patagonia clothing in its newsletter on Wednesday.
After success with its in-store trade ins and more than two years of discussion with its end-to-end tech and logistics resale platform partner, Yerdle; Patagonia opted for even easier access for its customers, the second time around.
With mail-in trade ins, Patagonia customers complete a four-question survey on WornWear.com. To comply, items must be “Patagonia clothing that functions perfectly and is in good condition,” according to the web site, meaning sewn-in garment tags are attached, zippers function etc.
As ownership changes, so do possible exchanges between owners. Current owners can opt to leave a message for the next owner at the end of the survey. Afterward, the customer receives a prepaid shipping label and is emailed a credit toward purchases to be used in Patagonia retail stores, on WornWear.com and Patagonia.com.
Mail-in convenience is nothing new to consignment-based businesses, such as online thrift shop ThredUp, which offers its “closet clean out” service for obtaining inventory. Even Apple touts its Apple Trade In policy, applying credit toward new purchases for customers.
Behind the scenes of Patagonia’s Worn Wear, Yerdle handles the logistics. WWD spoke with Andy Ruben, chief executive officer and founder of Yerdle, used by Patagonia, Eileen Fisher and REI, on the advantages of “Mail-In Trade In,” or MITI programs for fashion and apparel brands.
MITI “continues to support brands matching supply and demand,” said Ruben in a phone interview, while “continuing to invest in getting the items out of closets.” Ruben believes incredibly well-made products “deserve to get more use,” and confirmed Patagonia is the first partner to be mobilizing the initiative.
“All of these markets are supply-constrained,” as there is “too much work involved to get these items to the next owner,” he added.
Fashionphile, The RealReal, ThredUp, Poshmark, the list continues — and in the quake of the resale headwinds on traditional retail, Ruben believes fashion brands are recognizing the need to participate.
When asked about the competitiveness of resale marketplaces, Ruben contended, “Every third-party marketplace would like to have a monopoly,” but reiterated that there is a “far better experience when you work directly with the brand.”
As previously reported in WWD — “Only Chanel itself can know what is genuine Chanel,” claims the luxury fashion house in its pursuits to take down The RealReal in its New York federal suit against the company.
Similarly, Ruben said, “no one knows a Patagonia product like Patagonia.”