It’s not enough for Vestiaire Collective to be the leading marketplace in Europe for pre-owned luxury and contemporary apparel and accessories. With its first fashion advertising campaign, the web site wants to capture wallets around the world that may be resistant to the idea of previously worn.
The campaign — which broke Thursday and features Lexi Boling, Paul Hameline and Manami Kinoshita — includes TV spots, digital video and still photography and will run in 11 of Vestiaire Collective’s key markets, including France, the U.S., the U.K., Italy, Germany, Spain, Scandinavia, Hong Kong and Australia.
“We wanted to show the reality of secondhand and not what people have in mind,” said Sébastien Fabre, cofounder and chief executive officer of Vestiaire Collective. “It’s not a dusty world. It’s really a fashionable world. I tried to translate that into a campaign where you have a new generation of models. I wanted to bring out the modernity and diversity of the market. I want to make sure we’re transforming old ideas.”
The team responsible for the campaign includes creative director Graham Rounthwaite of i-D magazine and The Face; fashion director Alastair McKimm, also of i-D and creative consultant to Saint Laurent, and photographer and film director Daniel Jackson.
An investment of $65 million earlier this year is being used to fuel global growth, especially in the U.S., where the brand is trying to make inroads, and Asia-Pacific, where Vestiaire launched three months ago.
Vestiaire’s turnover is expected this year to be 108 million euros, Fabre said, adding that the company is growing at a rate of 60 percent. “We’re not profitable yet. We’re profitable in Europe. We’re in an investment mode. I spend 30 percent of my time working with investors.
“There were 200 competitors in the field when we launched in 2009,” Fabre said. “Today, there’s seven. The secondhand market is worth $200 billion. If we address only 10 percent, it’s going to be big. There’s really room for growth.”
Fabre added that while profitability is in Vestiaire’s sights, he’s not thinking about an initial public offering at this stage.
The ceo sees Vestiaire’s job as “activating all the latent merchandise and putting it back into the economy. It’s access to fashion at lower prices. When you have a new designer come in, such as Alessandro Michele, [Gucci‘s creative director], you create an incredible volume of transactions on the secondhand market. There’s huge demand for Gucci product on the other side. Our job is to match the demand and supply.”
Vestiaire on Oct. 19 will open for four months a store on Rue Saint-Roch near the Palais-Royal in Paris, which will feature a café and bouquets by florist Racine Paris. “There’s definitely going to be a permanent location,” Fabre said. “We’ll open a shop. We don’t know if it will be in Paris or elsewhere. It’s part of our experience. People can come to the shop and have their products authenticated or ask for a valuation.”
Fabre also wants to show off Vestiaire’s inventory. “We have 12 seasons of Isabel Marant, so we’re able to put that in front of the shopper,” he said. “Our team of stylists will do silhouettes of products combining vintage. We’re sourcing all the Martin Margiela from the Nineties and mixing it with new season product. If people can’t afford something new, they buy vintage.”
About 17 percent of Vestiaire’s product consists of vintage, Fabre said. “Our biggest category is handbags. You can’t believe the size of the supply of Birkins in Asia. It’s very large and the bags are in very good condition in Japan. The supply is growing incredibly fast. We’re also growing very fast in contemporary designers and watches.”
Vestiaire is in the midst of a partnership with the Parisian boutique Merci. “We have a pop-up at Merci that’s working incredibly well,” Fabre said. “We have to put new product there all the time. The more that’s sold, the more money people have to buy new products.”
A new 8,600-square-foot logistics hub has been established in Tourcoing, in northern France. “It will enable us to absorb all the growth we’re experiencing,” said chief operating officer Olivier Marcheteau. “Our volume is exceeding capacity. We’ll be able to manage four times our capacity eventually and we’ll ship to 48 countries.”