First it was high-end watches, then came luxury handbags. Now consumers can trade pre-owned designer shoes.
Luxury Shoe Club is a membership-based shoe-trading platform that began operations on Monday. It also donates a percentage of its profits to help disadvantaged women. The business model is a blending of the share economy, online luxury consignment and membership-point programs. The company is currently self-funded.
The platform lets women sell pre-owned, new-in-box and gently worn designer footwear that they no longer wear. In addition to the online platform, the company also lets members view available footwear via a mobile app for the iPhone.
The company is the latest entrant into the single-focus, luxury resale market, joining firms such as TrueFacet for pre-owned jewelry and watches and Rebag for designer handbags. Millennials have been driving the resale market, often buying and then reselling what they’ve bought to buy something else on a reseller’s site. And their older counterparts have been using the sites to purge their closets’ contents.
Scott Van Valkenburgh, who cofounded the company, said, “When I saw how much it cost women to sell their shoes on consignment sites like The Real Real and the pain and hassle of eBay and Craigslist, I wondered why women who have the same shoe size couldn’t just trade the shoes they no longer wear with each other.”
According to Luxury Shoe Club, the U.S. luxury footwear market for women accounts for $8.6 billion annually. It estimated that the pre-owned market for luxury footwear is $800 million annually, given that the average price for a pair of designer shoes is $770. The company also estimated that there’s about $1 billion in extraneous, new-in-box luxury footwear that are in women’s closets.
The company is offering three membership levels: Intrigued, at $49 a year; Passionate, $99, and Obsessed, $149. Each membership class has varying benefit levels that include bonus club points for shopping, savings on club point purchases, varying discounts on shoe repair and polishing, free shipping boxes and free shipping for shoe purchases. For a limited time, the company is waiving its annual membership fee and giving free memberships to members who list shoes within seven days of joining. There is also a sliding scale between $5 and $15 as a club trade fee on shoe purchases, depending on membership level.
Luxury Shoe Club uses a proprietary pricing algorithm to determine its fair market resale value. Once that is ascertained, it pays up to 50 percent of that value to the club member. The balance is paid once the shoes are bought. Each club point has a $1 value, and points that are credited to a member’s account are immediately available for use on the site.