FILE - In this March 12, 2019, file photo Willie Walton hangs clothing on a three-tiered conveyor system at the ThredUp sorting facility in Phoenix. A slew of websites and apps act as virtual thrift stores for vintage devotees, deal hunters and those just looking to unload stuff they don’t want anymore. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

Tech Exec Joins ThredUp Board: Mandy Ginsberg, former Match Group chief executive officer and Uber board member, was appointed to ThredUp’s board on Tuesday.

“Mandy has a track record of shaking up established industries with technology to create sweeping behavioral change,” ThredUp CEO James Reinhart said in a statement. “At Match, she had a hand in reshaping how people meet, and she’s also demonstrated her commitment to working with disruptive technologies through her board role at Uber. We’re thrilled she’s joining ThredUp and taking on fashion next as we continue our journey to make used clothing the new normal.”

A seasoned technology executive, Ginsberg spent more than a decade at Match Group — helping to expand the online dating company’s portfolio of brands to include Tinder, OkCupid, Hinge and Plenty of Fish — in a number of executive roles. She also played a role in taking the company public in 2015.

“ThredUp has built a technology platform that has the power to transform the fashion industry while driving toward its mission to positively impact not just the ecosystem of buyers and sellers but also the environment,” said Ginsberg. “This is an incredible time to join the company as the category — that was previously stigmatized — is quickly being normalized by new generations of users who are passionate and excited about discovering and selling products on ThredUp.”

Ginsberg counts previous board positions at J.C. Penney and Care.com, and currently serves on the board at Uber. Joining Trinity Ventures partner Patricia Nakache (chair), Upfront Ventures partner Greg Bettinelli, former DVF president Paula Sutter and Reinhart, among others, Ginsberg will help propel the mission to inspire a new generation to think secondhand first.

Rebag Open-Sources AI: Identifying handbags anywhere they’re spotted is becoming a much easier endeavor.

On Wednesday, Rebag open-sourced its Clair AI image recognition platform, a proprietary addition to the Clair pricing tool launched in October 2019. Whether shopping online, watching a show, admiring a friend’s bag or flipping through a magazine — any user can freely use the Rebag software (on web or apps for the iPhone and Android) to identify a designer bag with no obligation to sell.

Comparing the app to Shazam, a music app that listens and identifies a song playing, but instead for handbags, Charles Gorra, Rebag founder and chief executive officer believes the singular image-based tool will eliminate the guesswork for customers who previously had to type the identifying information into the Clair search platform.

The Clair platform, which stands for Comprehensive Luxury Appraisal Index, is a universal taxonomy and condition grading platform that helps to standardize the pricing process for luxury resellers across more than 50 brands and 15,000 Clair codes. It was launched after five years of development and aims to offer “transparent open pricing for resale.”

Since launching Clair, sales in volume have tripled according to Gorra. “If it’s open-sourced, if it’s free, if it’s public — everyone starts using. It becomes the index,” he added.

Clair AI boasts a 91 percent accuracy in “identifying” product. It is not to be confused with the greater assurance of “authenticating,” where hardware devices like that of start-up Entrupy come into play. While Rebag offers many accessory verticals, the tool only works for handbags at present.

Gorra also sees a viable use case for the tool for in-store shopping. “In the resale world, that hasn’t been a valuable datapoint. You go to Louis Vuitton, you go to Nordstrom — you scan the items and instantly discover how much value they recover,” Gorra said. “This is where we reconcile resale with brands and department stores. Sales associates can say: ‘Oh, but this retains value.’ Now you can show how much value.”

Adding to that, he said, “I think that’s how the industry should evolve, because that datapoint is a selling point.”

When asked why prices from other resale markets are not listed on Clair AI, Gorra said, “We don’t need to overwhelm the user with everything that’s going on in the world.”

Fire Upends Ghana Clothing Market: It’s one thing after another for the Kantamanto market, the largest secondhand clothing market in Ghana capital Accra.

Young designers, tailors and resellers in the country were already hit hard by the pandemic due to slogging retail footfall, a canceled fashion show and rising prices for used clothing imports after a surge of donations that helped devalue the market. Now amends still haven’t been made for a December fire, which quickly got out of control leaving clothing burning for a week and roughly 200 vendor stalls, or 6 percent of the market, decimated. Creatives lost sewing equipment and finished goods, with some losses equivalent to $5,000.

“Kantamanto’s had a couple of big fires in the past. We’ve investigated how the fire has been started and can’t really share that publicly or why it was started, but it is related to development. It’s related to a larger move to ‘modernize’ the city,” shared Liz Ricketts, cofounder of the Or Foundation, the nonprofit behind the multimedia research project “Dead White Man’s Clothes.”

With a small team on the ground in Accra trying to help the market pick up the pieces and move forward from piled-up debt and charred goods, Ricketts calls for more “solidarity within the resale and secondhand space — not because I hold them responsible but because if we are going to make circular economy (and secondhand as a part of that) something different then we need to see different economic models, and we need to see more solidarity between the Global North and Global South and also between ‘traditional marketplaces’ and ‘modern marketplaces.’”

“For us, the end of the line is the beginning of the circle,” Ricketts said. “Most of the clothing that ends up in Ghana, someone probably already tried to sell it on Depop, it probably was donated and sent to multiple states, to multiple countries and then ended up in Ghana. That’s a carbon footprint that seems pretty meaningless when like half of it is going to waste, but what we need to realize is that this fire is a supply chain disaster because if you have all of these companies in the Global North — resale platforms, clothing collectors, charities, for-profits, nonprofits, etc. saying that their mission is to keep clothing out of landfills and to extend the life of clothing then Kantamanto literally is laboring in service of that mission.”

It costs roughly $40,000 to import a container of used clothing into Ghana, where the demand is high but never surpassing the surplus of clothing ending up there. In homage to that “symbolic” trade amount, the Or Foundation is attempting to crowd-fund the amount to help rebuild the market on the sellers’ terms.

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