With the interest in sustainability and circular fashion growing, it’s no wonder that the second-hand shopping market is booming all over the world. Well-known brands like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace all have a hand in facilitating the second-hand market’s proliferation — and its popularity is set to grow even more over the next few years.
In the U.S. alone, 56% of consumers reported having purchased second-hand fashion, and another 32% are open to the idea of purchasing second-hand fashion in the future. Buying and selling clothing, shoes, and accessories online has become easier than ever before — and, now, the luxury second-hand goods market is following suit.
According to recent research from Statista, the luxury second-hand goods market is set to grow at a steady rate of 8% each year from 2023-2027. But selling used high-end goods isn’t quite as straightforward as reselling regular products. Boasting much higher price tags and (sometimes) pickier buyers/sellers, luxury second-hand goods require a slightly different approach when being resold.
That’s where a brand like Reflaunt comes in. According to Forbes, Reflaunt’s service is best described as “a software platform that promotes the circular economy by connecting brands/retailers with the second-hand market.”
Essentially, Reflaunt provides luxury retailers with a “resale eCommerce and tailor-made branded marketplace technology and operations solution” which allows them to improve their brand experience and provide more value for their customers by making reselling used luxury items as easy as possible.
So, how has Reflaunt grown over the years, and what can other brands learn from this sustainability-focused company? Let’s dive in.
What is Reflaunt?
With the goal to “build a world of positive consumption”, Reflaunt was founded in 2018 by an ambitious trio of entrepreneurs with highly complementary areas of experience.
According to the brand’s About Us page, they are:
Stephanie Crespin, CEO: bringing “10 years of experience managing luxury brands between P&G Fine Fragrances and leading Asian resale marketplace StyleTribute”, she brings the fashion experience
Felix Winckler, CCO: a “serial entrepreneur in the consumer technology space”, he brings the tech experience
Philippe Benedetti, CTO: boasting “10 years of experience building and leading tech businesses from Rocket Internet to StyleTribute”, he brings that business-building experience
In an article for Fashion United, Reflaunt is described as “a technology company that brings Resale-as-a-Service to fashion brands and multi-brand retailers” so they “can empower their own customers to resell or recycle their past purchases in a click, directly on their ecommerce platform.”
In a nutshell, Reflaunt partners with fashion brands and retailers to provide them with the platform they need to allow their customers to resell their pre-loved products — aka “an integrated resale model within their after-sale services.”
For consumers who purchase high-end fashion, it’s often difficult to resell their pieces using traditional second-hand avenues. After all, your average second-hand shop isn’t necessarily looking to resell a $3000 purse — their customers are on the hunt for vintage, pre-loved goods that won’t break the bank.
Thus, Reflaunt meets the needs of a more niche group of consumers: high-end fashion lovers who value sustainability through circular fashion. And, over the last four years, Reflaunt has been quite successful in building its brand and finding new partners.
The abovementioned Fashion United article references a fascinating report — one which “indicated that resale has grown 21 times faster than traditional retail over the past three years.” Furthermore, by 2023, “the market is set to reach $51bn, growing at an annual projected rate of 16%.”
Clearly, resale has become a real competitor for traditional retail. And by keeping sustainability at its core, this circular fashion movement is sure to connect with even greater numbers of consumers as time goes on.
Why? Because it’s not just about getting rid of clothing, shoes, or accessories you no longer wear — these days, “research shows that 40% of consumers under 30 consider the resale value of an item before buying it.” Based on this data, Gen Z and younger Millennials are ideal target audiences for brands like Reflaunt, as they’re already considering resale possibilities before making new purchases.
And while second-hand shopping has traditionally been viewed as only popular for those looking to spend less on clothes, Fashion United shared:
“Another striking figure is the large number (35%) of high-income shoppers involved in second-hand trade. This number reveals that the growth of the second-hand market is more driven by ethical and environmental concerns rather than financial gain.”
Today, Reflaunt’s notable partners include the likes of Harvey Nichols, Balenciaga, Net-a-Porter, The Outnet, and more.
And in August 2022, the brand secured a Series A funding round of $11 million in order to “accelerate the circular growth of the fashion industry (...) led by Shanghai-based Ventech China, Global Blue and Bombyx Growth Fund”.
In a statement commenting on the investment, Tomas Mostany, the Senior VP of Strategy and CPO at Global Blue said:
“The resale market is one of the fastest growing sectors in luxury, and customer demand for circular fashion is strong.
"Our partnership with Reflaunt continues to place us at the forefront of innovation for retail growth areas, enabling us to constantly offer new solutions that empower our merchants to capture the opportunities these fast-growing new sectors represent.”
In late 2022, Reflaunt is poised to dominate the resale space in the coming years — and other brands would be smart to take a look at what sets this brand apart from the competition.
3 Lessons to Learn From Reflaunt
1. Always Be On The Lookout For Ways to Provide More Value to Customers
Every marketer knows how difficult it is to build customer loyalty in 2022. With nearly “unlimited choice and a limited attention span”, modern consumers are becoming brand agnostics — no longer loyal to brand names but always searching for the best value.
In order to keep customers loyal in 2022 and beyond, brands absolutely need to provide unmatched value to their customers. Reflaunt understands this principle and its entire business model revolves around how it can add value to its customers’ lives.
The 2021 article from Fashion United perfectly outlines the ways in which Reflaunt’s “service model brings significant value to the brand’s customers”, stating:
“The main (value) being the ease of putting an item for sale: Reflaunt sources the product description from the brand database to simplify the listing process. The listing process is a seamless journey where customers can create their product listing in a few clicks.”
So, first, Reflaunt adds value by making its listing process as simple as possible. It requires very minimal input from customers — which makes for an enjoyable customer experience.
The article continues, explaining:
“The other and considerable value for the customer in this model is the additional financial return they receive in store credit. The store credit scheme gives the customer the option to be paid in cash or receive a higher return in store credits, making it more interesting to resell via the brand rather than reselling on their own.
“This approach enables customers to unlock the value they have tied up in their garments and support a fundamental change in how they view and engage with the brand.”
Secondly, Reflaunt makes it possible for its customers to receive actual monetary value while simultaneously staying true to their personal values — which, in this case, has to do with sustainability and circular fashion.
The Takeaway: Modern consumers require more than convenience to remain loyal to a brand. In order to build customer loyalty in 2022, you need to provide customers with unmatched value — so much so that switching over to a competitor would mean losing out.
Whether that’s in the quality of your products, the seamlessness of your brand experience, or the fact that your brand allows consumers to stay true to their beliefs — providing value to your customers is vital.
2. Use Consumer Insights & Industry Trends To Guide You
Reflaunt’s goal is to build a world of positive consumption — one where “fashion is art lived daily, uniquely expressing one’s personal style” and “potentially appreciating in value” as time goes on. In short, to move forward the circular fashion movement.
However, Reflaunt’s founders didn’t decide to launch their company on a whim — they looked to evolving industry trends and consumer preferences (i.e. sustainability, love for second-hand clothing) to make strategic decisions.
In an interview with Fashion United in September 2021, Reflaunt’s CCO Felix Winckler touched on one of the brand’s main values, sustainability, stating:
“Sustainability is something of great importance and makes the subject part of their agenda, as well as product life cycles and circularity.”
Furthermore, he shared additional insights into why Reflaunt has been so successful, explaining:
“the second-hand market has been quite dynamic. I think when people were at home looking at their wardrobe and had time on their hands we saw the market grow during this period. It supported the idea that this market is quite strong and resilient.”
The Takeaway: Clearly, Reflaunt’s brand strategy is based soundly on real data and insights — and it’s allowed the brand to grow and find success even during a time as tumultuous as the last two, Covid-stricken years.
Other brands should take a page out of Reflaunt’s book and look to consumer insights to inform their strategic business decisions. And if you’re not sure where to access reliable consumer insights and market trends, we suggest looking into brand monitoring software — as it provides accurate data on brands’ target audiences, as well as insights into what consumers really want.
3. Find Creative Ways to Reegnage With Customers To Strengthen Your Connection
Traditionally, fashion brands only had one main point of contact with their customers: to sell them new products. And efforts to reengage with them had to center around encouraging them to purchase more — something that sustainability-minded consumers aren’t fans of these days.
However, Reflaunt makes it possible for fashion brands to reconnect with customers in an exciting, novel way. Fashion United expanded on this thought, stating:
“beyond the financial opportunity, the resale service can be used strategically as an opportunity to re-engage existing customers in a clever and meaningful way, boosting customer retention and reaching new audiences with a sustainability-driven mindset.
“The other plus of having an integrated resale experience is that the brand and retailer owns the customer journey, as customers remain on their website for the entire process, continuing their brand experience.”
When integrating Reflaunt’s service, fashion brands have the opportunity to re-engage with customers and offer them a new, highly-valuable service: an easy-to-use resale platform.
Instead of customers having to resell their items on their own, they can return to the brand from which they purchased their items and continue their brand experience seamlessly.
The Takeaway: With the importance of sustainability growing for consumers, brands will need to find new, creative ways to re-engage that don’t just push more consumption.
Finding innovative methods to reconnect with customers will be the way forward — so brainstorm ways that your brand can re-engage with customers and add value to their experience without selling them new products. It may sound difficult, but it’s definitely worth thinking about.
Reflaunt found an underserved niche in a growing market and crafted a service that makes consumers’ lives easier, allows brands to re-engage with customers, and leans into important trends like sustainability and circular fashion.
While not every brand may be able to find such a perfect fit, they can learn from Reflaunt’s methods and take the lessons discussed in this deep dive into consideration.