In another month, one more online shopping store will be available for us to buy and sell pre-owned fashion. After Rekinza and Confidential Couture, Sharewardrobe.com steps into the market to authenticate and run a quality check on branded goods, before serving them up for our consumption.
Fatema Lokhandwala, Branded Bargains
Pre-owned fashion is a growing market, but not in the cool, ‘Oh, I love shopping for vintage in Williamsburg’ way. The gift of these intermediary services is the anonymity they provide to both, buyer and seller, and their skill of authentication.
Working with the premise, as Vidisha Pasari of Rekinza.com puts it, “most women have two problems — nothing to wear, and no place to put their clothes”, these stores come in and connect the two needs. The reasons for selling could range from over-consumption to outgrowing newly bought clothes.
Branded Bargains, one of the first players in this segment, functioned out of a brick-and-mortar store in Flora Fountain from 2011 to December 2013 until it shut because proprietor Fatema Lokhandwala was shifting home. Though the store is suspended, she still provides the service — of connecting prospective buyers with owners of the bag they covet — for a 25 per cent commission. “I had friends from all walks of life — those who bought everything from every designer to those who wanted a branded handbag but could not afford the price,” says the 36-year-old Mahalakshmi resident.
Aboli Salvi, Sharewardrobe
She cracked the code early on: Her business would not be made by idle browsers. “I worked out of a commercial building,” she says, “not visible from the street and met people by appointment only. Plus, I would space the meetings such that clients wouldn’t bump into each other.”
Anonymity is the primary rule of selling and buying international luxury brands, like the ones Couture Confidential trades in. The brand was set up in 2014, with offices in Delhi and Mumbai. It’s where fashion investors go for Chanel and Louis Vuitton handbags — two pieces that are always on waitlist and in demand. “As the name suggests,” says founder Anvita Mehra, “all information is confidential; you don’t know whom your Chanel boots went to or where your Gucci wallet came from. We validate everything for our customers.”
Vidisha Pasari, Rezinka
This validation and quality check is the most important service the intermediary provides, even in the case of Sharewardrobe.com, which deals in more accessible highstreet brands like Zara, Mango and W. It’s this that separates them from generic selling sites like Olx, Quickr or Ebay. “We don’t approve items for listing based on just pictures,” says 30-year-old Aboli Salvi, its founder. “We have around 20 plus checks for all brands. We also offer 100 per cent refund on any product that is proven to be counterfeit.” They also decline brands if they are bought from export surplus and street markets, and say they have ways of knowing whether they have been.
“Upon the arrival of a product, our in-house team reviews it and its accompaniments (receipts, authenticity cards). The hologram codes, heat stamps are all carefully observed,” says Mehra. “In addition, we draw out documentation which includes up to 40 images of every detail, stitch, stamp of the product. This is submitted to our an international authenticating agency based in USA. In some cases, we also partner with selected luxury brands and vetted third party international luxury resellers or retail stores.”
Branded Bargains also works on authentication certificates and bills. In addition, it counsels sellers on how to spruce up their products through laundries, and professional menders before helping them set the price. Share Wardrobe and Rekinza, both, arrange for a free pick up of the item from any city, run quality checks, have the item dry-cleaned and later, photographed. Rekinza goes a step further and offers to donate items that do not pass the quality bar to NGO Prayas.
It’s exciting times then for shoppers with an irreverent approach to fashion with roots in sustenance, and prolific spending habits.