April 08, 2016
This astute and well researched article by Kim Bhasin appeared on Bloomberg dotcom late last year.
Here's the takeaway:
"There's a war brewing over the junk in people's closets, as investors funnel cash into the online clothing resale business, backing more than a dozen companies, each looking to capitalize..."
But we are not. "Refashioner strives to curate unique items," Kim writes. Yes indeed. Because I don't want my interesting clothes to be warehouse fodder, and I don't think you do either.
Above is a Thredflip warehouse, and here's one of the RealReal's...
Depressing! I'm not just being sentimental about clothes, I'm sad that it's the same old business pattern:
When you apply this pattern to the old clothes trade it doesn't work. They hope you won't notice because they need your inventory, but THEY are capitalizing, WE are short-changed. A resale site at scale is brutal. To please their moneymen, they must reject half your pieces, sell the rest too cheap, and keep a huge chunk of that price. In other words, huge resale sites work for VCs not for you and your closet.
Why does it have to be big?
I don't just mean clothes resellers, though their bigness can kill them (recently deceased: Threadflip, Copious, Twice--which sold its talent to the biggest of all: Ebay), but business as usual. This sounds dumb because we are so used to perceiving bigness as success but please, let's try NOT scaling. NOT capitalizing. Let's see how that helps the world.
Because if we don't, what do we get? We get Donald Trump.
Have you had a bad experience selling your clothes online? Or a good one? After all, big also means more buyers...