Secondhand fashion is having a moment. But in an increasingly crowded market, big-name investors are betting on Vestiaire Collective.
Europe’s biggest platform for luxury resale said Wednesday it closed a €178 million ($210 million) funding round that values the company at $1.7 billion. New investors include SoftBank Vision Fund 2, the venture capital arm of Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank Group, and Generation Investment Management, a leading investor in the sustainability sector. Earlier this year, Vestiaire Collective added Gucci-owner Kering as an investor in another €178 million funding round that saw the French luxury giant take a 5 percent stake in the platform.
The investments reflect a broader appetite for companies plugged into the fast-growing resale space. This month alone, menswear resale marketplace Grailed raised $60 million from investors including rival resale company Goat Group, while California-based luxury resale site Tradesy raised $67 million.
The outlook for the sector is attractive for investors; resale is a big market that’s expanding quickly. The global resale industry was estimated to be worth $130 billion last year, according to a recent research report from BoF Insights, a new data and analysis unit from BoF. The market in the US, which accounts for around 20 percent of that total, is expected to grow between 12 percent and 20 percent by 2025, the report found.
Vestiaire Collective’s new investors are betting the company is well-positioned to take advantage of the market shifts. Their backing leaves the company with substantial funding and a suite of strategic partners that can bring expertise from their previous investments in adjacent sectors. Softbank, for example, has made investments in the used car space.
“When you have the opportunity to get such great investors like Softbank and Generation on board, you take the opportunity,” chief executive Max Bittner said. SoftBank Group International CEO Marcelo Claure will join Vestiaire Collective’s board of directors.
When you have the opportunity to get such great investors like Softbank and Generation on board, you take the opportunity.
The platform is planning to use its new funding to explore new technologies, and boost branding and advertising to fuel customer acquisition, Bittner said. Building brand awareness will be important to drive growth; while the US is now Vestiaire Collective’s biggest market, brand awareness in the region lags far behind rival US luxury platform The RealReal, the research report from BoF Insights found.
Vestiaire Collective is seeking to differentiate its position as a sustainable option, leaning into consumer interest in ethical consumption and gaining B Corp certification earlier this month. It also has ambitious plans to build out relationships with luxury brands as the sector’s historic wariness of resale platforms has begun to give way. A growing number of luxury players are experimenting in the market, seeing an opportunity to bolster their own sustainability credentials and build engagement with new consumers.
Vestiaire Collective is working with recent investor Kering to explore resale as a plug-and-play service, something it currently provides for the group’s Alexander McQueen brand, Bittner said. Other partners outside the Kering family include British brand Mulberry and luxury retailer Mytheresa.
Bittner sees building those partnerships as important to the company’s strategy, creating valuable touchpoints for it to learn about the customers it is targeting.
“My basic philosophy is: the better understanding I have of what’s lying in people’s closets, the better I can engage with those consumers. And who knows best what lies in people’s closets? It’s the brands, it’s the retailers,” Bittner said. “We’re still in the getting to know each other phase ... But I think they’ve been much more open than I’ve ever seen them over the last few years.”