Ashley Granata was watching the Yves Saint Laurent documentary “Celebration” two years ago when an idea struck: heritage brands like Saint Laurent have created decades worth of art and design. Yet in today’s resale market, they have no control or — even visibility — over how their vintage pieces are passed on from consumer to consumer.
And so Granata, an industry veteran who has worked as a buyer, marketing manager and head of business development for a number of fashion companies, set out to create The Archivist.
Linking up with Joseph Einhorn, founder of early shopping discovery app The Fancy (now Fancy.com), the duo developed software for brands to monitor their product transaction activity from 150 resale platforms worldwide. By scraping this aggregate data and allowing brands to explore trends and buying patterns for their products in the secondhand space, the Archivist offers its clients the ability to study how specific products depreciate — or appreciate — in value over time, to make notes on suspicious vendors and to share findings with their design team to inform future collections. The startup also offers a white-label service for creating brands’ own resale marketplace.
This week, the Archivist announced a $2 million funding round that counts Ashton Kutcher and Edward Norton as investors, alongside former Amazon executive Sebastian Gunningham and Gossip Girl creator Josh Schwartz.
The Archivist, which was a 2020 LVMH Innovation Prize finalist, joins a growing field of B2B players hoping to capitalise on the brand side of the burgeoning resale market. While e-commerce platforms like The RealReal and Poshmark serve consumers directly and offer a wide assortment of secondhand luxury products, companies like the Archivist and the more established Trove target brands as potential clients.
Trove has built resale programmes for brands like Levi’s and Patagonia, operating its own distribution centres and handling all aspects of logistics for the buying and selling process. The Archivist is vying to do the same but for luxury labels. In addition to its resale monitoring “intelligence” service, it will offer prospective clients multiple models of resale. A peer-to-peer marketplace model is one example, in which the brand nor the Archivist doesn’t touch inventory. Meanwhile, the Archivist will also offer a consignment model, under which it would manage the inventory on behalf of the brands.
The Archivist faces the challenge of standing out among a number of resale upstarts. Archive (a separate company), founded last year, also aims to help brands operate on a peer-to-peer resale marketplace. Its first client, M.M.LaFleur, launched its marketplace earlier this year. Reflaunt, a service that allows brands to offer their customers an easy way to sell their pre-owned items by automatically uploading their listing on dozens of resale marketplaces, raised $2.7 million in February and has worked with brands including COS and Balenciaga. And last month, another peer-to-peer resale marketplace service called Recurate raised $3.25 million in a seed round led by Gradient Ventures.
The Archivist’s competitive edge, according to its co-founders, is that so far, few services offer holistic data on resale transactions across platforms. And as an LVMH Innovation Prize finalist, the company has unique insights on what brands want from a resale service.
“Ultimately, we’re a heritage management company,” said Granata. “And re-commerce is becoming a business line just like wholesale and retail.”