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A New Resale Startup Takes Aim at the Women’s Designer Footwear Market

The success of companies like The Real Real and Vestiaire Collective is evidence that consumers’ perceptions of consignment and luxury are shifting. And now a new player in the resale space aims to tap into one of the most lucrative luxury categories—women’s designer footwear.

The recently launched Luxury Shoe Club (LSC) offers women an online platform to buy and sell pre-owned luxury shoes. The unique retail model lets women buy pre-owned, new-in-box and gently worn designer shoes at a fraction of the cost and pays them upfront to sell shoes they no longer wear.

The launch comes at a time when both the women’s luxury shoe market and sale of pre-owned designer shoes are on the up and up. According to LSC, the U.S. women’s designer shoe market accounts for $8.6 billion annually, while the sale of “pre-owned” luxury shoes have reached more than $800 million a year.

“When I saw how much it cost women to sell their shoes on consignment sites like The Real Real and the pain and hassle of eBay and Craigslist, I wondered why women who have the same shoe size couldn’t just trade the shoes they no longer wear with each other,” Scott Van Valkenburgh, Luxury Shoe Club co-founder, said. “We have completely taken the hassle and cost out of buying and selling pre-owned designer shoes.”

To join the club and begin buying and selling, consumers must download the LSC app and select one of three membership levels with annual fees starting at $49.

LSC describes its Club Point system as its “secret sauce.” Members buy and sell shoes using points instead of cash. Each Club Point is valued at one U.S. dollar. When a member lists a pair of shoes for sale, LSC’s uses its proprietary pricing algorithm to determine the shoe’s fair market resale value and then instantly pays up to 50 percent of that value to the listing member. The remaining amount is paid once the shoes are bought.

This model, the company said, allows members to immediately earn points to shop other members’ shoe closets without having to wait until their shoes sell. The more shoes they list, the more points they earn upfront for buying designer shoes.

Other member benefits include personalized shopping, a 7-day return policy, express shipping, free shipping boxes and at home pick-up. Members can also enjoy discounts on LSC’s partner Santana Leather Care, one of two repair companies recommended by Christian Louboutin in the U.S.

Resale is on the upswing. Fueled by sophisticated online and in-store experiences that rival traditional luxury retailers, and influenced by sneaker heads’ game of “buy, hype and sell,” more consumers are accepting the channel as a viable place to shop, not to mention as a means to make money while enjoying a rotating closet.

Last month Rati Levesque, chief merchant of The Real Real, said she sees consumers thinking about what the resale of an item looks like before they purchase it from the primary luxury market. This behavior shift, Levesque said, is a win-win for both consignment and the traditional luxury sector. Over the next couple of years, the company will give $1 billion back to consumers from the items they’ve consigned with The Real Real.

And the appeal of resale doesn’t stop at luxury. The sense of discovery and the thrill of a bargain resonates at the premium and mid-tier, too.

The 2018 edition of ThredUp’s Resale Report found that one in three women shopped secondhand last year for a total of 44 million shoppers in 2017. The same report found that 62 percent of consumers who’ve joined the thrifting bandwagon have done so because of the ever-changing product selection—a factor that could run a traditional retail business into the ground if they tried to keep up.

ThredUp, which resells brands like J. Crew, Madewell, Vince and Michael Kors, projects that resale will represent 11 percent of the apparel market by 2027, compared to the category’s 6 percent share in 2017.

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