Farfetch’s clothing donation program is coming to America.
The luxury e-tailer announced Wednesday that it’s tapping ThredUp’s so-called “resale as a service” platform to extend Farfetch Donate—a perk previously available only in the United Kingdom—across the pond.
The company will be working with the world’s largest online consignment and thrift store to offer Farfetch Donate-branded “clean out kits” to its customers, who can fill them with the purged remains of their overstuffed closets for dispatching to ThredUp at no cost. What follows is equal parts altruism and self-interest. Whenever a deal hunter snaps up one of these items on ThredUp, 50 percent of the total payout will go to the seller’s choice of a select group of charities. Whatever is left is converted into Farfetch shopping credit for applying to a future purchase.
Though ThredUp has collaborated with retailers such as Abercrombie & Fitch, JCPenney and Madewell, Farfetch is its first resale-as-a-service partner to leverage its new white-label offering, which creates a customized end-to-end experience based on the client’s branding and audience. The service was born out of ThredUp’s own experience as a bustling managed marketplace, where it can process up to 100,000 extraneous garments, shoes and accessories every day in the hopes they will spark joy with someone else.
The process of sorting, pricing and photographing products for resale can be time-consuming, laborious and expensive. To speed things up and keep overhead low, ThredUp developed algorithms that employ visual recognition to determine an item’s key attributes—a Peter Pan collar, say, or a handkerchief hemline—as well as how much it should cost based on historical data.
“What we’ve had to do is build the technology, automation [and] the infrastructure that allows us to take all these clothes and list them online for resale very quickly—so we can keep the prices down for the buyers,” Karen Clark, vice president of marketing at ThredUp, told Sourcing Journal. “And then we’re allowing brands and retailers, with resale as a service, to plug into that technology and that operating system.”
Farfetch Donate, which is powered by secondhand retailer Thrift+ in the United Kingdom, is part of the company’s broader “Positively Farfetch” strategy to become a “platform for good” in the luxury realm. By 2030, Farfetch seeks to be “more circular than linear” through programs like Farfetch Donate and its Secondlife resale scheme.
“We’re excited to work with ThredUp to offer U.S. consumers an easy and sustainable way to refresh their wardrobes,” Thomas Berry, Farfetch’s director of sustainable business, said in a statement. “Farfetch Donate is an innovative service, elevating the traditional donation experience by making it both easy and rewarding for customers, delivering a positive impact by extending the life of good quality pieces, and supporting multiple charities along the way. ThredUp is helping us do this in a seamless and scalable way.”
Resale is an “inevitable part” of fashion’s evolution and is the “next emerging channel for apparel retailers,” said James Reinhart, co-founder and CEO at ThredUp, whose recent annual report estimated that resale’s market share could double over the next five years to hit $77 billion. By 2025, resale might grow 11 times faster than the broader retail sector. It could even supplant fast fashion, which is expected to stay “roughly flat” over the next 10 years.
“Farfetch is one of the most innovative, forward-thinking companies in the luxury fashion industry, and we’re honored to power and scale their donation program and help create a more sustainable future for fashion,” Reinhart added.