The French-born entrepreneur bringing you pre-loved designer

The French-born entrepreneur bringing you pre-loved designer

Lady luxe

Site: Yeong Sassall

Buro 24/7’s Yeong Sassall chats to the French-born co-founder of Vestiaire Collective, the trusted source for pre-loved designer

Vintage, pre-loved, second-hand... no matter how you spin it, if you're handing over your credit card digits for someone else's designer goods - you want to know it's legit. And thanks to the healthy US$460 billion counterfeit industry, sometimes it's not always possible to tell if the Chanel Boy or Gucci Marmont you're lusting after is the real deal, or a really great fake. With this very modern predicament mind, French-born mother-of-two Fanny Moizant co-founded the pre-owned luxury fashion portal Vestiaire Collective in 2009.

Now one of the leading online resources for buying and selling second-hand designer, Vestiaire boasts six million members and counting, with every single one of its 600,000+ items rigorously checked by Vestiare's experts for quality and authenticity before being posted to the site. And with members spread across 48 countries worldwide, that equates to a lot of pre-loved luxury. Here, we chat to Fanny about Vestiaire Collective, handbags and the most-wanted luxury items on the planet.

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Talk to us about the concept for Vestiaire Collective. Where did the idea for this site come from?
Back in 2009, I noticed that people were selling previous season products on their blogs during the recession but I was concerned that there wasn't a trusted online site that would guarantee authenticity and give a fair price for the piece depending on its condition. I had just had my daughter and wanted to work for myself so I started searching my friend's wardrobes and pulled out anything that they didn't use that we could sell and along with the other five co-founders we launched Vestiaire Collective from our flats in Paris. That was eight years ago, now we have offices in five countries and over six million members on the site.

What makes Vestiaire different from other vintage or designer consignment stores?
Vintage is perceived differently in each country and each country has a different offering but we've brought this all together and opened the offering to a global audience, so there might be a piece that someone found in a New York vintage store or a flea market in Paris but any one of our six million members globally can purchase it. Our vintage curators, our quality control team along with our community make vintage shopping with us a complete unique experience.

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Do you collect vintage designer yourself?
I fell in love with vintage fashion during my childhood and my mother gave me a few vintage Alaia pieces that I treasure. I'm slowly adding to my vintage collection.

Aside from Vestiaire, where are the best places to go hunting for vintage designer pieces?
For furniture and interior pieces, I go to you can always find something interesting. I come from the South of France, so I was spoilt for local flea markets where you could always unearth some treasure.

You must see lot of change in regards to demand - what are some of the most popular designers on your site at the moment?
Our top brands across the board are Chanel, Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Céline. Gucci and Saint Laurent are also in demand due to a rise in media attention and change in designers. Interestingly, in Australia we also see a high demand for Prada and Dior pieces.

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Are there are some designer purchases that retain their value and are always in demand?
Bags retain the highest percentage of their retail price, around 75%, so make the best investment. The Chanel 2.55 and Timeless, Speedy by Louis Vuitton and Hermès Kelly and Birkin bags are the pieces that continue to be demanded by our community.

What are the five pieces in your wardrobe you'd never part with?

1. Hermès cuff - I searched high and low for this cuff in a specific colour and leather and couldn't find it anywhere. One day it popped up on Vestiaire Collective, and  I've never added something to my bag so quickly!  

2. My Cartier Tank ring, which my husband gave me after the birth of our eldest daughter, Louise.

3. The vintage Alaia pieces that my mother gave me, I'd love to pass them onto my girls one day.

4. My vintage Chanel bag, it's the navy-blue Camera bag with a pompom which I why I fell in love with it!

5. My denim jeans: I live in them, I have a lot but life without a pair of jeans is just impossible for me.

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What advice would you give for people wanting to offload unwanted designer purchases?
For hot items, you will be able to recoup the majority of the original retail price if you sell within the same season of purchase. Overall an item's desirability decreases significantly after 2-3 seasons from release, with the exception of a small number of collector's pieces. Get rid of the pieces you haven't worn in the last 6 months, you're unlikely to start wearing them now. Keep all shoe boxes, dust bag, receipts as they will facilitate your sale.

And what should you be looking for when buying pre-loved pieces?
Firstly, you want to buy something you will not become bored of quickly. A good price is key, with Vestiaire Collective you can make the seller an offer a good way to ensure you're both happy with your deal. We grade items by condition (Very good, Good etc) to ensure transparency when browsing the site. However, if the item arrives at our Quality Control department and they think the item is in a different condition than stated they will contact both the buyer and seller and offer a new price for the piece based on their expert knowledge.

I can't recommend enough that when shopping pre-loved online you go to a trusted website that will provide a smooth transaction from the quality of selection to the quality control and authenticity. You also want to ensure there is a customer service team who can help with any questions you have.

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Lastly, what's the ONE piece you'd love to get your hands on, but haven't yet?
A vintage navy Hermès Kelly bag. I'm checking Vestiaire Collective every day!

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