The vintage clothing industry is on a rocket ship to the moon. Both brick and mortar as well as eCommerce resale stores are appearing in droves. It’s a good thing too because there is no shortage of clothing in existence. According to the EPA, textiles are one of the most abundant consumer products in our landfills today. Thrift Collective, a resale clothing company based in Seattle, launched their platform with both humanitarian and environmental sustainability aspirations. They recently partnered with Tailored to help them deliver on their mission.
Clothing Resale Today
Two kinds of vintage eTailer exist today. The first type is peer-to-peer, think Poshmark and eBay. These platforms allow individuals to list and sell items from the comfort of their home. Peer-to-peer attracts millions of shoppers, which is a major draw for individuals looking to sell. There are also few barriers to usage, which usually only includes downloading the retailer’s app. Individuals are then free to list and promote their collections while advocating for a circular economy. Two downsides of peer-to-peer are the lack of consistent data and a non-uniform look to the product listings. Some will post photos of their garments on hangers, some on body, and others on the floor. Many will take care to iron the garment before the photo, others not. Some will take time to provide the physical measurements of their garment, and some, well you get the point.
The other type of apparel resale platform is corporate managed, think ThredUP and The RealReal. Individuals who wish to sell on these platforms must ship their clothing to the company, who then performs the listing and sale process. Because of this, the look and feel of the site is uniform. The clothing is displayed and photographed in a manner consistent with the brand. One perceived downside when you buy from them is having no information about where the clothing came from or the seller.
A New Kind Of Vintage eStore
The Collective, as founders Jackson DeStefano and John Lyon call it, was created with the goal of being a hybrid of the online resale stores mentioned above. Thrift Collective is a peer to peer platform with the look of corporate managed. “We wanted to be the owners of the listing process to give the site a clean look and feel.” regarded DeStefano. This will also allow them to control the quality of the garments being listed.
Shopping on the Thrift Collective website gives visitors multiple paths towards finding well fitting vintage clothing. Diving right into the men’s and women’s collection provides a broad stroke of the fashions available. Another feature which separates TC from other vintage platforms is the ability to shop a specific collector. Collectors are the sellers and they’re actively promoted on the site. TC even lists the specific causes each collector supports.
Building A Business Around Resale
Clothing resale is not only about profiting from gently used garments. Its focus is sustainability and waste reduction. I’m sure you gasped if you’ve ever read about the amount of water used to make a single tee-shirt or the amount of clothing we discard each year.
When Tailored asked the team at Thrift Collective why they started the company, their response was not uncommon. “Thrift Collective was started with the fundamental belief that used clothing is a key solution to the major sustainability & humanitarian issues caused by fashion production. Our mission is to bring top voices in fashion and technology solutions together to give thrift stores a leg up on fast fashion. In addition, it is important now more than ever to support brick & mortar stores in going online. This in order to provide a safe alternative to in store shopping for both employees & customers.”
The Resale Bottleneck: Measurements and data entry
There are similar processes within every clothing resale business. Garment intake and listing tasks do not vary much from brand to brand. Garments are inspected, cleaned, photographed, described, measured and barcoded. A major bottleneck within this process is the manual measuring and corresponding data entry (see our article on automated measuring in resale). Thrift Collective wanted to maximize efficiency during this process which is why they adopted Tailored Capture.
An additional reason for the partnership was to give consumers a better idea of how each garment is measured. The more information a consumer has on a vintage garment, the better buying decision they can make.
Why Thrift Collective Chose To Work With Tailored
“In traditional retail, 1 product description and 1 set of images can be used tens of thousands of times. In resale, every item needs to be described independently. Because of this, reducing the complexity & time burden of listing products while also improving the presentation and accuracy of those listings is crucial for our clients.” remarked DeStefano.
Additionally, “Partnering with Tailored has been key in eliminating the need for thrift stores to type any information when listing products on Thrift Collective, resulting in a process that is 80% more efficient than other existing platforms.”
Tailored is a fashion technology company built on AI. Their patented measuring software, named Capture, enables retailers to improve supply chain efficiency by automating garment measuring and data entry tasks. Capture is also the only scalable technology that uses a single photo to collect fit data from garments a consumer already owns. Tailored exists to help retailers in both traditional retail and vintage improve their bottom line while becoming more sustainable. If you are interested in learning more about Tailored’s offering, reach out to us here.
About Thrift Collective
Thrift Collective is an online marketplace that enables the digital transformation of thrift stores by connecting a top network of independent sellers in fashion and custom solutions with easy to use technology.