We recently asked Vestiaire Collective’s vice president of global marketing and branding Vanessa Masliah about the thinking behind the new brand identity, and what’s next for the platform.
Inside Retail: Why did it feel like the right time to launch a new brand identity?
Vanessa Masliah: Beyond the brand identity, we wanted to reignite brand desirability and inspiration. Since its inception, Vestiaire Collective has always been driven by a desire to break the rules and offer our global community another point of view on fashion. It is part of our DNA to challenge the status quo and rethink the way people consume fashion for now and for a better future.
Our new philosophy – Long Live Fashion – is a positive rallying cry for those who both love fashion and those who want to see it transformed into a more sustainable future. In short, we want to get people to love their (pre-loved) fashion more and take better care of it so that it can live forever.
Our community is central to our brand, and to what makes us unique. Not only do we have a highly desirable catalogue on the platform, but also you can really trust the people you’re buying from or selling to. Our members constitute a collective of people who love, share and enjoy sustainable fashion, and we wanted to more clearly reflect this part of our identity.
IR: How will the new identity be communicated to customers?
VM: Long Live Fashion is a global campaign that is rolling out simultaneously in all our geographies and key markets like France, Italy, Spain, UK, US, Germany and APAC. We truly believe that the transformation of the future of fashion is a global concern where the resale market has a key role to play.
In APAC, we are communicating to our customers through our onsite/app, CRM channels, social media and additionally digital branding ad placements and performance marketing channels.
In some of our larger regions such as Europe, we have communicated our brand relaunch via Broadcast & OOH placements, in addition to the online strategy.
IR: It seems like the new identity aims to show that all different kinds of people buy pre-loved fashion. Do you think there’s a misconception about who this category is for?
VM: More than a misconception, we want to continue educating the wider audience on the different reasons why our community engages with pre-loved fashion.
The concept of using puppets really came from the core of our brand mission and values. We were looking for a unique and engaging way to bring to life the attitudes and behaviours of our community to buy and sell on Vestiaire Collective, their passion for pre-loved clothes and their desire to make fashion live forever.
For example, Miss Classique…she’s really the queen of timeless style and savvy shopping. She really knows what will endure and will always spot the new classics. She trusts the Vestiaire Collective platform for its authentication service which she cherishes.
Rich is our smart seller. And the beauty for him is that on Vestiaire Collective he has an audience that really gets the value of what he’s selling. He’s smart, quick and always knows what will be the next big thing.
Lady Green is really the puppet that represents the core of our brand – sustainability. She’s someone who will not compromise on her values and knows that looking good doesn’t mean you have to compromise on a strong look. There are also Drops and Hunter!
The puppets are our spokespeople, so making them from pre-loved clothing just seemed like the best way to bring to life our brand values and raise awareness on fashion’s future in a disruptive way.
IR: I know that you recently completed a new funding round. What was your primary reason for doing so? How do you plan to use the funds?
VM: We had two recent funding announcements. First in March 2021 with Kering Group and Tiger Management, then in September with Softbank and Generation. This shows a great interest in the resale market and potential to continue high growth.
In general, e-commerce is booming, and additionally, there is growing interest in sustainability: 85 per cent of pre-owned buyers participate to reduce overconsumption by trading up fast fashion to higher quality and longer-lasting items [according to a 2020 report by BCG].
Vestiaire Collective is riding on this movement, and growing very fast. We look to continue on improving the consumer experience through technology and accelerate in international markets, notably in the US and Asia.
IR: You also recently acquired a rival pre-loved fashion platform, Tradesy, in the US. How do you see that market developing in the years ahead?
VM: The transaction is very much about building scale for the benefit of our customers. By joining forces with Tradesy, we are significantly expanding our digital marketplace for sellers and buyers. Sellers will see their products reaching a much broader audience. And, buyers will be presented with a much larger and highly attractive selection of products, notably coming from Europe.
Importantly, the increased scale in the US will fuel growth of environmentally friendly, local-to-local transactions. To support that effort, we will open a new authentication centre in the Los Angeles area. This will be our fifth centre globally, the second in the US after NYC.
Last but not least, we have been very impressed with the great quality of the team at Tradesy and see this acquisition as an opportunity to strengthen our global team to drive long-term success. Importantly, the Tradesy team brings a unique understanding of the US consumer and great tech capabilities.
From a corporate strategy perspective, this is a key transaction for Vestiaire Collective. It brings strategic scale to our group, which is absolutely critical to a marketplace. It also brings geographic diversification. The US was already our number one market, but still under-weighted compared to the luxury industry market. With this acquisition, the US will represent a third of our business; consistent with the share of the US market in the global luxury industry.
At the same time, we are accelerating in Asia-Pacific, with plans to enter Korea and Japan in the short term, so we are very much on track with our objective to expand internationally and diversify from our European base.
IR: How would you describe the current stage of growth you’re in, and what are the key challenges you face now?
VM: Vestiaire Collective is experiencing an acceleration phase. We achieved transaction volume growth of over 100 per cent in 2020. The strategy we’ve been implementing over the past two years is paying off.
The high quality profile of the investors joining us today highlights the strength of Vestiaire Collective: our people, our ambition, our business model. Importantly, it also confirms investors are looking for businesses addressing the sustainability challenges ahead of us
Specifically in APAC, key challenges we are focusing on is the need to localise. Localisation is key to ensure we have a good supply of products that are relevant for our APAC users. It is also challenging to merge global and local initiatives as they celebrate different cultures and festivities. For example, in Asia, we aim to continue to tackle secondhand bias and continue educating our APAC community around the importance of this change.
IR: Vestiaire Collective already has 15 million global users. How many potential customers are you aiming to reach?
VM: Vestiaire Collective has approximately 15 million members, and together with the Tradesy acquisition we now have approximately 23 million members. Additionally, we have a catalogue of 5 million products.
Our aim is to transform the fashion industry for a more sustainable future by empowering our community to drive the change. In order to allow our clients to make this change, we are constantly improving the customer experience on our platform to offer them an intuitive and sustainable way to buy and sell fashion.
New features, high personalisation and green functionalities are developed by our tech team to encourage our community to join us and participate in the fashion circular movement.