When it comes to discovering the wealth hidden in your wardrobe, Nicola McClafferty, Founder and CEO of online designer re-sale website, Covetique.com, is the woman in the know.
Nicola set up Covetique.com in November 2011 after realising there was a gap in the market for somewhere to sell your unwanted designer items online, which offered a hassle-free service with the same level of luxury as when you bought them. Working in Venture Capital within the e-commerce space, understanding the foundations and key elements of a successful online business model, Nicola set up Covetique.com with business partner, Bobby Devines and in November 2012 saw ASOS invest in the business.
Realising that a luxury, hassle-free experience had to be at the core of the brand, Nicola ensures that customers can expect to have their unwanted items picked up from where ever they are in the world and managing any returns. As a seller there is a very competitive 37 per cent commission on any item sold and for over 20 items, there is a reduced commission rate of 27 per cent, making that wardrobe clear out even more beneficial.
The team based at the North London HQ, manage the hundreds of boxes of designer clothes, shoes, bags and accessories, which come through the Covetique.com doors every week. Nicola and the team have an expert eye for reviewing every collection in terms of quality, spotting any potential fakes and finding the appropriate prices to achieve the best sale. The team of experienced stylists and product writers beautifully style and write about the products, creating a world class shopping experience to rival any of the international luxury e-railers.
The thousands of sellers that choose the site to sell their unwanted wares means that Covetique.com is not just the destination for selling your unwanted wardrobe, it’s also a treasure trove of past season designer finds to shop by designer, product type or simply new in. With hundreds of designers ranging from Hermes, Dolce&Gabbana, Roland Mouret, DVF, Christian Louboutin and Jimmy Choo and you can even shop the wardrobes of fashion royalty such as celebrity stylist Grace Woodward and shoe designer, Lucy Choi in the magazine-style feature, #OneLessDress. There is a definitely a new lunch time online retail addiction.
Nicola give us her top tips for finding the wealth in your wardrobe and knowing how to recoup it.
Treat Your Wardrobe Like A Business Portfolio…
‘A lot of women don’t think of their wardrobe as an asset, but for most it’s actually more valuable than their car – and you’d always think about reselling your car, wouldn’t you? We’ve been talking about a smarter attitude to fashion for a while now at Covetique, and realising what assets you could sell from your ‘portfolio’, and when, is a huge part of that.’
There’s Potential In Everyone’s. Even Yours…
‘A wardrobe can be worth tens of thousands, particularly if its been accumulated over a long time. Our sellers do tend to be urban women with high incomes who spend a lot on fashion (maybe a couple of thousand a month on Net-a-Porter) but that’s not to say that other people don’t have a lot of value sitting in their closets too. If you asked any woman to break down the contents of her wardrobe – shoes, bags, sunglasses, winter coats, nice dresses bought for weddings – you’ll probably end up with a number that’s a lot higher than you’d first thought.’
Look Out For Hot Trends…
‘There are three types of items to be sold at any one time – trend-led pieces, forever classics and then super-luxuries, the special things. You need to think about which category each of your items falls into and the timelines associated – it’s called fast fashion for a reason!’ ‘Burberry’s checks always sell very well, but when they showed those cashmere capes at their [AW14] show, we were suddenly seeing their scarves, throws and wraps go for much higher prices. A new trend brings something like that to the top of people’s minds and people start looking for similar items, so it’s good time to think about whether you want to sell yours, if you’ve got one. Timing is everything with these trends – capes are everywhere now, but you may want to wear yours again while it’s back in. 6 months later would be fine to sell still, but in 18 months time the price will have dropped again.’
Take Care Of Your Clothes…
‘It sounds really obvious, but store your clothes carefully – their condition directly impacts their value. My top tips are to hang on to the receipts and tags, keep things in their original boxes and dust covers, and if you’ve got a lovely leather handbag, make sure you stuff it to keep its shape intact.’
Keep Up With The Industry…
‘Mary Katrantzou has changed her design direction in the last few seasons [from digital print to embroidery] and while her loud prints are still reselling well, I wonder how much they will be worth in a year’s time. It could go one of two ways; either they will become her early iconic pieces and fall into the special investments category, or they will be seen as older pieces that don’t represent who she is as a designer now and the value will fall. That sort of change in perception is very important to the re-sell value, so do look out for things like designer moves and departures [from big fashion houses].’
Forever Classics Will Always Sell
‘Some things will always sell – timing isn’t an issue. Key designers’ signature pieces – Diane von Furstenberg wrap dresses, Isabel Marant jackets, Joseph cashmere jumpers, Vivienne Westwood’s draped dresses – you can instantly tell they are theirs. It’s always interesting to see what things are becoming new classics too. Markus Lupfer’s sequin knits, for example, always sell very fast.’
What To Buy Now, And Bank On Later
‘Don’t be afraid of investing in a really high quality pieces, especially good winter coats, this season. Leather or shearling jackets – these are trends now, but let’s face it, they’re on trend again every winter. The hottest labels are probably really obvious – Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Celine, Acne, Givenchy….’
Have Realistic £££ Expectations…
‘At Covetique.com we work on a commission model, so it’s in our interest to price it as high as we can. But as experts, we have to realistically assess the condition of the item before we can predict how much it may make. If it’s a basic dress that you’ve worn loads you may get 20% of the cost back, but if it’s a leather bag kept in good condition, you might get 80%.’
And Reinvesting Your Profits Is Totally Fine…
People’s motivations for selling can vary – sometimes it’s to clear space before moving house, or to save up for a holiday, but often it’s just to put towards next season’s designer handbag. With classics it’s often the case that people just got bored of a colour or print – you bought a purple knit last season, but now the designer’s done it in navy. Sell the purple, buy the navy – trade. Once you understand what styles or brands return the most money, it starts to influence how you shop for new things. Smart reinvestment is good, you certainly feel less guilty!
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