For some, buying a designer handbag is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For others, it may be a yearly occasion. But regardless of how often you head out to purchase a luxury bag, there’s no doubting that it’s a big investment.
Although you may have been eager to drop $3,500 on a Versace bag three years ago, you might find that it now sits in your closet more than on your arm. You know that if you’ve kept it in good condition that you can likely sell it for a hefty price, but where to begin?
The process of re-selling designer bags used to be extremely frustrating, with consignment stores proposing below-market prices and websites like eBay offering little trust or security while also demanding a significant time investment.
Many women threw up their hands and said, “Why bother?” Well, Rebag has come to the rescue.
“The reason why we exist and the problem we want to solve is that there is a lot of amazing supply out there, but they are prisoners of people’s closets.” - Charles Gorra, founder and CEO of Rebag
“There are certainly a lot of services out there: peer-to-peer outlets or consignment avenues, but all of these are very cumbersome. So what we’re disrupting as Rebag, and what our mission is, is to make the resale process a breeze. Something that is extremely smooth and efficient; and that is why our value proposition is unique.”
The process is easy: simply upload a picture of the bag onto the website or using the Rebag app and get a quote in 1-2 business days.
You’ll then receive a prepaid shipping label, and once you’ve mailed your bag in, you can expect payment in 2-3 business days.
Looking to buy a used luxury bag? You’re in the right place.
With hundreds of brand name handbags in top condition, you’ll be in second-hand heaven. If you’re in New York, the process is even simpler with Rebag’s Soho shop, where sellers can complete a transaction in 60 minutes or less and buyers can browse the collection of over 300 handbags.
Ramping Up Rebag
Charles himself hails from France and came to the US five years ago to do a masters in Business Administration at Harvard Business School. But after just a short time in the US, he already had a business in mind.
“The reality is that pretty much for a year before I started the business, I went through over 100 closets," Gorra says. "I was going through every closet from everyone I knew and everyone my friends knew, asking them questions."
This market research told him what he needed to know to launch his brand, that there was a gap in the market waiting to be filled.
“What I was shocked about was how much value and goods were there. And people were kind of aware of the options, but that would not trigger the behavior. Pretty much everything I heard was along the lines of complexity: ‘I don’t have the time’; ‘I don’t have the bandwidth’; ‘I have to wait’; ‘I never get the price I want.’ What people wanted was something that was fair and transparent, and that’s what Rebag is.” - Charles Gorra, founder and CEO
After three years on the market, Rebag has recently rebranded, changing the name from its former “Rebagg” and brandishing a clean and vibrant design that would wow even the snootiest of luxury customers.
They currently use Shopify, but due to demand, this may also soon change to something more customized.
“I believe we’re one of the biggest Shopify stores in the world,” says Charles. “It’s been helping us; it has obviously the benefits of enabling easy scaling, but then comes a time when you reach a certain scale, and want to do more custom work, then we reach the limits of the platform.”
Becoming a Benchmark
With the luxury purse industry being what it is, there are many opportunities to make a mistake, so Rebag had to develop strict rules and technology to avoid any mishaps.
“It’s very risky what we do; it’s very complex,” says Charles. “We have to make a decision on what we buy, how much we buy, and try to be accurate.”
While exact savings are hard to predict, Charles estimates that those buying a designer bag at Rebag can expect to save somewhere 30-70% off the retail price. This, again, is the result of careful research and advanced data and analytics, and an algorithm they’ve developed themselves.
“Where we are becoming the benchmark is that a lot of consignment stores would just cherry pick a number; we have millions of data points that enable us to price a bag exactly as it should be to make sure the seller gets a fair price, and at the same time the buyer gets a good deal.”
As an online store, the Rebag team pays close and careful attention to their metrics. “We look at conversion per visit and per customer,” explains Charles.
“We look at repeat patterns across channels, we look at long-term value as well. On the sourcing side, we have basically equivalents of these metrics, except instead of being revenues they’re sourcing revenues, so it’s the cumulative amount we source from the customer. We’re also very sensitive to return behaviors.”
Because these bags are a big investment and not an impulse buy, and because customers may return again and again before they make a purchase, Rebag has thought about and planned extensively for keeping the customer engaged, remaining mindful of the entire conversion journey.
They offer engaging content to peak the user’s interest, and use various retargeting strategies to keep customers engaged, including email capture and dynamic email marketing.
“We are conscious of the fact that it’s a multi-visit process before you actually convert,” Charles admits.
From Online to On the Shelf
Now that the online store is doing so well, Rebag is focusing on scaling, and this includes focusing more on the offline market and building up the store, offering customers an entirely different experience than what they can expect online.
“We can do so many things in the store,” says Charles. “We can sell incredible products, we can offer a 60-minute re-bagging experience, we can organize events and talks. Most importantly, we can connect with customers in a very unique way. And we’ve been amazed at the result.”
The passion Charles brings to his business is palpable, and the care with which the entire brand has been considered leaves every customer feeling catered to.
“We always say we are trying to deliver a first-hand experience for a second-hand product,” Charles insists.
“In our Soho store, it always takes people a few minutes to realize that this is a second-hand bag, because we have such a high bar for the quality of the product and pricing. We do our own conditioning to restore the bags, so people are shocked that they are preowned. Everything we do in terms of delivery, customer service, authenticity is based on the best standards from luxury brands. It’s not about being better than other second-hand stores, it’s that this customer deserves a luxury experience.”
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