Luxury consignment online was a scary new niche when Corri McFadden launched eDrop-Off, an auction destination for designer resale (shopedropoff.com).
In the nine years since, McFadden has surpassed 300,000 transactions, added 40 employees, starred in VH1's "House of Consignment" and watched her consignors buy condos with their proceeds. She has customers and consignors on nearly every continent. As eDropoff bore fruit, luxury resale sites multiplied. Some of the newest entrants are RealReal.com, Vaunte.com and TheSocialCloset.com; Bib & Tuck debuted a bit earlier. Each has a different approach.
"There's room for everyone," McFadden said, now that fashionistas are conditioned to purge closets. "Excess isn't cool anymore."
"It's about personal identity now," McFadden said. "It doesn't matter that these Chanel boots are from 1993 if they fit my personal style. I think it's pretty awesome that people are taking such pride in the message they're conveying through the way they dress."
eDrop-Off accepts items ranging from high-contemporary brands, such as Joie, all the way up to Hermes, vintage and current.
"Everyone's definition of luxury is different," McFadden said. "For some, it's a Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress; for others it's a Birkin bag. Luxury is an experience."
eDrop-Off procures some items via its closet-cleaning services in Chicago and New York. Other goods are screened over the phone, after which eDrop-Off will send prepaid shipping labels to prospective consignors. All items must pass inspection upon arrival for quality control and authentication before they'll be entered into auction.
"Some things come in, and they just don't have a second life," McFadden said.
Other items sell for more than retail value.
Want to join the sport? Here are a few online players in the luxury resale game.
ShopeDropoff.com: The 9-year-old pioneer eDrop-off sells designer items, women's and men's, via seven-day auctions on eBay's platform. You can use the search bar to filter results (e.g., "size 9"). Pickup of goods via UPS is complimentary. The consignor gets 60 percent of the winning bid.
RealReal.com: Pre-owned designer and contemporary items, women's and men's, are sometimes grouped by designer (Hermes) or trend (Patent & Lace) in The Real Real's tastefully curated sales. Consignors receive 60-70 percent of all sales.
Vaunte.com: With voyeuristic value added, Vaunte sells goods culled from the closets of fashion authorities such as designer Lela Rose and merchant Claire Distenfeld, owner of New York retailer FiveStory, in addition to the luxury-brand items of women around the world. There's editorial content on the site, which was launched last year by two former Gilt Groupe execs, as well as a charitable component where members can donate proceeds to a charity of their choice.
BibandTuck.com: With hipster good humor, Bib & Tuck is a members-only closet-swap where Zara co-exists peacefully with Chloe. To "bib" is to list an item; bibbers upload photos of themselves in the garments and set the price. If someone buys ("tucks") it, the bibber sends it and stashes (not tuck) the bucks to bid (not bib) on other items on the site.