Resale is heating up and luxury brands are looking to take part. The growing market for second hand apparel and accessories is hard to ignore for high-end labels, which obsessively guard their images. But navigating re-commerce as a brand can be tricky. Most fashion brands need the technology of a third party, but want the integration of resale with their e-commerce sites to be seamless.
The Archivist is the latest entrant to offer resale as a service technology geared to luxury brands that want to own their own re-commerce experience. The Brooklyn-based start-up offers a Resale Intelligence Service, which it dubs the Bloomberg of resale, and White Label Marketplace as a Service.
Ashley Granata, founder of Pendant Labs, a fashion-tech studio, in 2019 launched The Archivist, and the startup was a finalist for the LVMH Innovation Prize. She brought on Joseph Einhorn, founder of the social commerce platform Fancy, as her cofounder.
“I felt it wasn’t fair that brands weren’t participating in the resale revenue,” she said. “They didn’t have control of the story and weren’t monetizing the products. I felt it was time for the brands to be part of this equation.
“Some brands have a rich history to pull from,” she added. “I wanted to create a platform to enable them to sell on their channels. Designers have created all the art and designs that have stood the test of time.”
A data dashboard for brands to gauge sales of their goods in secondary markets globally, The Archivist’s Resale Intelligence monitors products, collections’ popularity, and pricing over time. It also monitors gray market and counterfeit goods so brands can take action, and allows them to source and build their permanent archives.
“We crawl all the possible data sources and scrape the data of product listings,” said Einhorn, said. “We collect data from all over the world and slice stand dice it and put it into a dashboard. It helps brands understand what’s happening outside their channels.”
The Archivist also offers White-label Resale Marketplace as a Service, a full-stack, white-label saas solution for brands to lead storytelling and merchandising of their history in the secondary market, recapture and enhance the customer experience in the secondary market, and recapture collectors to drive full-price sales and loyalty across categories.
The Archivist has attracted a number of high-profile entertainment industry investors, including Ashton Kutcher’s investment firm, Sound Ventures, actor and tech investor Edward Norton, and Gossip Girl creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, among others.
“We want to a be a real partner to luxury brands. Right now, a real partner doesn’t exist,” said Einhorn, adding that some brands use Amazon back end services, but Amazon isn’t a tailored solution. “Some brands will do a project with a marketplace. Resale marketplaces are brand-degrading. We’re focused on making the customer journey as close to the goals of their full-price online experience as possible.”
Einhorn said that until now, luxury brands have had only one tool to control the resale of their products: litigation. Chanel Inc. sued The Real Real over authentication claims. The parties in April agreed to settle their differences through mediation.
“We’re talking with all the luxury brands,” said Einhorn, without divulging any names.
The Archivist offers a variety of ways for brands to participate in resale. If a brand’s top priority is to turn on a new line of business, the quickest way is to hook up with a top vendor provided by The Archivist.
“These are vendors with perfect reputations who carry relevant merchandise,” Einhorn said. “We have this information from our ‘Bloomberg of resale’ dashboard. We provide the vendors with first rate tools and insights to manage audience, inventory, orders, returns, refunds, etc. The brand has the administrative tools to oversee everything. We power the system, vendors handle logistics, and brands collect money and data.”
For brands that want to recapture consumers to their universe, The Archivist offers a full-on managed marketplace. “For a fee, we take on the goods and manage the logistics, Einhorn said. “If a brand is willing to spend some extra money for a more tailored solution, we do ‘The RealReal’ as a service. For 20% of each sale plus an incremental fee, we manage the entire system for the brand, including customer service.”
The Archivist also powers a Heritage desk solution with software that serves as a system for the brand’s customers to register gently pre-loved items and reserve an appointment to bring the items to the closest retail store. A brand expert will use the software to determine a price and pay the client on the spot. The product is repaired or stored for a future event.
The Archivist is entering a crowded marketplace projected to be worth $77 billion in 2025. Vestiaire Collective is working with Alexander McQueen to launch its Brand Approved resale program, a curated approach to preowned products by a designer. The Real Real partnered with brands to create collections made from upcycled scraps of designer fabric from fashion that’s too distressed to be resold, and Farfetch recently became thredUP’s first resale as a service partner.
“We’re going to bring a new customer to resale who’s alluded everyone. What’s happened is that everybody is both a buyer and a seller now. Consumers want to be more than just bag holders, they want to be participants in the ecosystem.Certified preowned and the chance to buy in a safe way makes a lot of sense,” Einhorn said, adding that The Archivist ensures brand-accretive experiences for current season customers that serve as a message that their purchases can hold their value over time.