February 6, 2013


Secondhand designer clothing at discount prices is in fashion (Dawn C. Chmielewski, 2/05/13, Los Angeles Times)

"I dreamt of a site that catered to secondhand luxury, a site where one could find women all over the country that were just like them aesthetically in order to have the experience of shopping one another's wardrobe," Shanfeld, 29, said.

The online store re-creates the airy shopping experience of an upscale boutique, with fashions from such designers as Alexander Wang, Hermes, Manolo Blahnik, Tom Ford and Zac Posen. Shanfeld and co-founders Jenna Stahl and Thanh Khuu added an element of social networking to help women browse the virtual closets.

First-time users furnish a profile picture and their measurements to ensure that women of similar size can fit in the items purchased from the seller's digital closets. Then, they select their favorites from among 20 designers. The sizing and fashion preferences help the site recommend "style soul mates," women whose tastes and dimensions most closely match the shopper's own.

When an item is purchased, the seller receives an e-mail alert and has three days to ship the item to Shop-Hers. Upon receipt, the site inspects the item for authenticity and verifies that its condition is as depicted on the site. If it meets expectations, Shop-Hers ships the item to the buyer and sends a follow-up notification to the seller, indicating that the sale is complete and payment is on the way. Shop-Hers keeps an 18% transaction fee.

"I love the site," said Diane Nagler, a publicist who owns her own firm in Denver and was among the site's earliest users. "My first purchase was this amazing, emerald green patent leather Max Mara clutch. I got it for $70 but it retailed for $600 to $800."

Secondhand shops once carried the taint of the declasse, said Adele Meyer, executive director of the National Assn. of Resale Professionals. But now the resale industry accounts for annual revenue of about $13 billion, according to First Research. Online, EBay alone enabled $7.9 billion worth of sales last year of new and used clothing and accessories.

Posted by at February 6, 2013 8:44 PM

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