Reflaunt: Connecting the dots to facilitate circularity within the luxury fashion industry
Her-Age team has interviewed expert in circular fashion and second-hand luxury Stephanie Crespin, the Founder & CEO at Reflaunt which is a technology company that connects first hand retailers with the second hand market. The Reflaunt's disruptive circular model allows customers of retailers to resell, donate or recycle their past purchases in a click through various resell interphases.
Nowadays, Reflaunt aims to build a world of positive consumption habits in the fashion industry and is working on defining the future of luxury retail.
So how was Reflaunt born and developed, and how did it facilitate circularity within the fashion industry?
- Can you tell us about yourself? What motivated you to start with Reflaunt?
-Before Reflaunt, I built and scaled a secondhand luxury marketplace called Style Tribute that still exists today. While building it, I realized that there were many inefficiencies in this market, and a part of it was the fact that secondhand marketplaces and retailers were not connected. I realized that there was a gap in the market and an opportunity to link firsthand and secondhand. An opportunity for secondhand marketplaces to work more closely with brands and retailers on sourcing products, authentication, product digitalization and, through each of these actions, unlocking value for customers. Because if you are able to build a more efficient secondhand process, it increases the efficiency of the industry as a whole, which will in turn benefit both the consumer and the environment. This was the reasoning that sparked the idea of Reflaunt.
- How does Reflaunt facilitate circularity within the fashion industry?
- We work directly with brands and retailers on one hand and marketplaces on the other. We build hardware and infrastructure linking both entities, thus allowing customers from brands and retailers to resell their past purchases directly from our marketplace partners. This greatly facilitates the customer journey and unlocks a larger potential for brands to resell to their customers by accelerating brands’ education phase in regard to their own customer base[XC1] .
- What are the most significant benefits Reflaunt can unlock for the second-hand marketplace?
- The most significant asset for a secondhand marketplace is definitely a good supply of curated, quality products that are well priced. That is what we provide to our marketplace partners. The second most important is the quality enhancement of the product details. By working with brands and retailers, we are able to tap into a supply of trustworthy customers, therefore we can control--to a certain point--the level of authenticity and quality of the products being submitted through our technology.
- Does Reflaunt’s team of expert resale curators and operators provide various services for each product listed? What are these services, and what makes them appealing and different from those of other businesses working in the same field?
- It depends on the marketing positioning, audiences, etc. Most likely, you’re not going to have the same assortment, strategy of pricing, and specialization in regards to different categories. If we were to dump all of our products into each marketplace, it wouldn’t be interesting. What makes it interesting is the ability to curate and narrow down the assortments which are appropriate for each of the channels.
- Reflaunt integrates with APIs and other tech solutions and works with each marketplace’s logistics flow. How does this process work and how do you predict what suits each market?
- In terms of predictions, it is initiated by the marketplaces themselves. Our first collaboration is done with these marketplaces, as they hold a deep knowledge of their territories, their audiences and their markets. The very first sales and product pushes are done in collaboration with the marketplaces, to define the appropriate assortment. Over time, we generate the data through customer action and are better able to understand what works and what doesn’t.
- Nowadays, it's hard to gain the clients’ trust to buy secondhand luxury items online due to the high number of luxury fakes. How does Reflaunt help to prevent counterfeiting in the digital luxury industry?
- We have different ways of doing that. The more traditional authentication processes are centered around the product itself, yet a lot of our technologies and processes revolve around the customers themselves. As a result of working with our retailers and brands, we are able to process data to detect high risk customers, thus making the secondhand process more secure.
- As the CEO of Reflaunt. How do you bring to the luxury fashion industry innovative technologies and tools that enable leading brands to embrace the circular economy trend?
- As the CEO, I am trying to bring Reflaunt to the next level of science and scale in order to address as many brands and retailers as possible. At the end of the day, the impact we have in the industry depends on the number of brands we can help shift towards a circular model, and this is not limited to only luxury but also brands, such as IKEA and Adidas, that may have a huge volume impact and would create a large difference if they were to become circular.
- What do you see as the key challenges and opportunities facing the luxury sector over the next few years, especially with the growth of the Movement to achieve a circular economy?
- I think one of the biggest challenges is the digitalization of products; the fact that digital transformation is still at the tip of the iceberg and the technology is still clunky. In addition, we still have a huge debt when it comes to the digitalization of past purchases, resulting in those products not having their own digital ID/passport. All of these products need to be processed to be resold, and thus, the number one opportunity would be for every manufactured product to have a digital ID, simplifying the selling process. These digital identities are created for and linked to the physical assets, enabling us to facilitate services such as tracking products for recycling or tracking product lifecycles once people want to resell them.
- What is the future of Reflaunt? Where is it heading now?
- We hope to create an industry where reselling will be a part of any customer’s journey. Just as every website now has wishlists, we hope there will also be a resell button through which you can resell all your purchased products. Thus, it would be unthinkable to go and shop for products without having the possibility to resell them in the future.
- If you could give one piece of advice to a luxury entrepreneur starting in 2022, what would it be?
- What I would like to say to the entrepreneurs who wish to be a part of the solution, rather than the problem, is that the best approach to be successful, agile and fast-growing is a collaborative one. You don’t make an impact on your own, you do it by working with others; collaborating and focusing on solving issues as fast as possible rather than yearning for fame and hogging the audience. I would encourage entrepreneurs to view obstacles as a way to collaborate, as well as understand that you can accelerate your own mission by working with others.