RETOLD explains relevance of pre-loved fashion


June 25, 2020 | By Rupkatha B

UAE-based brand RETOLD explains the relevance of pre-loved fashion in a post-COVID world. The pre-owned segment of fashion is at an interesting crossroads; the model could be a welcome relief for shoppers. At the same time, consumers might be reticent to buy pre-owned goods amidst the on-going COVID-19 health pandemic.

“Our customers – almost 65% being repeat buyers – understand the pre-owned business model and haven’t stopped shopping with us since the COVID-19 outbreak,” shares RETOLD founder & chief storyteller, Sian Rowlands.

“Over the years, my single-minded focus has been to raise awareness about shopping mindfully and sustainably. As such, we have built a strong community that finds a lot of value in pre-loved fashion items,” she explains. “Currently, we have become stricter about addressing the health concerns around pre-owned garments and accessories. When we receive a pre-owned piece of garment, it is isolated for at least 48 hours. These pieces go on display after six-seven days of receipt. After being displayed, if a customer tries on a garment, it is isolated for another 24-48 hours. Moreover, almost 20-25% of our pieces tend to still have the price tags on, not even tried on too many times. In addition, the orders are packed 24 hours before they are picked up for delivery.”

RETOLD explains relevance of pre-loved fashion

RETOLD

Blindsided due to store closure

Even though pre-loved fashion hasn’t lost its relevance, RETOLD’s business is down 50% since the COVID-19 outbreak leading to store closures, compared to the same period last year.

“We really struggled due to the store closure, as only 2-5% of our sales happened digitally before COVID-19, which increased significantly during the lockdown,” admits Rowlands. “Our sales in April and May 2020 were only 8% and 10%, respectively, of what we recorded during the same period in 2019. And historically, April, May and June are great months for us. We were blindsided when the store closed; we weren’t really prepared. As soon as movement restrictions eased, we started focusing on building our online presence, with the right product images, descriptions and pricing in order to make our inventory visible online. We are now thinking of ways to partially recover the losses incurred during the store closure.”

Even during the lockdown in the UAE, RETOLD’s loyal audience still shopped with the brand online, through its Instagram page, but not enough to offset losses incurred on brick-and-mortar.

Since RETOLD reopened its boutique after a period of 75 days, the experience has been “pleasantly surprising.”

“We had people knocking on our doors even before we were ready to open,” recounts Rowlands. “We have a decently big, non-mall based, boutique that can otherwise accommodate 150 customers. Now with a 30% capacity, we are able to comfortably welcome our customers back while following the health and safety guidelines.”

Revenge spending is real

Towards mid-June, RETOLD hosted a two-day in-store sale. At a time when consumers are being cautious to spend on discretionary items, is ‘sale’ a good strategy to bring them back into the ‘shopping mode’?

“It’s true that people are facing financial uncertainty, but there is a section that is willing to spend with us after being under lockdown that helped them to cut down on some daily expenses,” Rowlands responds.

As such, RETOLD is witnessing what’s called ‘revenge spending’ after a period of lockdown. “But our motto isn’t to encourage people to buy more,” Rowlands points out. “RETOLD’s ethos is to help make people better and sustainable choices. Thus, pre-owned is a great channel to not only buy sustainably that’s better for the environment but also get better value for money. For instance, our resale prices are 25% of its original cost, so actually 75% less than the original price of the apparel or accessory in a full-price store.”

Finding value in pre-loved fashion

The pre-loved or second-hand apparel market is valued at about $28 billion currently. It is forecast to touch $64 billion within five years, indicates resale platform ThredUp’s annual report, done in partnership with data and analytics firm GlobalData.

“Think about it, during the lockdown period, a lot of people – including our suppliers – happened to clear their wardrobes. That meant we received a significant amount of new stock. Rather than these garments being discarded, it is better to find them a new closet. Our business model, irrespective of COVID-19, is three-pronged – selling pre-owned pieces at a certain price point, using the sale channel to make way for new stock and finally, if there is redundant stock, we donate it to charity organisations,” Rowlands elaborates. “Since we opened the RETOLD store in January 2018, we have ‘rehomed’ over 20,000 items.”

According to her, increasing the “resale” offer will be an integral part of improving the fashion industry as a whole.

Up in the air but will survive the storm

As RETOLD is negotiating the lease for its current location, Rowlands feels a possible change of location might be possible if the landlord and the tenant are unable to reach a workable solution. That might have several implications, one of which is a shift of focus to online.

“However, I think, this market is not ready to go fully digital for a pre-owned fashion brand like RETOLD, with a ‘no return’ policy. A lot of things are up in the air! We have to understand the knock-on effect of each decision and plan to survive the current storm accordingly. What I certainly know is that we will do everything to keep RETOLD afloat.”

 

For all the latest retail news from the Middle East, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page.

Comments

comments

Previous Article Next Article

SHARE

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE /


Lulu Group partners with Amazon expanding grocery offerings to online customers in the UAE

Abu Dhabi based grocery retail chain Lulu Group has partnered with Amazon 

Continue Reading

November 24, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau
Food Tech Valley partners with Tradeling to boost UAE’s food ecosystem

UAE-government-led initiative Food Tech Valley – announced in 2021 by His Highness 

Continue Reading

November 17, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau
Lulu Hypermarket to open in The Dubai Mall in 2023

Abu Dhabi-based supermarket chain Lulu Hypermarket is all set to open in 

Continue Reading

November 10, 2022 | By Rupkatha B
Beyond Meat’s Q3 2022 results “disappointing”

Plant-based meat brand Beyond Meat’s financial results for the third quarter of 

Continue Reading

November 10, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau
Barakat unveils new biodegradable packaging

UAE’s fresh produce brand Barakat has launched bio-degradable packaging across its entire 

Continue Reading

October 27, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau
Pure Harvest CEO Sky Kurtz

UAE-based agritech start-up Pure Harvest Smart Farms has signed a Memorandum of 

Continue Reading

October 27, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau
Carrefour signed up as anchor tenant for Midtown Project

Carrefour, owned and operated by Majid Al Futtaim – Retail in the 

Continue Reading

October 27, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau
Grandiose Supermarket announces country-wide expansion plans

Grandiose Supermarket, part of Ghassan Aboud Group, has announced expansion plan in 

Continue Reading

October 26, 2022 | By Rupkatha B
100 years of Valrhona

The Valrhona journey began 100 years ago with a cocoa bean. Since 

Continue Reading

October 24, 2022 | By Justina Eitzinger
On-demand grocery delivery in 15 mins

Deliveroo UAE has announced the expansion of its rapid grocery delivery service 

Continue Reading

October 24, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau
Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) revealed that the UAE 

Continue Reading

October 17, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau

Abu Dhabi-based leading supermarket chain Lulu Group has appointed investment bankers Moelis 

Continue Reading

October 13, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau




f
Download Images RetailME Magazine