Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Hermès bags hit Amazon via luxury vintage retailer – WWD

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The many luxury brands that have declined Amazon’s requests to sell on their platform are going to be surprised.

On Thursday, the e-commerce giant unveils its latest Amazon Luxury Store: a partnership with retailer What Goes Around Comes Around which offers second-hand and vintage bags from some of the biggest players in luxury – like Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Chanel , Prada, Gucci and Rolex — on the Amazon site.

The new store sees some 500 items available for purchase on Amazon. Over the next two months, this number will increase to an inventory of over 2,000 bags, as well as some small accessories and jewelry. Pre-owned Rolex watches are also for sale on Amazon through WGACA.

The move is smart for both parties involved. This gives What Goes Around Comes Around a very broad customer base. But it also gives Amazon the goods it has sought to transport for years, as well as a partner to authenticate second-hand luxury goods. You could think of it as a simultaneous run into companies like LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which have repeatedly turned down Amazon, as well as resale start-ups like The RealReal.

WGACA co-founder Seth Weisser, who started the company with partner Gerard Maione in 1993, said their partnership with Amazon was growing slowly until then.

“We have a long-standing partnership with [Amazon subsidiary] Shopbop was one of the first accounts we started distribution with in 2009. So through that, we’ve always been on Amazon’s radar. At the end of 2020, Amazon started putting some of our Shopbop products on the main Amazon platform, and then Amazon reached out to us earlier this year to be part of the luxury shops,” Weisser said.

In addition to its e-commerce site, WGACA operates two stores in New York and one store in Los Angeles.

Amazon Fashion President Muge Erdirik Dogan said of the partnership, “We are continuously expanding our product offering. Our customers, especially Millennials and Gen Z customers, have shared their interest in vintage and pre-loved luxury. We’re excited to bring Amazon’s joyful shopping experience, convenience, and fast delivery to second-hand luxury shopping. In a jaw-dropping moment for those who’ve dressed in vintage clothing for decades, Amazon’s site advertises WGACA as “The Finest Luxury Vintage.”

Interestingly enough, the Amazon Luxury Stores Creator Directory doesn’t just list What Goes Around Comes Around as a brand to buy from. Each individual brand offered by WGACA, including Chanel Pre-Loved, Dior Pre-Loved, Fendi Pre-Loved and many more, also has its own landing pages, adding 10 of the hottest luxury brands to the list. of labels from Amazon. The reaction of brands remains to be seen.

When Weisser and Maione opened, vintage shopping was still rare and they wanted to elevate thrift into the realm of luxury. As this idea became more mainstream, the duo turned to selling vintage and second-hand luxury handbags – recognizing that the category would soon become a commodity business in its own right.

All along, they’ve avoided selling products on third-party websites like Vestaire Collective and Tradesy (which recently merged) – an anomaly among competitors like Rebag, who often use these sites to boost their visibility and customer base.

This sweetened the deal for Amazon, which – for the time being – agreed to WGACA being the sole seller of luxury second-hand goods on their site.

“Unlike other people in our market, we don’t have products in other markets. One of the things they were looking for was our reputation because the customer understands they are protected [in terms of authenticity]”, Weisser said.

What Goes Around Comes Around is responsible for managing all of Amazon’s inventory and drop-shipping as orders come in. , Prada saffiano leather tote bags, Hermès scarves and classic bags like Birkins and Kellys. As inventory increases, the company will introduce more specialty items, as well as high-value ready-to-wear.

When asked if the WGACA was nervous about a potential backlash from the brands it sells on Amazon, Weisser replied, “We’ve always been a distributor of brands that don’t want to be distributed.”

He added: “In fact, we give access to Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Gucci to incredible customers. We’re making that kind of luxury a little more accessible and accessible to people who don’t have it in their own city. It’s still a bit of the Wild West, in terms of authenticity there are so many unknowns for the consumer, so we continue to put luxury and vintage on the pedestal it deserves.

Julian Guevara, WGACA’s vice president of retail and customer services, added that Amazon’s legal department had fully reviewed and considered the risks involved and felt the effort was completely over the top. from all sides.

When asked the same question, Dogan said, “Amazon’s Luxury Stores is in regular contact with all luxury brands on various ways to collaborate with Amazon’s technology, operations, innovations and more. .”

In recent years, Amazon’s hunger to enter the luxury space has been one of the company’s worst-kept secrets. But none of those players were forced to, and Amazon has since seemed to refocus on smaller US-based luxury brands like Christopher John Rogers, Theophilio, Sergio Hudson and Rodarte, as well as long-established brands. date as Oscar de la Renta.

In January 2020, LVMH boss Bernard Arnault scoffed at the idea of ​​selling on Amazon and even alleged that marketplace sites like this lead to the sale of counterfeits that fund terrorism.

“We’ve been asked many times to participate in these businesses, and I’ve always said no.… They use their database to connect customers to sellers and they take a percentage, which leads them – and we’ll try to fight against this on their site and on others – to sell counterfeit products and therefore in some way be linked to organized crime, because sites that sell counterfeit products are financed by organized crime or even by terrorism” , did he declare.

Arnault even launched at the time: “Is it normal that prestigious and very successful global sites earn money by being associated with organized crime? I don’t know what you think about it, but it’s a little shocking, so I think there’s a lot to be done in this area if you want to limit the sale of counterfeit products.

For now, however, Amazon seems to be leaving the door open for big brands to join its platform. When asked about Amazon’s outlook for the second-hand luxury bag market over the next five years, Dogan said, “Our strategy is simply to give customers more choice in how they buy.”

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