- Ulla Johnson, the American womenswear designer known for flowy fabrics and vibrant prints, has introduced circular fashion this week to her customers with Ulla Johnson PreLoved, created with resale tech platform Archive.
- Customers are able to list their pre-owned goods, and ask for either cash or store credit, with photography and descriptions taken care of by Archive’s backend platform.
- The luxury resale market is experiencing a growth spurt right now, with Archive helping Johnson, Oscar de la Renta and Ba&sh develop programs.
Ulla Johnson’s resale site lets customers buy and sell their pre-owned goods and helps keep used merchandise from languishing in the backs of closets or winding up in landfills.
The brand’s resale model follows industry standards, with clients earning either 70% of their item’s price in cash, or 100% in brand credit. Customers’ listings are reviewed and approved before appearing on the site to “ensure they meet brand standards,” said an Archive spokesperson in an email. The resale platform is accepting most historic and current items from Ulla Johnson, with standard exclusions such as underwear and swimwear, or anything that is currently in stores, including anything from 2023 through to Early Autumn Edits from 2022.
However, a few first-in-class features have been rolled out as well, making Ulla Johnson’s resale program a more personalized customer experience. For example, if a customer wants something specific, there’s a “Heart's Desire” section, which provides an online form so clients can request something specific and get help finding it.
“It’s a spin on the idea of ‘the one that got away,’” said Archive’s spokesperson. “Buyers can reach out to the brand in search of a piece they wish they had bought from a past season, and the Ulla team will help source the item from their archives or through the community of re-sellers.” An online form includes the option for clients to upload a photo, add text description, or both.
Another personalized brand experience is “Ulla’s Archive,” which lets customers shop from the designer’s personal collection. Previously tested with Archive’s Phillip Lim 3.1 partnership, the archive is curated from Johnson’s wardrobe, and offers rare pieces and special items from Johnson’s own closet.
A news release about the partnership said sales proceeds from the “Ulla’s Archive” section will benefit Dress For Success, a nonprofit that gives professional clothing and support to women seeking economic independence.
Archive announced a $15 million Series A fundraise in December, led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and joined by Bain Capital Ventures, Fernbrook Capital, G9 Ventures, and some minority investors. In total, Archive's has now raised over $24 million.
Vestiaire Collective is another major player in the resale space, helping Gucci and Chloé, and attracting investment dollars from Gucci parent company Kering.
Still, online resale lags brick-and-mortar resale. Research last year from data analytics firm Morning Consult noted more people buy secondhand items in stores than online (75% versus 55%). However, that same report showed sellers are more likely to be online, with 44% saying they sold items online, and just 31% saying they sold in stores.
That said, the luxury resale market online and off has a lot of room for growth. The International Market Analysis Research and Consulting Group reported that globally, the secondhand luxury goods market, of which clothing comprises 20%, was $31.1 billion in 2022. It’s expected to reach $51 billion by 2028, exhibiting a compound annual growth rate of 9.1% from 2023 to 2028.