- Carhartt announced a resale program Wednesday in partnership with Trove, which makes online recommerce platforms, that will allow customers to trade in secondhand products in person and buy used clothing on the workwear company’s branded site.
- Customers will have the opportunity to receive digital gift cards that can be redeemed at Carhartt’s website and brick-and-mortar stores, as well as the resale site.
- Carhartt will test the trade-in program in six U.S. stores before expanding to all of its retail locations later this year. The program also plans to eventually allow customers to trade in their secondhand products online and send them via mail.
Carhartt is one of the latest high-profile brands to work with Trove to create a custom branded resale program. The recommerce company also counts Levi’s, Canada Goose, Patagonia and Lululemon as clients.
Interest in circular fashion has increased as the spotlight on fashion’s environmental impact has grown. Other workwear brands with boots on the ground in this space include Timberland, which last year launched its own takeback initiative called Timberloop.
A 2020 report from McKinsey & Company estimated that the fashion industry accounted for about 4% of global emissions in 2018. That same year, around 9.1 million tons of clothing and footwear in the U.S. ended up in landfills, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The new platform will help Carhartt reduce its environmental footprint and this type of clothing waste, according to the announcement. However, the company is still working on developing the program’s environmental goals, said Gretchen Valade, Carhartt’s director of sustainability.
“We are really focused on circularity services throughout the organization, so we’re also leaning into the durability of our product,” Valade said. “Giving a product a second life helps extend the product and keep it out of a landfill.”
These types of programs offer new revenue streams for brands that want to wrest control of their resale market from popular peer-to-peer platforms like eBay and Poshmark.
As the resale market heats up, even established players are feeling the crunch of tough economic conditions. Poshmark laid off less than 2% of employees last month after it was acquired for $1.2 billion by Naver, a South Korean internet company.
To be accepted, secondhand Carhartt products must have had an MSRP of at least $50 and be less than 10 years old.
Unaccepted items will be donated or recycled. Carhartt is asking retail stores to “work within their local donation channels,” though the company has not specified which ones should be used, Valade said.
Only about 15% of used clothes and other textiles in the U.S. get reused or recycled, according to a 2022 report from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The other 85% ends up in landfills or incinerators.
ThredUp, a popular resale platform that has partnered with more than 40 retailers, estimated in a report last year that the U.S. secondhand market will reach $82 billion by 2026, compared to just $35 billion in 2021. It also predicted resale will grow 16 times faster than the broader retail sector during that time.
Trove offers several resale services to brands, such as building branded sites, giving items a unique ID based on their condition and source, and using machine learning to dynamically price products.
The company has been popular with investors, raising around $122.5 million to date. In its latest publicly announced funding round, in 2021, Trove said it planned to use $77.5 million to expand its brand roster.
Trove CEO Gayle Tait said the company could be open to working with other workwear brands in the future.
“We’re lucky to have really the leader in the space,” Tait said. “Of course, we’re never one to turn away new partners because our mission is to keep as many products in use as we can.”
The resale program will also draw on returned garments and imperfect inventory. Depending on their condition, they will either be repaired, cleaned or immediately available for resale.