One in five pairs of shoes sit unworn in the average woman’s closet. So, why not sell these unused, or slightly used, pairs to someone who will wear them?
That’s the view of Scott Van Valkenburgh, co-founder of Luxury Shoe Club, a Raleigh, NC-based startup that caters to women who want to buy and sell high-end designer footwear.
“This is a way for people who love shoes to trade them,” he says. “They can rotate their shoe closets.”
Van Valkenburgh says the startup has developed an fashion consignment website that borrows from airline rewards programs and bulk retailers. Members pay an annual fee to join, like a Costco or Sam’s Club, and they earn points—similar to airline miles for frequent flyers—by selling shoes that can be redeemed to purchase pairs offered by other sellers. Unlike some competing e-consignment sites, which take a 40 percent cut of the sale price and give money to sellers only after items are sold, he says Luxury Shoe Club pays sellers 50 percent of the shoes’ value upfront.
Luxury Shoe Club is the latest e-commerce entrant into the luxury resale market. The RealReal was founded in 2011 and features a variety of high-end clothing and accessories, while online thrift store ThredUp last year launched Luxe, which caters to the luxury market. Others in the business include TrueFacet, for jewelry resale, and Rebag for designer handbags.
Van Valkenburgh says he came up with the idea when colleagues at a previous company he worked for held their own designer shoe swap. “As a guy, I don’t know anything about this, but I appreciated that passion,” he says.
His colleagues weren’t the only ones holding exchanges and sales. According to Bain & Company, sales of luxury goods hit a record of $305 billion in 2017. Van Valkenburgh says he saw an opportunity in the … Next Page »