Growing up in Paris, I would shop pre-loved designer goods all the time. It’s now almost second nature in Europe to buy high-end fashion this way. When I moved to Australia, I found it was not so here. Although I adore the Australian lifestyle, one of the key things I continued to miss from my home was the experience and community of people shopping second hand designer clothes through online platforms, and the breadth of the offering that enabled this community.
I knew of other women in Australia who had the passion for this kind of fashion too, but I found many of the options to be lacking in the subtle elements that made shopping pre-loved such a wonderful experience back home. Although there are a range of stores and online services that feature designer goods, I missed the premium style of the curated stock, the authenticity, the value, the fashion content and commentary, and the premium service that some of my favourite websites back home provided. Is there anything better than ordering something beautiful and getting it sent in just as beautiful packaging? Unwrapping your new dress is almost just as fun as wearing it. I missed those moments, I wanted to experience them again and I wanted other people to experience them too.
Behind Revoir, there is a strong set of convictions and personal values: that high-end fashion has been designed to last – and that re-using is the key to a sustainable future. That second hand does not have to be second best; and that the style and experience of shopping premium second hand should be just as good as shopping premium new. So my ambition has been to put together a truly premium offer and shopping experience to both buyers and sellers, to encourage more and more people to do the right thing for our planet.
So, after thinking and reminiscing for years, I decided to make it happen myself – I wanted to turn some of my favourite shopping memories and personal values into a business reality. I have sought inspiration from my favourite French websites, but also in other overseas websites – and I have tailored Revoir to what I thought Australian women would like. This included taking the best ideas seen overseas, and translating them to how it should work as online commerce evolves and becomes more sophisticated. I wanted to deliver a real focus and clarity of value proposition – not be all things to all people.
It was then that Revoir was born – an online platform that sells and buys second hand designer items. For Australian women, with a premium on experience and a central passion for the designer fashion industry, Revoir is one of a kind. The process has been exciting, tough but always inspiring, and the most fulfilling part is the community growing from it.
Communities are born out of a shared love or passion, and Revoir’s is no different. However building a community takes time, it takes focus and it also requires a keen understanding of what’s needed to make it successful. Although Revoir is only a few months old, we’ve already learned so much about what works and what doesn’t. Here are a few things we learned:
The importance of trust
The most important thing we needed to do was create a sense of trust amongst the Revoir community. To do that, we needed to present a premium experience from the moment anybody visited the website or had an interaction with us, and then we need to maintain that. We also wanted to further the love and passion for designer clothing that we know our community has, and that comes from the understanding that it’s not about a label but about an appreciation for quality and timelessness. We are very proud of our quality control – it is vital for us to make sure we only sell fashionable items on our website, to thoroughly check the condition products are in and, of course, guarantee their authenticity.
Communicating our values strongly helps us build trust in our audience.
Understanding where our offering value comes from
Although we place incredible importance in our buyers, it’s the sellers that define the quality of our offering. This is where I see Revoir as offering a few points of difference in the market. At the core of our business is the premium service where we sell products on a consignment basis. We wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to sell their items, because we know that our sellers don’t have time to fill in long online forms, take many pictures, find the right price or deal with potential buyers. Our clients are time poor, so we do literally everything for them – other than putting the clothes in the box to be sent to us! By presenting Revoir not just as the easy option, but the best option, we’re becoming a trusted solution. By focusing on providing the best experience possible for sellers, we’re building trust – we’ve had some sellers send more things through, suggest us to friends and give us great feedback. Each item isn’t just a sale to us, but a way to grow our community. Another key point of difference is our “priority sale” offer, that enables our sellers to get cash right away, without having to wait for their items to be sold.
Remembering it’s not about the numbers
We need to make sure that through all we do, at the heart of it, Revoir is a platform of like-minded people who have invested in similar items, and want to invest in further ones too. From our website, to our social media platforms to weekly e-news, everything comes back to understanding and celebrating high-end fashion. It can be easy to become too focused on sales, conversions or increased spend, and yes, we need that to be successful. However it’s so important that Revoir is, and always comes back to that dream I had years ago, to find a community of people who loved to find hidden gems.
Values only matter if they cost you something
A common thread in the lessons above is that it is easy to propose a set of values – but the rubber really hits the road when you stick to them. Our values mean we cannot be all things to all people – we turn away products that do not meet our “curated style”, we do not offer sellers a “photo only marketplace” service, as this does not deliver buyers a premium experience, we invest in content creation and a point of view to engage with the fashion industry and be more than just shopkeepers. These all have a cost to the business – but that is a short term cost. I think we have to focus on the long terms and stick to our values if we want to succeed.
Revoir is certainly still growing and still learning, however one thing has and always will remain our most important belief: being at the cutting edge of fashion and acting for a sustainable future are compatible.