Luxury fashion reseller Vestiaire Collective has changed the game for high-end pre-owned goodies. Co-founder FANNY MOIZANT tells LARA MORRISON her tips for success
Vestiaire Collective co-founder Fanny Moizant shares her tips for success with Lara Morrison
BORN AND RAISED in France, fashion mogul Fanny Moizant grew up surrounded by clothes. Following in her mother's footsteps with an entrepreneurial spirit, Moizant is now changing the fashion game with Vestiaire Collective, the leading global marketplace for premium and luxury pre- owned items. With an appetite for luxury and high- end fashion, Hong Kong is the company's newest market playground and home to its fi rst office in Asia. From motherhood to personal style to the company's operation and strategy, Moizant shares all the ins and outs of her global empire.
What are your earliest memories of working with your mother in her fashion boutiques and in what way has that influenced your work ethic today?
I've always loved fashion, and growing up, I used to help my mother in her clothing boutique during weekends and school holidays. I learned so much from watching her work, and got involved with everything from unboxing deliveries to interacting with customers and being a saleswoman. My mother taught me that when it's your business, it takes hard work and determination. You have to inspire your team to succeed; it's only you that can make it happen.
Was it difficult, starting your own company and being a mother at the same time?
It's about balance and using your time effectively, but also being dedicated and determined. I also have great co-founders and an incredibly supportive family, which makes so much difference.
What was the most challenging part about leading the company’s European expansion?
Understanding the different customers in the different markets, I relocated from Paris to London to really get under the skin of our customers in the UK; it helped me so much to live the way a Londoner lives. It completely changes your perspective.
What made you choose Hong Kong for the next phase of growth?
We saw organic growth in Hong Kong in 2016, so it was the next natural step. I like challenges and I like to keep moving and growing. It was time for a new challenge!
Has Hong Kong’s response to Vestiaire Collective been positive so far?
Since the launch of Vestiaire Collective in Hong Kong in May 2017, we have seen an amazing appetite in the city for high- end luxury fashion – especially for handbags. Before arriving in Hong Kong, I was told that in Asia, people gravitate towards new items.
After being here for more than a year, though, I fi nd that people are opening up to the second-hand market. There is an increasing desire to shop for genuine, top- quality products and Vestiaire Collective's team of authentication experts are able to fi ll that void. We have also opened our VIP service, which is facing huge demand to the extent that the team has had to put clients on the wait list, as we have been inundated with requests!
What’s your overall strategy for Hong Kong’s market?
Our mission has always been to spread awareness about the second-hand market and to promote the sustainability of fashion. Our expertise in authentication and quality control reassures buyers that everything they purchase on the site is genuine and in top condition. At the same time, we make it easy for sellers to detox their wardrobes through the VIP service or the “Do it Yourself” channel, which is about to launch in Hong Kong in mid-July.
Where do you see yourself and the company in fi ve years?
Vestiaire Collective aims to build a global fashion community and I still see us being very involved in this movement in the years to come. Personally, I still see myself somewhere in Asia, hopefully in Hong Kong, as I feel this is very much the hub of the region. The unique energy and vibrancy of the city is undeniable, and we're in a great position to build the most inspirational global market place dedicated to pre-loved fashion.
Now you’re becoming more global, will you be travelling much more?
We have been consistently expanding our global footprint, and right now with our Asia-Pacific hub based in Hong Kong but also operating in Singapore and Australia, there is already a significant amount of travel – not to mention constant communication with our headquarters in Paris. In the near future, we are looking to launch in other markets in the region, including Japan and Korea, so I anticipate increasing travel opportunities.
Can you identify any global and local trends in what people buy and search for?
Our best-selling category globally is handbags – the brands and models differ slightly per market, but the Chanel Timeless tends to be the best-selling across the board. In Hong Kong, we have a lot of Hermès buyers; in the UK, Gucci is popular. Recently, the Hermès Constance bag has been selling really well in Hong Kong as has the Hermès Garden Party bag. It's really interesting to see the difference in what our members are buying in each country.
Do you use the site yourself? If so, what is your favourite or most recent purchase?
Yes, of course! I use the app on my phone and I have countless alerts set up so I know when new items come online. My best purchase has to be my Hermès cuff – I searched everywhere for it, I called pretty much every store in London and Paris, and no one had it. Then one day, I had a Vestiaire alert and it was online. I very, very quickly added it to my bag! It was my best buy; I wear it all the time.
Counterfeit products are quite an issue across Asia. Do you see this as threatening in terms of business? How do you ensure that the items are authentic?
We have an amazing team of authenticity and quality- control experts in Hong Kong, Paris and New York. They have worked for the luxury design houses or auction houses, so they have amazing experience. We also work really closely with the brands to ensure we don't accept anything that we're unsure about. In 2012, we signed the Fight Against Online Counterfeiting Charter alongside brands such as Chanel, LVMH and Christian Louboutin to help ensure a zero-tolerance approach to counterfeit products. This charter enables us to work together to fight this issue hand in hand.
What factors do you take into consideration when pricing items to be sold online?
Prices are based on the condition of an item and its popularity or rarity, but our experts also look at similar items that have sold on the site and the price they recently sold for; they use this as a guide. The fi rst element we look at is the condition and the demand for a particular item. Then we refer to our second-hand price reference algorithm, which is unique to Vestiaire Collective's IT systems and has been in existence ever since we fi rst launched the company. This helps us orientate the sellers to determine the right price to sell fast so they can recuperate the maximum value of that specific item.
Where would you like to open an office next and why?
There are numerous opportunities in the region and we will have to take it step by step, but it does make sense for us to launch in markets where we are already experiencing organic growth.
Describe your personal style.
Classic chic, but with a twist – a classic white shirt, but with exaggerated cuff s, or a tailored trouser with a side stripe. I invest in quality pieces, as I know if I love it, I'll wear it forever. I'm super-strict and have a one-in, one- out wardrobe policy.
Who is your legend?
My mother has always been a huge source of inspiration to me and a true legend in my eyes.