WWD Digital Daily
Goat Group’s Sen Sugano Talks Grailed Acquisition and Apparel Boom
● The Los Angeles-based sneaker platform has seen a large increase in apparel sales since acquiring resale marketplace Grailed in December.
While the resale marketplace has experienced challenges in recent months, Goat Group is seeing a boom in its business, thanks in part to its recent acquisition of Grailed.
The Los Angeles-based sneaker platform has experienced a more than 100 percent year-over-year increase in its apparel business, according to the company's chief brand officer Sen Sugano, who also stated the platform is seeing a more than 200 percent increase in searches for apparel. This growth can be attributed to Goat Group's acquisition of resale marketplace Grailed, which it purchased in a cash and stock deal in December for an undisclosed amount.
“The Grailed acquisition was really a continuation of our long-term strategy,” he explained. “Our collective mission with Grailed is to bring the greatest products together from the past, present and future, and the Grailed product catalogue, especially it being a peer-to-peer marketplace, is really a match. The vintage and archival products that Grailed has been able to source through its community of sellers, they are rare pieces that you can't find anywhere else. So it really helps to complete the picture to advance our shared message.”
In apparel, Sugano said Goat Group is seeing strong interest in brands such as Fear of God (which is the top-selling apparel brand on the platform), Supreme, Bape, Comme des Garçons and Marni, among others. Social trends such as Barbiecore, Y2K and workwear have also generated strong interest among Goat Group customers.
According to Goat Group's 2022 sales report, vintage styles were among the most popular among apparel customers, with the platform seeing an increase in interest of 96 percent for varsity jackets and 312 percent for vintage T-shirts.
While sneakers are the obvious top seller for Goat Group, Sugano stated the platform is seeing increasing interest in other types of footwear, especially foam material clogs. Crocs, for example, has seen an increase in interest of 188 percent, according to the platform's 2022 sales report.
Although Goat Group has increasing interest in a range of apparel, accessories and footwear brands, the platform limits the amount of brands it carries in order to “perfect its authentication process,” according to Sugano.
“For the customer, they shouldn't even have to worry that what they are getting is real or not,” he said. “They should just be comfortable knowing that what they're going to get is real and as described, just as you would from a retailer. So that's what we really set out to do on our platform versus another platform where you can be sifting through hundreds and hundreds of the same listing. We make it a very retail-like experience where you trust us, you look for that specific product you want and you don't have to read all the reviews of the sellers.”
Sugano stated that while the Grailed acquisition brought the Goat Group's reach to more than 50 million global members, the platform didn't see much of a shift in its customer base. He explained that the Goat Group customer is a “young, next generation consumer.”
“The Goat community is very creative,” he said. “They are looking to stand out. They're a bit individualistic. They like to learn about the products they're purchasing. In terms of those styles from the past, present and future and as a whole what we aim to do for the Goat community is inspire them — inspire them to be their greatest selves.”
In addition to Goat and Grailed, Goat Group owns retail store Flight Club, which it acquired in 2018, and Alias, which is the company's resale app.
Sugano credits the Goat Group community for the platform's success in the resale market.
“Thankfully our business continues to grow and it's been really resilient even in this market,” he said. “Resale as a whole has been growing very rapidly. I think that trend has really been driven by the younger generation. They're much more familiar and comfortable with resale when compared to my generation or an older generation. That's mainly because they grew up with it. When we founded Goat, that was in 2015. Resale was not widely accepted and understood, but we always knew that this was how the next generation would shop and one that an older generation would eventually come around to.”