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In pre-owned clothing, India is still in its infancy
StylFlip is a revolution in the pre-owned clothing industry of India. This unique e-commerce site lists pre-owned fashion apparel and accessories. The pieces are only listed on StylFlip; the seller keeps the inventory till a buyer decides to buy. The pieces are collected from the seller once the buyer has purchased the piece online. Additionally, the sellers receive the money only once the buyer receives the product. Until such time as the buyers don't receive the product, the money is held in an escrow account. Zarik Nabi, owner of StylFlip discusses this relatively new concept in India in detail with Fibre2Fashion.com
What is the size of the pre-owned apparel market in India? What percentage of the total apparel market in India does it represent?
The opportunity in the sector is immense, primarily considering the fact that the industry is growing. More and more women are open to the idea of selling or buying pre-owned fashionables. Our internal estimates suggest the industry to be currently pegged at $400 million. This figure is slated to grow to $2 billion in 4-5 years. The focus is on organising the sector and ensuring that the end customer's needs are looked after.
How do you rate this growth in comparison to the growth of the industry overseas?
Globally, the pre-owned clothing market is estimated to be around $16 billion, growing at a steady 6 per cent CAGR. India is still in its infancy when it comes to pre-owned clothing, but we see this as one of the fastest growing segments in the near future.
What are the challenges facing this industry?
The industry is more or less unorganised. The biggest challenge is the taboo associated with wearing something that was previously owned. Having said that, we have been seeing that women are showing their reception to the sector. The survey we conducted prior to going live was another testament to the fact that younger women were very open to the idea of wearing pre-owned clothes, provided they are thoroughly checked and authenticated. We are trying to build a category where women get more comfortable selling or buying pre-owned fashion.
How many players are there in this industry as of now?
Only a few players have entered the pre-owned apparel and accessories category in the past few months. Everyone is still early on, and in a proof-of-concept stage. They are trying to tweak their business models. Nobody has made any headway yet. StylFlip is unique in that we give the seller what they have asked for in terms of price, and only collect the items once they are sold. So, users can rest assured that their items are not misused or mishandled while being listed.
Which brands rule your product range in apparel and accessories?
Currently, premium fashion brands that are not easily available such as Michael Kors, Massimo Dutti, Ann Taylor, ASOS, FCUK, New Look, River Island, Hollister, Next, Guess, etc, are popular. We also have listings from luxury brands like Versace, Louis Vuitton as well as other popular brands such as Zara, Mango and Aldo at up to 70 per cent of their retail prices.
Who is your target audience?
Our users (flippers) are women who are fashion-forward, love to shop, and flaunt their individual and personal styles. They are typically younger and open to the idea of purchasing or selling pre-owned fashion.
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