Luxury handbags are the ultimate status symbol. As Alexandra Shulman, recently wrote in the Business of Fashion, “along with showing off personal taste, a handbag suggests economic prosperity and acts as a soupcon of the childhood security blanket.” On November 7, Rebag, the company founded by Charles Gorra — a Harvard Business School alum who worked in business development at Rent the Runway — will be relaunched as Rebag, an online and brick-and-mortar luxury handbag retailer that encourages customers to “buy, sell, repeat.”
Rebag carries everything from the latest Gucci to brands like Fendi, Chanel, and Saint Laurent. Its brick-and-mortar location in Soho, which opens on November 7, even boasts a rainbow wall of the highly coveted — and extremely expensive — Hermès Birkin bag.
It only takes a few minutes to resell a luxury handbag. Simply submit photos on the mobile app, and sellers will receive a free quote in one business day. If they accept, the handbag can be picked up for free in New York, or sent in using the prepaid shipping label from anywhere in the U.S. Payment is issued instantly once the handbag is received and customers will get funds in one to two business days. At the brand’s concept store, customers can bring in their handbags to be resold on the spot at the Rebag bar, where they will be reviewed, authenticated and purchased from the seller in less than 60 minutes.
I interviewed Gorra, Rebag’s CEO and founder about the business and why upcycling your pre-owned luxury handbags is good for the environment.
How did you come up with the idea for Rebag?
I have always been passionate about collaborative consumption and a champion of sustainability.Much of that philosophy was further inspired by my time working at Rent The Runway, where I saw a major shift in the consumption of fashion and luxury goods. I personally started to visit over a hundred closets and speak to luxury consumers to understand firsthand how I could help create a model that was transparent, fair, and sustainable for the industry. I was shocked by the amount items I saw that were unused and taking up valuable space in these closets. I was even more amazed by the fact that there wasn’t much motivation to sell or liquidate these goods. I started Rebag to create a sustainable life cycle for these goods, empower consumers, and reinvent the perception of pre-owned luxury.
What makes Rebag a better option than putting your bag on eBay or The Real Real or Vestaire?
Rebag was conceived with a seller-first mindset and is all about immediacy. You can sell your bag now at fair market prices and the process is a breeze- no consignment, no hassle, no tricks. Other resale options are often very time consuming for the seller and lack transparency. Peer-to-peer marketplaces require a heavy investment in terms of listing, answering questions and managing the sale, which luxury owners rarely have an appetite for. Consignment avenues are quite frustrating due to the uncertainty of the transaction, the volatility of prices, and the extensive duration of the process. We live in a world where customers want things now. And that is what Rebag does- we created a simple way to sell your luxury bags instantly with your phone.
How will you maintain the bags that come in so they’re in tip top shape?
At Rebag we are handbag experts. Our team combines decades of experience in the resale market and have a deep passion for luxury bags. We have developed a unique process where each bag goes through a thorough inspection and conditioning procedure.
How is luxury changing in the secondary market?
I would say the opposite — it’s the secondary market that is changing luxury. In particular brands and department stores are starting to realize the benefits of a liquid secondary market for luxury goods. Most sellers reinvest their proceeds in purchases of new goods from the brands they love. The more conviction they have that a liquid and certain outcome like Rebag provides, the more new goods they buy. Many buyers of pre-owned luxury are also first time buyers who get to experience a new brand for the first time. From that perspective we are a customer acquisition channel for luxury brands and a veritable gateway for younger consumers to enter their brand experience.
Who is your target market?
Rebag caters to several personas. Most of our sellers are fashion lovers who own beautiful pieces that they have passionately collected over the years. However they are too busy to proactively engage in resale behavior or post their bags for sale online. If you value your time and convenience then you are a Rebag customer. On the buyer side, our customers are excited by fashion but also value driven. They are looking to access a new brand universe for a fraction of the price.
What do you hope to accomplish with Rebag?
Our mission is to be the de-facto luxury handbag authority. By making the resale process seamless, we aim to encourage secondary behavior in a fair, honest, and transparent way. Rebag powers a sustainable cycle of endless luxury so that every bag you own is a bag you love. We are creating a new paradigm- a luxury ecosystem that is a win-win for the entire industry: brands, department stores and of course, our customers!