When Rebecca Taylor launches its online resale program, ReCollect, on Wednesday, customers shouldn’t expect to find a setup like those offered by Poshmark or The RealReal.
Rather than browse every piece offered in the ReCollect program — which kicked off in September, when Rebecca Taylor began collecting from customers the brand’s used styles — customers will see a limited selection. Customers receive a flat $15 credit per item sent to Rebecca Taylor. Rebecca Taylor will be releasing the resold products every two to three months, in curated drops centered on categories like bridal and the beach. In keeping things tightly curated and limited, Rebecca Taylor is hoping to align the experience of buying resold clothes as closely as possible with buying things new.
As resale becomes more popular — growing three-times faster than full-price retail over the past three years, according to research firm GlobalData — brands are increasingly launching in-house options as alternatives to the many multi-brand options like Poshmark. But for smaller brands like Rebecca Taylor, the money from their own products being sold on resale sites is revenue the brand could use to weather financial obstacles, like those posed by rising tariffs. Taking resale in-house is a way to reclaim some of that revenue without having to increase prices.
“We’re a scrappy little brand,” said Janice Sullivan, president of Rebecca Taylor. “Every brand that works in the contemporary market is. We don’t have a lot of margins, and whatever margins we have are now wiped away by tariffs. So we dug really deep to make this happen, and I’m really proud of the team.”
After products are sent in, Rebecca Taylor will handle all of the product processing and photography from the basement of its Madison Avenue store, a space Sullivan and her team set up outside of its warehouse system to keep the new and resold products in entirely separate pipelines. All the resold products will be photographed on mannequins, unlike its new products which are photographed on live models, since the size disparity in the used clothing made live models cost-prohibitive.
Starting on Dec. 1, customers can go the Rebecca Taylor site and click on a ReCollect link on the homepage, which takes them to the resale side of the site to shop. At launch, there will be around 100 products available. All products of the same category — like dresses or blouses — will be priced the same.
Elevating the customer experience of resale has been a goal for many resellers since the concept has risen to prominence over the last five years. Scott Cutler, CEO of the billion-dollar resale platform StockX, said that part of StockX’s goal was to make “[t]he customer experience of buying through us the same as buying new from a brand or retailer, anyone in the primary market. We want it to be just as viable as a first stop for product as the primary market.”
In-house resale programs, as a way to compete with the big multi-brand resale platforms, are slowly becoming a popular idea among fashion brands. Companies like Eileen Fisher, Patagonia and REI have all used a company called Yerdle to set up their own in-house resale programs: The used product is shipped to Yerdle’s warehouses, and the company handles the logistics of preparing the clothes to be resold through the brand’s resale sites, like Patagonia’s online Worn Wear store.
For now, the project is starting small, but Sullivan hopes that it will take off and grow. Even setting something like this up without outside help put a strain on resources, with Sullivan saying that “tariffs wiped out some parts we might have been able to do.”
Half of revenue from the program will go to carbon offsets, and half will go back into expanding the brand’s resale abilities, said Sullivan. Rebecca Taylor was acquired by Vince last month, along with fellow contemporary women’s brand Parker, for a total of just over $19 million. While Rebecca Taylor’s specific revenue was not disclosed, the two brands did a combined $84 million in sales in the last year, according to the statement announcing the terms of the acquisition.
“The bad thing is that we’re a small brand, but the good thing is we’re a small brand,” Sullivan joked. “We can make things happen under the radar and move a little quicker.”