How one founder changed luxury resale forever!
They say necessity is the mother of invention, but for Sarah Davis, it was the mother of re-invention. Growing up, Davis loved fashion, but as the oldest of six children, she was responsible for buying her own clothes. “I shopped consignment and thrift my entire life,” she says. “As someone who wanted nice things but had no money, I always turned to resale.”
While attending law school in Washington, D.C., in 1999, Davis discovered eBay and its global access to resale shoppers, and quickly stepped up to innovate in that new space. From the start, she viewed her eBay platform as a business. She launched FASHIONPHILE, an ultra-luxury brand that re-sells bags, jewelry, watches, shoes and accessories, and from the start, she viewed her eBay platform as a business, carefully branding it down to the tissue paper in the shipping boxes.
“When I saw people talking in online forums about what they bought from FASHIONPHILE, not what they bought from eBay, I knew what we were doing was working,” says Davis.
In 2007, Davis moved her business from eBay to fashionphile.com and opened a few brick and mortar showrooms. The brand holds the distinction of being the first online recommerce brand and, according to the brand, the largest inventory of any online platform for selling and purchasing luxury handbags and accessories in the country.
If you’ve walked into Lenox Square’s Neiman Marcus lately, you might have spotted a FASHIONPHILE Selling Studio where customers can sell items. (All the shopping still happens online.) In 2019, The Neiman Marcus Group became Davis’s first investment partner and the first major luxury retailer to expand into the pre-owned market. Along with the Atlanta location that opened in January, 10 studios are now in Neiman Marcus stores across the country.
“We knew that we had a huge customer base in Atlanta, so when we sat down with Neiman to discuss where to open stores, we were excited to get into Atlanta as soon as we could,” says Davis, who is based in Los Angeles.
One differentiator between FASHIONPHILE and many other luxury resalers is its buy-out option. “We learned early on that our sellers want to get the burden of this item off their mental shoulders as soon as possible [rather than] wait through the consignment,” Davis says of the unpredictable and potentially lengthy process. Another difference is its dedication to authenticity, including a curriculum for authenticating bags and trained experts to identify fakes.
Have a luxury item to sell? After FASHIONPHILE authenticates your piece and provides you with a purchase quote, Neiman Marcus offers a 10% bonus if you put the money on a Neiman Marcus gift card. (FASHIONPHILE also offers a 10% bonus if you apply your offer to one of its gift cards.) “Our Neiman Marcus partnership is a beautiful example of fashion circularity in motion,” says Davis. “You can walk into FASHIONPHILE with a bag you bought and loved, sell it for a great price and [receive] an additional 10% bonus on a gift card to turn around and go buy the new bag you want.”
FASHIONPHILE SELLING STUDIO – ATLANTA
STORY: Emily L. Foley
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