Snobswap, the D.C.-based online shopping resale site with a funny but memorable name, is one of many new entrants in a growing market focused on bringing the experience of shopping for second-hand clothing and other accessories online. And, as its branding implies, Snobswap is aiming for the high-end, luxury shopper who’s looking for discounts on designer labels, or hoping to relieve some of their own shopping guilt by selling off their own high-quality items via the online service.
Now the company has raised $700,000 in angel funding to help it continue to grow its business, which will include bringing more brick-and-mortar stores’ inventory online.
In fact, Snobswap’s partnerships with real-world, mom-and-pop consignment stores and secondhand clothing chains is what makes the service unique among a sea of competitors. To name a few, Snobswap is taking on sites like: Threadflip, Twice, ThredUP, The RealReal, Vaunte, Shop-Hers, Walk In My Closet, Bib + Tuck, Material Wrld, Poshmark, Tradesy, Fashionpile, Covetique, Luxury Exchange, Portero, and of course, eBay.
But while most of the above line-up relies on crowdsourced inventory, either via peer-to-peer sales where consumers sell directly to others, or through a more curated process where the site itself plays middleman, Snobswap’s biggest differentiating factor is that it also works with offline stores.
Today, its peer-to-peer business is still booming, but Snobswap sees more potential in its retail partnerships going forward. Notes co-founder and CEO Elise Whang, the boutiques’ side of the business makes up less than 10% of its sellers, but accounts for 30% of sales.
The site is working with around 100 consignment boutiques currently (in varies stages of onboarding), who come from all over the U.S., including not only D.C., but New York, Miami, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and even Canada. It has also scored a couple of deals with larger secondhand clothing chains, including Second Time Around, for example, which has half a dozen stores signed up.
“It’s such a segmented industry,” says Whang of the brick-and-mortar retailers. “We want to help them compete with the online resale trend that exploding right now. We would love to be their e-commerce platform.”
Today, the shops are paying a 10% commission fee to Snobswap, while its peer-to-peer business involves a 15% commission. But the company believes there’s potential in working with these boutiques – presumably because each could bring in its own customer base, has access to its own sourcing by nature of its offline business, already has an eye for curation, and an understanding of what sells in the luxury consignment space.
Since its “official” launch in spring 2013 (Snobswap was in beta for a year prior), the site has seen over half a million consumers shopping its site online, with average transactions in the $200 range. As on other sites, consumers gravitate toward categories like dresses, pumps and handbags, and overwhelmingly favor top brands like Coach, Hermès, Tory Burch, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel, which account for 65% of sales.
Co-founded by Whang’s sister Emily Dang, who previously led North American strategy for Gap, Snobswap is a recent grad from Fortify’s accelerator program in D.C. Now a team of seven full-time, the additional investment will allow the company to hire another engineer, designer, and fill an open business development position. A mobile app is also in the works.
For the most part, the angel investors in the round are private, including one early Net-A-Porter investor. Simplepitch is also involved.