Online vintage clothing marketplace adds IT and support services to retailers

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Shilla Kim-Parker said her best product ideas come from “listening hard and intensely” to her customers. The latest addition to Thrilling Inc., an online marketplace for vintage and second-hand clothing and accessories, is no exception.

“Since founding Thrilling and connecting with store owners across the country, I’ve found that one of the biggest issues for them is the time it takes to upload their vast, unique inventories online,” said Kim-Parker via email. “In an effort to address this hurdle, I launched Thrilling-on-Demand… which allows store owners to book professional, vetted vintage assistants at their convenience to handle the entire process of uploading store inventory. “


Thrilling recruits its vintage assistants as entrepreneurs primarily from fashion and photography schools. They provide their own mannequins, lights, and everything else needed to photograph, measure, and upload store inventory to the Thrilling platform for sale within 24 hours. Store owners can book Thrilling On-Demand as a one-time service for $3 per item or sign up for a monthly subscription.


The latter is more popular, as most of Thrilling’s “500+ partner stores are operated by a single owner where owners are responsible for the majority of the tasks necessary to run their entire business, from customer service to logistics. to accounting and more,” Kim-Parker said.


She added that the service has had “incredible success in its pilot phase” in New York and that they are “extremely excited to be launching in Los Angeles, where Thrilling was founded, and soon to expand to more ‘other towns in the country’.


Kim-Parker co-founded Thrilling in 2018 with Brad Mallow, who serves as the company’s chief technology officer. While other platforms — including Santa Monica-based Tradesy Inc., San Francisco-based RealReal Inc., and Oakland-based ThredUp Inc. — provide space to sell luxury or lightly used everyday apparel, Thrilling focuses on “genuine vintage” to “encourage and enable more sustainable shopping habits.


“With contemporary clothing or fast fashion items, consumers often think in the short term of wearing an item rather than the lifespan of an item of clothing,” Kim-Parker said. “What a lot of people don’t know or tend to think is that the fashion industry is actually responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions, which can be partly attributed to fast fashion and contemporary.


“When consumers buy genuine vintage clothing and accessories, they help reduce waste and reduce the damage the clothing industry does to our environment.”


Thrilling employs 40 people; nearly two-thirds are women and half are people of color. About half came on board in the past year.


“Recruiting diverse talent becomes easier when people can see you walk away,” she said. “Candidates are increasingly selective…and they are increasingly constrained by companies that reflect their values.”


Rather than charging a listing fee, the company earns a 10% commission on each sale. ThreadUp and RealReal commission is 20%-95% and 55%-85% of the sale price respectively. Tradesy’s share on items that sell for $50 or more is 19.8%.

Over the past year, Thrilling has seen a 1,900% increase in sales and a 400% growth in the number of stores selling on the platform as retailers and consumers shift to e-commerce during the pandemic.

“Some of the toughest times came at the start of the pandemic when we went against the advice of our investors and…made the decision to suspend all commissions on any sales so that 100% of all profits would go directly to stores in this time of existential crisis,” Kim-Parker said. “It allowed us to gain a level of trust with our stores, who felt that we were true partners. Not only has our store base more than doubled, but less than 1% of our stores have already left. »

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