‘Every Shopper Will Be a Seller’: Tradesy Founder Tracy DiNunzio Talks Vestiaire Collective Merger

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

Image courtesy of Tradesy

When Tracy DiNunzio had the idea to build a secondhand high-end apparel company, she bootstrapped the business by renting out her bedroom on Airbnb and sleeping on her living room couch.

It worked. Over the past decade, Tradesy—the Los Angeles-based, peer-to-peer secondhand clothing platform that DiNunzio built—gained 7 million members and hauled more than $145 million in venture capital funding. DiNunzio reclaimed her bedroom. And last week, the company announced it would be acquired by Paris-based Vestiaire Collective, another peer-to-peer luxury clothing marketplace.

“There are a lot of companies in fashion resale, but we're not really competing with each other so much as trying to change consumer behavior and compete with retail,” DiNunzio told dot.LA.


Image courtesy of Tradesy

Together, Tradesy and Vestiaire Collective boast 23 million customers and a catalog of some 5 million fashion items valued at more than $1 billion. The U.S. has quickly become Vestiaire Collective’s largest market, and the company is using the Tradesy merger to lay new roots in the States—with plans for a new authentication center as well as a technology hub, both located in Los Angeles. DiNunzio will serve as CEO of the combined company’s U.S. operations. (Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.)

The acquisition feels logical given the parallels between the two companies. Both were launched in 2009 by women entrepreneurs. (Vestiaire Collective was founded by Fanny Moizant and Sophie Hersan; Moizant will serve as president of the combined company, while Vestiaire Collective chief executive Maximilian Bittner will remain CEO.). Both sought to compete in a market then dominated by eBay and brick-and-mortar consignment shops, which paid sellers a fraction of the profits they were making. And both adopted a peer-to-peer model by which users can sell and buy luxury goods through their websites.

The secondhand clothing market is expected to grow to $64 billion by 2028, according to CB Insights, driven in part by similar companies like Poshmark, The RealReal, Mercari and FarFetch. These companies are seeing rapid growth, and Tradesy and Vestiaire Collective are far from the only ones consolidating: ecommerce marketplace Etsy acquired secondhand apparel platform Depop for more than $1.6 billion last year.

But resale apps like Tradesy still have a long way to go before eclipsing retail. Buying secondhand clothing online is a less consistent experience than buying from a retailer, as even the most devoted of eBay shoppers will attest. The lack of quality control, along with unpredictable shipping and unscrupulous scammers, can make for an inconsistent experience.

On the sellers’ end, uploading photos, writing descriptions and pricing out items can quickly become a full-time job. When buyers complain about purchases—whether their claim is legitimate or not—it will usually result in a refund directly out of the seller’s wallet.

“Every shopper will be a seller in the future, but it has to be easy and it has to be seamless,” DiNunzio said. “The reason that every single person isn't selling every single thing they're no longer wearing today is because it's not easy enough yet.

As middlemen, both Vestiaire Collective and Tradesy need to be able to organize millions of unique items that are described and priced in different ways—a task as logistically challenging as it sounds. In response, the company plans to automate parts of the authentication process through its L.A. technology hub, which will complement the new authentication center in the city (Vestiaire Collective’s second authentication center in the U.S. and fifth globally).

Much like startups Rent The Runway and L.A.-based Rent-a-Romper (both of which focus on short-term apparel rentals), Tradesy and Vestiaire are part of a growing number of fashion platforms invested in the “circular economy.” The concept is rooted in offsetting the damage that “fast fashion” has had on the environment by focusing on resale, repairs and rentals.

“I think we'll see kind of a whole different concept of ownership, where everything you own is sellable whenever you're done with it,” DiNunzio said. “That seems like a better way for us to consume things, and it would naturally lead to people buying higher quality things that last so that they can resell them. And that creates less waste, less disposable products in the market and ultimately gets us closer to having commerce overall be more sustainable over the years."

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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PCH Driven: Director Jason Wise Talks Wine, Documentaries, and His New Indie Streaming Service SOMMTV

Jamie Williams
­Jamie Williams is the host of the “PCH Driven” podcast, a show about Southern California entrepreneurs, innovators and its driven leaders on their road to success. The series celebrates and reveals the wonders of the human spirit and explores the motivations behind what drives us.
Jason Wise holding wine glass
Image courtesy of Jason Wise

Jason Wise may still consider himself a little kid, but the 33-year-old filmmaker is building an IMDB page that rivals colleagues twice his age.

As the director behind SOMM, SOMM2, SOMM3, and the upcoming SOMM4, Wise has made a career producing award-winning documentary films that peer deep into the wine industry in Southern California and around the world.

On this episode of the PCH Driven podcast, he talks about life growing up in Cleveland as a horrible student, filmmaking, Los Angeles and his latest entrepreneurial endeavor: A streaming service called SOMMTV that features–what else?–documentaries about wine.

The conversation covers some serious ground, but the themes of wine and film work to anchor the discussion, and Wise dispenses bits of sage filmmaking advice.

“With a documentary you can just start filming right now,” he says. “That’s how SOMM came about. I got tossed into that world during the frustration of trying to make a different film, and I just started filming it, because no one could stop me because I was paying for it myself. That’s the thing with docs,” or “The good thing about SOMM is that you can explain it in one sentence: ‘The hardest test in the world is about wine, and you’ve never heard about it.’”

…Or at least maybe you hadn’t before he made his first film. Now with three SOMM documentaries under his belt, Wise is nearing completion of “SOMM4: Cup of Salvation,” which examines the history of wine’s relationship with religion. Wise says it’s “a wild film,” that spans multiple countries, the Vatican and even an active warzone. As he puts it, the idea is to show that “wine is about every subject,” rather than “every subject is about wine.”

For Wise, the transition to launching his own streaming service came out of his frustration with existing platforms holding too much power over the value of the content he produces.

“Do we want Netflix to tell us what our projects are worth or do we want the audience to do that?” he asks.

But unlike giants in the space, SOMMTV has adopted a gradual approach of just adding small bits of content as they develop. Without the need to license 500 or 1,000 hours of programming, Wise has been able to basically bootstrap SOMMTV and provide short form content and other more experimental offerings that typically get passed over by the Hulus and Disneys of the world.

So far, he says, the experiment is working, and now Wise is looking to raise some serious capital to keep up with the voracious appetites of his subscribers.

“Send those VCs my way,” Wise jokes.

Subscribe to PCH Driven on Apple, Stitcher, Spotify, iHeart, Google or wherever you get your podcasts.

dot.LA reporter David Shultz contributed to this report.