If a business model has to be successful, it has to evolve along the lines of the current market trend and technology. Right now, the fashion industry, a hotbed for innovation, is looking to capitalise on two trends – sustainability and digitalisation, owing to the economic situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Resale market industry on rise
Talking about sustainability, second-hand fashion has been playing an integral role in reducing the massive carbon footprint of the fashion industry. According to the UN, the fashion industry is the second-biggest consumer of water and is responsible for 8-10 percent of global carbon emissions – more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.
The second-hand market, especially for clothes, has been on the rise for sometime fuelled by various factors along with the desire to be part of the long-term solution to fashion waste. As per the report, the resale market industry is projected to more than double in size by 2022.
Dozens of startups have already mushroomed to tap into this billion-dollar opportunity in selling pre-owned branded and designer apparel. Headquartered in Vilnius, Lithuania, Vinted is one of the biggest companies in Europe dedicated to second-hand fashion and is Lithuania’s first unicorn. Recently, the online C2C marketplace acquired United Wardrobe, the largest second-hand fashion platform in the Netherlands.
Second-hand clothing is the new norm
With the acquisition, both the companies now have a member base of 34 million buyers and sellers across 11 countries in Europe. Together they will continue their mission of making second-hand clothing the new norm – and the fashion industry more sustainable as a result. Following the acquisition, the founders of United Wardrobe will take on leadership positions within Vinted. Besides further growth in the continent, Vinted is also looking outside Europe.
Founded in 2014, United Wardrobe is the leading marketplace for buying and selling second-hand fashion in the Netherlands. Sjuul Berden, Thijs Slijkhuis and Thijs Verheul launched United Wardrobe out of university after Berden saw his younger sisters struggle with overflowing wardrobes.
With an investment of €1M led by Peak Capital in 2017, United Wardrobe further established its market in the Netherlands and expanded into Belgium and France. Currently, they serve around 4 million users.
On the other hand, Vinted was founded in 2008 in Lithuania by Milda Mitkute and Justas Janauskas, and joined by first investor and COO Mantas Mikuckas in 2011. Right now, the company serves around 30 million users spanning 12 markets: France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Luxembourg, UK, and the USA.
Raised €221M funding
To date, Vinted has raised $260.3M (approx €221M) from five leading venture capital firms: Lightspeed Venture Partners, Accel, Insight Venture Partners, Burda Principal Investments, and Sprints Capital. The European startup is headquartered in Vilnius, with offices in Berlin and Prague. The company currently has over 500 employees, and is led by its CEO Thomas Plantenga.
Main image credits: United Wardrobe