Archive aims to give clothing brands control of their second-hand sales – TechCrunch
It turns out that the fashion industry is a rather wasteful industry, contributing in an estimated way 13 million tonnes of textiles in landfill per year.
One of the ways some startups have helped is by making it easier to resell clothes by putting them online. However, Emily Gittins and Ryan Rowe, co-founders of Archive, saw certain clothing brands excluded from the action. They launched their company in February 2021 to not only reduce the amount of clothing that ends up in landfills, but also to fuel the next generation of resale that puts the brands themselves in the driver’s seat.
Backed by $8 million in new funding, the company’s resale technology creates personalized marketplaces for brands to incorporate a second-hand component into their businesses. Through a favorite brand’s marketplaces, consumers can buy and sell used merchandise alongside the existing retail experience.
“There seems to be a huge opportunity for brands to improve how they plan to buy to reduce waste in the supply chain,” CEO Gittins told TechCrunch. “In my mind, there’s an even bigger opportunity to unlock all the inventory that’s in people’s closets in their homes.”
One of the driving forces for Gittins and Rowe launching Archive was seeing the shift from reselling the early days of consignment stores to going online with companies like Poshmark, ThredUp and The RealReal. Gittins explained that as all of these generations of reselling moved online, buyers and sellers might have common interests; now, the third generation will be for the brands to take possession of it and drive it themselves.
They designed Archive as a sort of peer-to-peer, white-label product that brands could launch that looked and felt the same as their existing retail channels, said Rowe, CTO. Items are sold directly from a seller to a buyer, so there’s not much to manage in terms of inventory or logistics.
“It also builds community and gives an outlet for those brand fanatics,” he added. “We realized that retail strategies are much more important than that, so we started building capabilities to help our brands do things like list their extra inventory that may have been returned or damaged.”
Over the past year, brands have accelerated conversations around resale, but haven’t taken steps to do so. However, in the build-up to 2022, Gittins says brands have started offering them resale as one of their top priorities for the year. It was then that she and Rowe discussed taking on additional venture capital to scale their team and operations to meet the number of incoming requests.
Archive was launched with five brands: Dagne Dover (Almost Vintage), Filippa K. (Preowned), MM LaFleur (Second Act), The North Face (Renewed Marketplace) and Oscar de la Renta (Encore). The company now has a pipeline of 100 brands looking to work with them, Gittins said.
The round brings Archive’s total funding to nearly $10 million. It was co-led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Bain Capital Ventures, with participation from Firstmark and a group of angel investors including Oscar de la Renta CEO Alex Bolen, Zola co-founder Shan Lyn -Ma, former Credo Beauty CEO Dawn Dobras, designer Steven Alan and former Saks Fifth Avenue President Marigay McKee.
The bulk of the funding is for scaling the business, but also for technology and product development, as Archive aims to create personalized and unique experiences for each brand and their customers.
The company didn’t disclose any growth metrics, but Gittins said that after launching with the first brands in 2021, the company has seen “incredible traction and dent in supporting the resale market. “.
Alex Taussig, partner at Lightspeed, said used retail is estimated at $100 billion and will be driven by brands embracing resale through companies like Archive. He has watched the market evolve over the past decade and believes Archive is the first company to create reselling tools tailored to the brand experience.
“We were very impressed with the quality of the brands and their scale,” Taussig said. “It wasn’t just one type of brand, but all of the brands that they shipped in such a short time. If you’re the kind of person who really loves Oscar de la Renta, and you just want to be a seller or an Oscar de la Renta buyer, you get really deep into that community, but that’s the site.