Dive Brief:

  • J. Crew is jumping into resale with “J. Crew Always,” which encompasses two approaches to selling secondhand clothing, according to details emailed to Retail Dive.

  • The 40-year-old brand is leveraging its longevity with “J. Crew Vintage,” a curated collection for men and women to be sold at select stores, including two in New York City, according to Liz Hershfield, who leads sustainability at J. Crew Group as well as sourcing at Madewell.

  • The retailer is also joining sibling brand Madewell in partnering with secondhand apparel site ThredUp to enable customers to buy and resell gently worn J. Crew women’s and kids’ items online in return for J. Crew credit.

Dive Insight:

Madewell has been working with ThredUp to collect and sell preowned items for four years, starting with an effort focused on denim that expanded a couple of years later. Last year, Madewell also began selling secondhand sweaters, bags and other items, Hershfield said.

That experience has allowed J. Crew to ramp up its own effort fairly quickly, she also said, speaking at a panel at the National Retail Federation’s conference in New York on Tuesday.

“We learned a ton, and so from a J. Crew perspective, it was pretty accelerated,” she said. “It was really just about finalizing the details of the website, what that was going to look like. We already had the infrastructure down.”

A team at J. Crew has been collecting vintage finds for a couple of years in order to build up an assortment for the stores, according to Hershfield.

ThredUp works with several retailers to bring used goods to market via its resale-as-a-service platform, and last year Chief Financial Officer Sean Sobers said it would prioritize that revenue stream. Last year, ThredUp released estimates that the U.S. secondhand market will more than double by 2026 to reach $82 billion. In 2021, Wells Fargo speculated that its service for third-party retailers would eventually outperform the resale site’s own apparel sales. 

However, researchers at WD Partners have found that secondhand sales are more profitable and easier to execute via physical stores, rather than online.


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