Why We Invested In Archive: Enabling Brands To Reclaim Their Resale Market

Image courtesy of Archive

by Sarah Smith and Zeeza Cole, Bain Capital Ventures

We grew up in thrifty families that saw the value of wearing secondhand clothes that spanned generations, so we understood the “vintage cool” factor and sustainability of re-use from an early age. When we heard Emily Gittins and Ryan Rowe’s vision for Archive to power every brand’s secondhand marketplace, the nostalgia and inherent value resonated with us both. We knew we wanted to back them immediately.

Today we’re thrilled to share that BCV is co-leading Archive’s seed round with Lightspeed Ventures. BCV first invested in Archive in their pre-seed round and we are excited to continue to support their growth.

It turns out we are not alone in seeing the value of secondhand retail. According to the 2021 thredUp Resale Report, 33 million people bought secondhand for the first time in 2020, and most expect to continue to buy resale in the future. Some 42% of Gen Z and millennials shopped secondhand last year. The resale sector is growing 11x faster than traditional fashion retail. All of this adds up to an enormous secondhand global market.

Secondhand Market Size

Until recently, brands have largely been left out of the economics of resale and secondhand commerce. While marketplace aggregators like eBay, Poshmark, thredUp, and The RealReal have excelled at bringing buyers and sellers together, brands have limited control over how their items are represented, priced, or placed, leaving them without a direct connection to buyers.

In speaking with many brands, we heard an overwhelming sentiment that it was inevitable they would soon own a portion of their secondhand marketplace experience directly.

Enter Archive. The company’s seamless technology platform enables brands to reclaim their secondhand marketplace experience by enabling peer-to-peer sales of their own merchandise. Early brand partners have characterized Archive’s platform as a trusted marketplace solution that truly meets their unique needs. First launch partner M.M. LaFleur set the stage with “Second Act,” a one-stop destination for buyers and sellers of their clothing.

For sellers, listing an item through Archive is incredibly easy, as the full historical catalog of photos and product description are available by default. A seller simply adds a couple of photos and a few details about the item’s condition. And buyers can search by size and condition. Importantly, the item ships directly from the seller to buyer, saving carbon and staffing costs involved in traditional inventory consignment models.

Image courtesy of Archive

The economics are superior for both the sellers and the brands. Sellers can get the full sale price in store credit or ~80% cash, which is often double what they would earn with traditional consignment. Brands drive greater customer loyalty as sellers often come back and spend many multiples of their store credit on new merchandise.

Brands also told us the resale buyer is a net new customer — a different profile than the customer who buys the new, current season styles. Overall, brands are not concerned about cannibalization and are driven to launch resale by the expanding customer base, the intrinsic increase in new item value, and sustainability benefits.

Early Archive partners shared how much they enjoyed working with founders Emily Gittins and Ryan Rowe. They felt Emily and Ryan truly heard and understood their unique needs, and had built a high-quality platform and trusted marketplace solution.

If you are involved with a brand considering launching your resale channel, please reach out directly to the Archive team at info@archiveresale.co. Perhaps we’ll be one of your first buyers!

Special mention to seed round co-investors Firstmark, the founders of Allbirds, Harry’s, Warby Parker and Zola as well as Oscar de la Renta CEO Alex Bolen, Zola co-founder Shan Lyn-Ma, former Credo Beauty CEO Dawn Bobras, designer Steven Alan and former Saks Fifth Avenue President Marigay McKee.

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Ideas and perspectives from the Bain Capital Ventures team.

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Zeeza Cole

Zeeza Cole

Early stage investor at Bain Capital Ventures.

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