It's said that the state of one's room reflects one's state of the mind.
Hands up if you have multiple Chanel bags tucked away in their dustbags untouched for over a year? Or orange boxes from Hermès littering the shelves? Not forgetting, party dresses that've shone in the limelight, its sparkle now buried deep in the depths of your closet? Despite owning a wardrobe that could stock the entire floor of Bergdorf's, getting dressed in the morning seems to be the toughest task on the agenda. Sound familiar? That's because it takes one serial shopaholic to know another.
While a shopping detox is hardly what we're suggesting (heaven forbid!), a palette cleanser is definitely part of the doctor's orders. The first step? Know when it's time to declutter. Enter: StyleTribute, a Singapore-based luxury platform to buy and sell vintage and pre-loved bags, clothing, jewellery and accessories; a trusted middle-man designed to ease you into the process. Founded on product integrity — that is, with a rigorous authentication process and top-notch service framework in place — it's the one-stop e-portal calibrated to whittle down your closet. And, in the most convenient way possible.
If you have a couple of hand-stitched leather beauties and pre-loved garments due for a new owner, then read on as founder and CEO Stephanie Crespin shares the do's, don'ts and perks of listing on StyleTribute — a crash course tailored to die-hard shopaholics ready to kickstart their sartorial diet.
GET IN TOUCH WITH STYLETRIBUTE
"Our priority is to minimize efforts and eliminate the hassle of selling valuable pre-loved pieces. We offer two options: (a) The White Glove Service: If the seller wants to make room in her closet immediately without having to lift a finger, she can request for the 'White Glove' service, where a courier picks up the items for free and delivers it to our headquarters where we take care of the photography and the rest. Once an item is sold, up to 75% of the earnings are transferred to the seller; or (b) The DIY: Alternatively, the seller downloads the StyleTribute application and uploads the pictures and description of her/his pieces. Once sold, we send a carrier free-of-charge to the seller's home or office to pick up the items. Our team then quality checks everything — we also package the item and ship it to the buyer."
EXPECT YOUR ITEMS TO GO THROUGH FAIL-PROOF AUTHENTICATION
"Our guarantee of authenticity is so important to us that we put each item through testing twice: Once when it arrives at the warehouse, and again before it leaves once sold. We guarantee our customers the utmost security and assurance when shopping at StyleTribute, and to bullet-proof the authentication process, we use expert partners who are reputable and specialised in their fields. Every piece is scrutinised according to the brand, category, model and year of production. Brand stamps, hardware, hologram stickers and serial and date codes are just a few of the details we look at. We adopt a zero tolerance approach for counterfeit merchandise and fakes of any kind. Any item that we've determined as counterfeit will be destroyed."
KNOW THE BEST MOVING BRANDS
"Our main criteria is style, not brand. In fact, StyleTribute has a rejection rate of 30%, but we still have one of the widest assortment of pre-loved fashion goods and accessories ranging from luxury houses like Chanel and Hermès to more cult labels like The Row or Jacquemus. Apart from the former, brands popular amongst shoppers run the range of Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, Alexander Wang, Alexander Mcqueen, Fendi, Gucci, as well as Diane von Furstenberg, Kate Spade and Jimmy Choo. Our best categories are bags and dresses.
We differentiate ourselves from other premium retail stores by presenting a treasure trove of amazing pieces unavailable in today's market — with prices up to 70% less expensive of that in-store."
TRUST THAT THE GOODS ARE STORED IN TIP-TOP CONDITION
"Depending on the type of product that's stored, we have different procedures to maintain the pieces. The trickiest category is definitely bags that are prone to moulding, or loss of shape, if not treated with care.
To halt the growth of mould, it is very important to keep the items aired and in a dry place. Rotation is also key, and we have a process of reorganising our inventory and treating the more delicate pieces each month.
To maintain the shape of a bag, we fill bags with wadded paper. Small tip: Use butter paper but never newspaper as that will smear. The paper stuffing should also be thoroughly pushed to the bottom corners of the handbag to make sure they don't crimp — these are the spots which are most at risk when it comes to keeping the shape of a bag intact. They're also stored in their original dustbags along with sachets of silica gel to avoid damping which can lead to moulding. If bags are provided without their dustbags, we make sure to cover them with our own StyleTribute fabric drawstring bags."
WORRY ABOUT BEARING THE COSTS SHOULD A BUYER REQUEST FOR A REFUND
"In the event that a buyer returns a product to StyleTribute, we bear the refund costs. Buyers benefit from a seven day return policy for any reason, and we'll take care of the pick-up all while absorbing the costs. You may choose to retrieve your items at anytime, but we will charge a $15 administration fee should the period be shorter than six months. We will deliver the item back to your preferred address. "
MISS OUT ON THE BENEFIT OF A STORE CREDIT
"Once you have sold an item with us, you will have the choice between receiving a bank transfer of your earnings, or a higher value of store credit. If you choose the latter, you will receive 20% more value, offsetting almost entirely the commission on your sales!"
Want to find out more about buying and selling vintage and pre-loved items? Crespin shares her personal experience.
What is the biggest misconception about buying vintage or pre-loved goods?
The biggest misconception around vintage or pre-loved is probably driven by thrift stores which have stashed heaps of well-used retro pieces that come with a mouldy and dusty smell. Vintage should not be mixed up with your granny's attic — there is an unbelievable amount of amazing pieces that have been preserved in mint condition and which are as good as new.
The other misconception is in the mix-up of pre-loved and vintage, which are two different things. Many resellers or consignment stores may mislead consumers in thinking that they sell vintage itmes, when actually most of their stock is simply second-hand. A vintage piece is at least 20-years-old and are actually collector's items, and are worth much more on the market.
We host both categories: Vintage and pre-loved. The mere sense of wonderment on how each item is enlivened by a tale of its own — from a past life and passed on to another — is what continues to inspire the team at StyleTribute to uncover more hidden gems for loyalists across Asia.
Do you still buy brand new items?
I do from time to time, but it's seldom. I have become increasingly conscious of sustainability in fashion and my footprint. I have cut out all fast fashion brands even though they retail at such tempting prices. As I want to avoid breaking the bank, but still shop quality and stylish pieces, I feel there is no better option than shopping pre-loved. I've become a purist!
How often can buyers expect new items on the site?
We have one of the biggest assortments around, with over 1000 new products uploaded on the website every month.
Do you have any plans to introduce menswear to the site?
We have received many requests from male customers and a couple of our current clients are men. As such, we're launching a men's category by the end of December. We'll be concentrating solely on accessories and bags to begin with.
Sell and purchase pre-loved and vintage accessories, clothes and jewellery on StyleTribute.com.