Sellier is the Instagram consignment store to score bargain designer buys
Getting to know your postman better than your neighbours? Brown cardboard boxes stacking up in your flat at a frankly alarming rate? Don't judge yourself too harshly. If you've developed an insatiable online shopping habit over lockdown, you're not the only one.
But what if you're buying more than a few books from Amazon? A £14,000 vintage Hermes bag, say, purchased in just a few clicks? Then you'll already know about Sellier: a luxury consignment platform which touts designer clothes and accessories costing tens of thousands on Instagram Stories. Despite launching just 11 months ago, it's now the biggest reseller of Hermes bags in the UK, on track to turn over £5 million in the next year. A testament, if ever there was one, to internet shopping going nowhere.
'We sell maybe five or six Hermes bags a day, to people who have never set eyes on them — all through Instagram,' says co-founder Hanushka Toni, who set up Sellier last year in partnership with her mother, Dina Ibrahimova. When Covid-19 hit, their bricks-and-mortar store in upmarket Knightsbridge was closed for the foreseeable future. 'We were staring down the barrel of insolvency if we didn't get another income stream. So we decided to start selling our amazing stock over Instagram, and everything was flying.' Toni, who used to work in digital marketing for clients like Rolls Royce, Bentley and Swarovski, now appears on Sellier's Instagram page herself, chatting followers through the products in such a bright, accessible way it's impossible not to be tempted. No wonder 95% of Sellier's sales now happen online.
Sellier sources and sells everything from must-have pieces by brands like Bottega Veneta Saint Laurent to bags from Chanel and Hermes, many of which go for five figure sums. Prices for the Hermes Birkin bag alone have soared by around 500% in the last 35 years; resellers like Sellier are fetching double the retail price on the secondary market. It goes someway to explaining why customers are happy to part with such vast amounts of cash online, often within minutes of a bag going up for sale. Shoppers have been increasingly happy in recent years to buy clothes at the touch of a button on Instagram, but typically, it's fast fashion they're purchasing. Sellier is turning the model on its head, offering sustainable, pre-loved pieces you'll buy now and wear forever. 'There's an intrinsic investment value in these pieces,' says Toni. 'They hold their value. Five years down the line, you're probably going to sell it for what you paid.'
All the same, Toni goes the extra mile to make sure her online customers feel comfortable with what they're buying. 'Everything we get in goes through an authentication process — we've never had an issue,' she tells me. Sellier also has every piece modelled, so potential buyers can see what something looks like on a person, rather than a hanger. 'The consumer needs to have the product explained to them, made accessible,' says Toni. 'Having a model style it with different looks makes a huge difference. Most people associate consignment stores with rubbish, fusty stock that no one wants, but we're getting incredible items and styling them.'
Another huge draw for consumers is the cost — some same-season Chanel items sell on the platform for half of what you'd pay in store. Most of Sellier's consignees are happy to part with their pre-loved possessions for less in return for quick sales. But it does mean that you'll need to have your finger on the pulse to bag a designer bargain — every one of Sellier's Instagram Stories has, on average, 15,000 views and 70% of stock sells within three days. Toni herself even shops through the platform: 'I literally don't make any money in this business because I buy so much stuff for myself!' she laughs. 'We had one mint green Chanel vanity case and it literally broke my heart to let it go, it was so stunning.'
So what's next for this fast-growing brand? The Instagram account is ballooning thanks to collaborations with influencers and celebrities, who are selling their whole wardrobes through the platform. 'I think in the next year, it's going to be about getting more staff and expanding,' says Toni. 'We need to step up and get more people, as our revenues are growing by the month.' Whether other brands follow suit and adopt Sellier's hugely successful model remains to be seen — but we'd say Sellier should prepare for those Instagram clicks to become ever more frequent.