Libas x Oly interview - the AI-powered go-to platform for shopping second-hand luxury fashion in the Middle East and North Africa

September 28, 2023

We had the pleasure of discussing with Paolo Khayat, CEO and co-founder of Libas, a Dubai-based resale marketplace, the go-to platform for shopping second-hand luxury fashion in the Middle East and North Africa, powered by AI.

Libas has chosen to partner with Oly to provide exclusive access to the Arab resale market for the top European fashion resellers we work with. Go through this article to find out more about Libas' journey and its vision for the future of the resale industry.

Libas Oly resale marketplace automated listing
Paolo Khayat  CEO, co-founder of Libas 

Could you share your journey and the path that led you to where you are today and starting Libas? What inspired you to start this platform?

So, approximately two years ago, I relocated from Beirut to Dubai with the intention of establishing Libas in the UAE, and subsequently, expanding its reach across the entire Arab region. Initially, my focus was not on fashion; rather, my interests lay in cars and planes, given my background as a mechanical engineer.

Then, I took a different career path working as a data analyst in a very big e-commerce company in Dubai called Noon. It was during this period that a revelation struck me: the potential to create my own online marketplace, and Libas was it!

I was always environmentally mindful and particularly concerned about the dreadful environmental consequences of fast fashion. Driven by the thirst to make an impact and animated with entrepreneurship, I believed the Arab world had a vital role to play in the solution, and so I established our Arab AI-powered community marketplace promoting sustainability practices.

I had dreamed about this marketplace, where we can help people share their own wardrobes and run their small business with great ease as well as forging conscious shopping. Fast forward 2 years, and we have Libas now!

Can you provide an overview of Libas and its mission in the luxury resale market? 

Libas is here to address the major issues stemming from fast fashion and counterfeit goods, fighting for a world of authenticity and safety. Therefore, it’s a community-powered fashion marketplace that allows the selling and buying of pre-owned luxuries, promoting conscious consumerism with each sale and purchase. And it strives to make a massive impact. This is why we want to become the one-stop destination for buying and selling second-hand designer clothing in the Middle East.

We’re on a mission to revolutionize the luxury fashion industry in the Arab world. By promoting a more circular one by creating AI tools to fight counterfeit goods, we ensure a safer and more sustainable industry.

Libas Oly resale marketplace automated listing

What sets Libas apart from other luxury resale platforms, both in the Middle East and globally?

Unlike any other platform in the region, Libas is community-driven, seller-focused, and AI-powered. It's the first platform to feature a 3-layer authentication process before its community members. The first layer is performed by trusted sellers on the platform (1), while the second is provided through Libas' dedicated experts who ensure that all products sold through the platform are genuine (2).  For ultimate validation, we refer to our ASLE AI-powered authentication tool (3); we run eligible pieces such as handbags of LV, Hermès, Chanel & Dior into this system to achieve a final verdict and eventually put customers’ minds at ease. We offer a lifetime authenticity certificate that guarantees each and every item being sold through our platforms is genuine.

Therefore, both sellers and customers (buyers) are part of a community with a purpose– the Fashion-Disrupting Community. The members are empowered by entrepreneurship, technology, and responsibility, as they connect with one another, make offers and counteroffers, and engage in win-win deals while making conscious choices that shape a better future!

Can you tell us more about the evolution of the resale market in the Middle East? Who are the resale consumers there?

Consignment in the Middle East has been going on in the form of Instagram pages and Facebook groups since around 2010; some large companies emerged with the consignment business model that has been dominant and has been so far the only form of selling items in the market. 

Libas Oly resale marketplace automated listing

Could you share some insights into the types of luxury items that are most popular among Libas users? Are there any unique trends or preferences you've observed in the Middle East market?

Among the most sought-after brands & items on Libas, Middle Eastern shoppers tend to favor Hermès & Louis Vuitton, top-selling items are small LV pouches from the Last 13 years as well as Hermès sandals. Gucci watches come in third. All are in the women’s category.

Can you describe the process of authentication and quality control that items undergo before being listed on Libas? How do you ensure the authenticity of luxury items?

Libas is the 1st marketplace in the region to feature a 3-layer authenticity check on each item sold through its platforms. The first layer is performed by trusted businesses on the platform, and the second layer is provided through Libas' experts with years of industry experience.

Once a seller uploads an item with pictures and details, as soon as an order is placed, it gets picked up and sent to our authentication center for verification.

The team physically evaluates whether the item matches the seller’s stated condition and description and meticulously checks the quality of the materials used, the look and feel of the hardware, stitching, logos, fonts, date codes and serial numbers amongst other characteristics of the item. 

For ultimate validation, we refer to our ASLE AI-powered authentication tool; we run eligible pieces, such as handbags of LV, Hermès, Chanel & Dior into this system which takes their images. It compares thousands of detailed images of authentic & counterfeit goods to give a verdict up to 95% confidence. All this to offer a lifetime authenticity certificate that guarantees each and every item being sold through our platforms is genuine. 

Thanks to our 3-layer authentication process, our platform is the safest place to shop pre-loved in the Middle East.

Libas Oly resale marketplace automated listing

Libas seems to have a strong focus on community and engagement. How do you foster a sense of community among your users and sellers?

Both buyers and sellers can engage in chats and price negotiations with each other, offering offers and counteroffers to put in place a mutually-beneficial transaction. They can also like pieces and leave comments. And buyers receive notifications when their favorite (liked) item has its price cut, enticing them to reach out to sellers and seal the deal.

They can also take advantage of Libas' dynamic link feature to showcase their designer clothing on social media, or even share them with friends and family. By attracting potential buyers to their profiles and listings, they’re inviting them to become part of the community, which ultimately leads to more negotiations and engagement among members.

Looking ahead, what are your plans and goals for Libas in the coming years? Are there any exciting developments or expansions on the horizon?

While we’re now shipping worldwide, we want to tap into new markets, reap the most opportunities and establish a strong presence to achieve our mission and vision flat-out. 

Why did you start working with Oly? How do you see this collaboration evolve in the future?

Oly has acted as the bridge between East and West. Thanks to Oly, our community members are able to shop through Europe’s finest and best sellers out there, all while offering the ease of paying in installments. OLY has saved a lot of Middle Eastern travelers from waiting for their trip to Europe to find better deals!

We not only see the future of this collaboration growing in volume but also a long and solid friendship.

Libas Oly resale marketplace automated listing
Oly's technology - connect your product catalog to several marketplaces in one click

Save time. Increase your sales.
If you are a professional fashion reseller and looking for a solution to manage your online inventory automatically on all your sales channels, become one of our users!
Try Oly