Launched in 2015 by Chloé, then a finance student passionate about fashion, Closet 2 Closet transformed a family tradition of flea markets into an online luxury boutique. Initially starting as a resale service for friends, the business quickly expanded its visibility, attracting loyal customers who entrusted them with hundreds of items.
In this exclusive interview, we had the privilege of speaking with Chloé, the founder, delving into the behind-the-scenes of her business to reveal the inspirations, challenges, and aspirations driving her commitment to circular fashion. She also shares the advantages of collaborating with Oly, offering insights into the benefits of multichannel selling and automated management of listings on marketplaces.
Chloé holds a special place in Oly's development; she was our very first beta tester at launch! So, it's a joy for us to share her story and shed light on a remarkable and inspiring journey.
I launched Closet2Closet in 2013 as a sole trader, officially establishing the company in January 2015. This project emerged from my family experiences; my sisters and I used to frequent flea markets with our mother. We started selling our things on eBay, and gradually, people wanted us to sell for them. I found it interesting to sell online, but I disliked how second-hand websites lost buyers in endless and disorganized catalogs. So, I thought, why not create a structured site where people could see a selection, digitally recreating the experience of a luxury consignment store.That's how Closet 2 Closet's site was born, along with our Facebook and Instagram accounts. We began by selling items only from acquaintances, but as we gained visibility on social networks, others contacted us to sell their luxury items. Everything happened very quickly; we started receiving dozens of items and sometimes even hundreds at once.
I needed storage space because the spaces at my home or in my mother's office, aka the "Alibaba's cave," were no longer sufficient. I opened a small boutique located right next to Arletti, which brought us a lot of visibility because all the fashionistas looking for good deals at Arletti sales discovered us that way.
Closet 2 Closet is a true family story; my sister Inès later joined me to accelerate development.
I believe that a love for fashion and a passion for finding unique pieces were the driving forces behind this adventure. From the beginning, what I adored was visiting our clients and entering their closets; I found it fantastic.What I love most is seeing all these unique pieces loaded with history; some were worn on runways a few years ago, even decades ago. I find it amazing to rediscover pieces seen on runways or worn by celebrities.
COVID was also a significant turning point for the secondhand industry. People started consuming much more online. After three weeks of confinement, I decided to reopen the site, and I saw an explosion of orders, it was crazy.
Since my beginnings, I've observed significant changes in consumption habits becoming more thoughtful. There's no longer a separation between sellers and buyers; they are the same people, and there are no barriers to whether an item has been worn before. Second-hand also allows for "favorite" purchases of unique pieces that are no longer available and acquiring them at more affordable prices. Consumers look for pieces with a story.
The success of Closet 2 Closet lies in its personalized approach and the quality of the luxury items we offer. I emphasize the importance of having close relationships with clients, with depositors, to create genuine trust. We've always put personalized buying advice and concierge service for deposits at the heart of the experience.
Closet 2 Closet now has 3000 exceptional pieces and exponential revenue growth! We handle over a hundred deposits every month.
Our biggest challenge at the moment is to continue developing the site while maintaining relationships with our clients, depositors, and buyers because relationships are our strength. Our clients feel close to us, for buying advice, gifts. People need this contact, even if it's online, and so do we!Even as we grow rapidly, our priority is to maintain the quality of the customer experience, whether online or in-store. Since we opened our showroom at 6 rue Debelleyme in the 3rd arrondissement of Paris, people are rediscovering the exclusive and confidential side of luxury shopping.
I believe that the online second-hand experience will evolve towards a more personalized approach. There's a challenge in providing online buying advice, similar to the in-store experience, and I want to find ways to understand what our customers are looking for to help them navigate the online offerings and have an experience close to the "favorite" feeling for a piece they can have when they come to the showroom.
I quickly started selling on marketplaces like Vestiaire Collective, Le Bon Coin, and Videdressing (closed today) to avoid being limited to a local clientele and to gain more visibility. I needed a bigger showcase, where consumers could easily find me, and not having a background in digital marketing, I decided to test resale platforms. I immediately saw that my products were popular on these sites, and thanks to my account name and logo, clients easily found my site or Instagram when searching.
The start of multi-channel activity was an effective strategy to increase traffic and diversify income sources. It also contributed to customer loyalty because clients followed us on the platforms to be notified when we had new items. On Vestiaire Collective, we entered the top 10 sellers, and this "expert seller" badge brought us legitimacy and much more visibility, with a significant follower community. Marketplaces are not competitors; they complement each other, and the goal was to work together.
Customers often discover Closet2Closet through marketplaces, then actively search for the brand on other channels. Our presence on marketplaces has significantly contributed to expanding the clientele and boosting overall growth.
Before Oly, we manually listed our products on Vestiaire Collective, Rebelle, Vide Dressing, but we had to select products because it was impossible to post our entire catalog. We did this in the evenings and on weekends initially, and then we hired an intern who did this exclusively.
I thought: "It would be a dream to have a solution where I just make the announcement on Shopify, and it automatically goes online on marketplaces." And that's what Oly allowed us to do, drastically simplifying the process of managing listings on marketplaces.
Before working with Oly, we handled listings ourselves; it took us a lot of time and encroached on our marketing development, our presence on social media, for example. Oly offered us a flexible and responsive solution like ad verification and the ability to easily modify details; this allowed us to save time and focus on other aspects of business development.
I think the primary benefit is a significant time savings. All our products are now online on all the marketplaces we're connected to, allowing us not to miss any sales opportunities
!What Oly has brought us, in addition to time, is the ability to immediately post the latest arrivals to maximize the chances of selling them quickly.
I also particularly appreciate the ease of use; everything is connected to our Shopify. On the Oly interface, it takes us a few seconds to list products, I can do it whenever I have 5 minutes in my day to choose which products I publish, at what price, and when. We can easily make changes and review our listings before publication to ensure information accuracy. I also like the fact that we're very autonomous. We don't need to call Oly every time we encounter an issue; most of the time, we can solve it ourselves. And even if we have a big problem, the Oly team is always responsive.
Read the case study here and discover the results of the collaboration between Closet 2 Closet and Oly: 790h saved, 48% sales on Rebelle, and more.
The time saved using Oly allows us to focus on other aspects of business development. All those things we wanted to do to improve and be more efficient but lacked time for, we can now address all those issues.
My team members can spend more time on social media, marketing, or administrative tasks, contributing to greater operational efficiency.
There's room for everyone! I recommend focusing on creating a network and a circle of trust because that's crucial in this sector. For me, the most important thing is to maintain a close relationship with clients, to be passionate, and to remain authentic in interactions with customers. It's important to bear in mind that starting a professional second-hand business requires a lot of work and structure.