With thrift shops being all the buzz in society these days, you’ve probably heard of Refash, one of Singapore’s most well-known fashion thrift shops.
If you haven’t, Refash is a local thrift fashion store that was founded by Aloysius Sng back in 2015.
The company purchases second-hand clothing from individual consumers and sells them both online and in-store. It currently has ten outlets in Singapore along with its website, and has apparently handled over five million garments as of now.
And just yesterday (9 May), it was announced that online marketplace platform Carousell bought Refash, effectively acquiring the company. It is unclear as to how much the deal was worth.
Carousell, a platform that is no stranger to most Singaporeans, allows individuals or businesses to sell new or second-hand items to other consumers. Since its launch in Singapore back in 2012, it has since expanded to seven other countries, namely Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam.
The platform is currently worth US$1.1 billion (approximately S$1.53 billion) and has since attained unicorn status in Singapore.
Previously, Carousell also carried out a similar deal when it took over Ox Street, a sneaker marketplace just last October.
Similarly, it did not disclose how much the deal cost.
Details Regarding The Deal Between Carousell and Refash
Based on the deal between both corporations, Refash will still keep its brand name, management team and both its online and physical stores despite being owned by Carousell.
Carousell’s co-founder and chief executive Quek Siu Rui, 34, told The Straits Times that the company hopes to work together with Refash’s existing presence in the fashion and retail industry, given how prominent these industries are in the market.
This will allow an increased rate of buying and selling fashion garments since it will be easier for individuals to do so, which will in turn allow Carousell to have a more established position in terms of leading the market in the fast fashion commerce industry.
For the uninformed, recommence, also known as reverse commerce, is a term used to address businesses that sell pre-loved or second-hand products.
Additionally, Quek also touched on the topic of technology, where Carousell will likely use its advantages in this area such as its artificial intelligence capabilities in order to improve consumers’ shopping experience at Refash.
On the other hand, Sng, 33, mentioned to The Straits Times as well that the COVID-19 pandemic boosted the recommerce industry substantially, and that Refash is looking forward to more growth after Carousell takes ownership of the start-up.
Although he did not reveal the exact data regarding the sales turnover of Refash, he mentioned that it reached the seven-figure mark. In particular, it increased by 200% as compared to one year ago for their online store.
With Carousell’s acquisition, Sng also shared that Refash is looking to have twice the number of garments from women’s fashion sellers by the third month.
Currently, Refash processes around 5,000 drop-offs from sellers on a monthly basis.
Similar Goals Between Both Companies
Other than that, both companies also indicated that they are working towards the same goal: To increase the prevalence of second-hand items in the market, and to encourage more individuals to opt for them instead of buying brand-new items.
Sng also mentioned that Quek was able to empathise with Refash’s goal of engaging with a large number and variety of consumers, even those who do not have time to sell their clothes or those who think that second-hand clothes are not appealing.
Quek echoed similar sentiments, emphasising the company’s goal of helping consumers place second-hand items as their top choice.
Quek also shared one of Carousell’s goals, which they hope to attain by 2030.
The company envisions recommerce as the most prominent form of commerce, and that first-hand e-commerce will only act as a side supplement in the market.
It hopes that consumers will be prompted to reuse their items in different ways. Additionally, Quek also said that Carousell hopes to encourage consumers to only purchase new items whenever necessary or after they sell items of their own.
Based on a 2021 report by ThredUp, the world’s largest fashion resale platform, the global thrifting and resale industry is estimated to be worth US$77 billion (approximately S$106 billion) by 2025.
That value is more than double of what the industry is worth now. As of 2021, the industry was worth US$36 billion (approximately S$50 billion).
Additionally, the report also revealed that the second-hand fashion industry is predicted to be twice as large as the fast fashion industry by 2030, and that there is a predicted number of 118.8 million future sellers as compared to the 52.6 million total sellers back in 2020.
The increase in demand for second-hand items has also increased exponentially over the years, from 45% of shoppers being open to purchasing second-hand products in 2016 to 86%, or 220 million shoppers being open to doing so in 2020.
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Featured Image: Carousell
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