The new customer base of flea markets does not buy used because of the cheap price.
Helsinki something unprecedented happened at downtown Stockmann in May. The second-hand chain Relove, which sells recycled clothing, opened a new store in the department store. In other words: a flea market opened for Stockmann.
“We don’t want to use the word flea market, we prefer to talk about second hand,” says the owner of the Relove chain Noora Hautakangas.
He says that Stockmann has already offered them cooperation at the end of 2019. According to the department store chain, customers had wanted recycled fashion from Stockmann.
Relove is a company founded five years ago that sells quality used branded clothing. The table space may have to be queued for months, and the store has an exact listing of which characters are allowed.
The idea has clearly been worthwhile, as the company has grown: the third store in the chain has just been opened to Stockmann, and the number of employees has grown from the initial five to as many as 60.
Although the operation is based on the sales model familiar from flea markets, there is a desire to get rid of the old “flea stamp”. According to Hautakangas, images of flea markets and stale air and shabby clothes do not correspond to today’s recycling.
According to Hautakangas, there is a big difference between “used clothes” and “recycled fashion”. The latter certainly sounds more attractive than many.
Shabby the stamp is also being sought in Vallila, where a flea market called Moody Monday was opened in April. The idea is similar to Relovella.
The Vallila movement has hired a decorator to take care of the display of their clothes.
“Yes, flea dust has been shed out of this movement,” he says Kiia Aarnio, one of the owners of the store.
Right from the door you can see that this is not a traditional flea market. Purchases are packaged in a paper bag with the company logo, and a barcode price tag is affixed to each garment. The walls are decorated with elegant outfits.
“I have been working for 15 years in various clothing chains. It has been noticed that clothes do not sell if they hang on sledges, but the presentation must be more interesting, ”says Aarnio.
Bar codes allow sellers to track the sales of their products in real time.
“It’s easier for them too when you can track sales. A lot of people have been really excited about it, ”he says.
HS compared the prices of several trendy flea tables in Helsinki for this story. They all work on the same idea: the customer takes a point of sale for the time they want, where they sell their own clothes.
Everyone offers not only the option of pricing the products themselves, but also the full service option. In it, the customer only puts the clothes into circulation, and the store takes care of, among other things, pricing, steaming the clothes and keeping them clean.
The “full board” of the week is Vallila’s most popular product package, Aarnio says. It costs 39 euros, and the company settles 50 percent of the proceeds. So if things go wrong, the seller’s return can be quite low. However, it seems that many are willing to pay for uncomplicated recycling.
Consumer researcher Terhi-Anna Wilskan according to quality flea markets, there is a clearly more prosperous group of customers who do not buy clothes used because of their cheap price.
“Uffes are bought because it’s cheap there. The target group is the creators of the discoveries, while people visit luxury places for whom price is not the primary reason to buy a second hand, ”says Wilska.
According to him, the idea of luxury is also changing.
“The impressive eco-brand is already out of fashion in many circles. The uniqueness and personality of the garment is a new luxury. ”
Same view of Reloven Tombstone. However, he does not see development as a fishing for wealthy customers, but sees every new recycler as a victory for the environment.
“I’ve never wanted to think of recycling as an asset. Recycling starts at the will of consumers, and we can each help with that, ”he says.
With acquisitions such as Stockmann, Hautakangas aims to further expand its customer base. He believes that when used, the biggest wave of buying is still ahead.
“In five years, a lot has happened in the recycling culture. We are moving in the right direction, as recycling is becoming more and more mainstream. ”
From an environmental perspective also emphasizes the flea market visitor Salla Tuomivaara, who paddled Moody Monday’s sleds while HS visited the scene.
He said he also carefully considers purchasing decisions for used clothing.
“The most important thing for me is that the garment really pleases. If it feels unique, I am willing to pay the same as again. ”
Tuomivaara is also a customer of Apparel Lending, which has reduced the need to buy clothes. The main reason for buying used Tuomivaara mentions ecology.
“The price also affects, but most of all, the fact that you don’t have to buy a new one, because you can find nice clothes even when used.”
How much are people willing to pay for second hand fashion?
“Once, one Louis Vuitton bag was sold in minutes. Its value was in the order of a thousand euros, ”says Noora Hautakangas.