ThredUP asks consumers to boycott Shein’s pop-up shop
Shein has become “the most searched-for (apparel) retailer” and the most downloaded app in America, according to UBS Evidence Lab’s Global App Monitor, even though it does not operate any physical stores in the U.S. The Chinese fast-fashion giant has also gotten on the wrong side of thredUP, the largest online consignment store.
ThredUP last week sent push notifications to customers in the San Francisco Bay Area asking them to pledge not to shop at Shein’s pop-up shop located in the Embarcadero Center between June 24 and 26. The resale site also offered new customers taking the pledge 40 percent off their first purchase plus free shipping for not shopping at the pop-up.
Erin Wallace, vice president of integrated marketing at thredUP, told RetailWire that the campaign was about something bigger than targeting Shein.
“It’s about educating and helping consumers,” Ms. Wallace said. “As one of the world’s largest online resale platforms, we’re on a mission to fight fashion waste and inspire a new generation to think secondhand first. Shein lists thousands of brand-new styles every day, encouraging endless consumption and creating disposable fashion waste. Their business model is the antithesis of circularity.”
ThredUP, however, is not looking to get into the practice of publicly calling for boycotts of retailers, preferring collaboration over confrontation.
“We value our relationships with retailers and believe that the entire industry benefits when resale and retail work together,” Ms. Wallace said. “Our ultimate goal is to extend the life of as many clothes as possible and keep items in closets and out of landfills. ThredUP’s Resale-as-a-Service platform enables resale experiences for some of the world’s leading retailers in service of that mission.”
ThredUP did not expect to shut out Shein’s pop-up shop with its campaign in San Francisco, but it is looking to change how consumers and the merchants that serve them think about apparel.
“Our lofty goal is to displace the production of new clothes such that, in the future, we collectively reuse more clothing than we produce new,” she said. “We’re glad to be sparking conversation and providing education around how harmful brands like Shein truly are for the planet. We believe that individual actions can make a collective impact; if we can convince even a few fast-fashion shoppers to make the switch to thrift, we’ll be that much closer to creating a circular future for fashion.”
- Chinese fast fashion brand SHEIN is ‘increasing threat to U.S. specialty retailers,’ UBS says – Yahoo Finance
- Why has Shein become a breakout hit with America’s teens? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see a role in retail marketing for companies to compare and contrast their practices with rivals based on environmental, social and governance grounds? Do you see risks for retailers and brands taking strong ESG stands at a time when society is being further polarized on issues such as reproductive health, firearms, the environment, et al?