Will Gently become the Kayak of secondhand apparel?

Discussion
Source: Gently
Sep 28, 2022

As secondhand retail draws more of a mainstream audience, the number of places online where a shopper can find gently used apparel is proliferating. Now a new startup aims to let customers search all of those clothing resellers at once.

Gently is an app that envisions itself as being to secondhand apparel what Kayak is to booking hotels, according to TechCrunch. The website, which launched last year under its former name, Wearloom, allows users to search multiple online retailers for used clothing at once. Visitors key in what they are looking for and Gently searches its partners for the product and returns results from them.

Gently’s partners include popular used product destinations like eBay, ThredUp, Vestiaire Collective, Rebag, Grailed, GOAT, StockX and TheLuxuryCloset. In its early incarnation, Gently/Wearloom customers would enter the used items they were looking for into a form and the startup founders would search websites for them manually and email the customer a list of possible selections. When this became too laborious, they pivoted to an automated search model.

The company’s user base is now in the tens of thousands. It is not, however, the only aggregator in the space. Gently points to Lyst and ShopStyle as its main competitors.

A visit to the Gently website further finds that the service promotes deals from its partners to customers via emails and populates those deals on its home page.

Once a niche segment for dedicated “thrifters” and vintage enthusiasts, used apparel has been growing in popularity and finding a place both online and in major brick-and-mortar retailers. This is in part because an inflationary economy and rising living costs have pushed shoppers to look for deep-discounted goods. Beyond the price, secondhand clothing provides a more environmentally sound alternative to buying new apparel, especially over fast fashion, which is often pointed to by critics as being resource intensive to produce and wasteful.

Secondhand customers also report enjoying the “treasure hunt” aspect of shopping used, according to a recent CNBC article.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see shopping aggregators as a positive, negative or neutral development for sites selling secondhand apparel? How likely are such services to become the starting points for a large percentage of shoppers seeking to buy resale?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Gently has a great opportunity to open up this market to consumers who want to purchase secondhand apparel but find it challenging to find and navigate current resale sites."
"If not Gently, then someone else will fill that void. Secondhand shopping is at a tipping point, about to get very mainstream."
"I love the idea of Gently, I’m just wondering if consumer behaviors will adapt to this type of a resource."

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13 Comments on "Will Gently become the Kayak of secondhand apparel?"


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Dave Bruno
BrainTrust

The new “Gently” branding is brilliant, and the experience is much improved over earlier iterations, so I think they have a shot to carve out a nice niche for themselves. However they will likely remain a niche player unless they find a way to integrate bigger brands’ resale selections into their platform. And I think that is a pretty big ask. Major brands are investing in resale to, in part at least, protect their brand image and combat the knockoff industry. I just don’t see them opening up their brand to aggregators anytime soon, which I do think will be a built-in inhibitor to real meaningful growth for aggregators like Gently.

DeAnn Campbell
BrainTrust

Unlike new apparel, used clothing sellers don’t suffer the same level of competition since most items are essentially one-offs, without a range of sizes or colors. Reaching a broader audience is essential for resellers, not just for making sales but also for enticing trade-ins to keep the stocking cycle healthy. Shopping aggregators offer a big benefit to the resale market to increase shopper traffic and elevate the quality of the shopping experience. For the resale market specifically, a rising tide lifts all boats.

Richard Hernandez
BrainTrust

There has been a lot of movement in the gently used clothing arena. I see this continuing to grow as a viable alternative to buying new apparel.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

Given the proliferation of secondhand and resale sites, having an aggregator makes searching a lot easier. Plus Gently has some good features, like daily alerts for new products. The only downside is that Gently does not search every site so there are some, such as retailers’ own secondhand selections – a growing part of the market, which are missed.

Dion Kenney
BrainTrust
2 months 11 days ago

Aggregators are a good business model in highly fragmented industries, providing a single point of access for the audience. They provide larger audiences than each individual site would have on their own, while reducing the total cost of marketing to each. Their success however is highly dependent on their own marketing initiatives and their monetization model. Secondhand is a big, and growing, market that would benefit from a successful aggregator consolidating the many players in the space. As with Kayak, other aggregators will pop up, willing to go head-to-head to capture mindshare in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Melissa Minkow
BrainTrust

I love the idea of Gently, I’m just wondering if consumer behaviors will adapt to this type of a resource. It seems right now shoppers already have their go-to sites for secondhand and, if they enjoy the hunting process, this tool may take away some of the fun for them.

Ken Morris
BrainTrust

Secondhand shopping has grown in popularity, especially as the economy has declined. And anything that aggregates these purchases is a plus. Goodwill has recently entered this space with a multi-division collection that has the potential to vastly expand these offerings. This is a space that will continue to expand. Gently can expect a lot more meta-search competitors, but being first in always has its advantages.

Kathleen Fischer
BrainTrust

I love this idea! Gently has a great opportunity to open up this market to consumers who want to purchase secondhand apparel but find it challenging to find and navigate current resale sites.

Mohamed Amer, PhD
BrainTrust

Gently’s timing could not be better with more value-conscious consumers looking to save money while reducing their environmental impact. The concept of secondhand apparel aggregators is attractive; however Gently is very early in its journey and will require significantly more funding to market and scale its operation and expand its reach.

Jenn McMillen
BrainTrust

If not Gently, then someone else will fill that void. Secondhand shopping is at a tipping point, about to get very mainstream. Secondhand is now cool, and buying secondhand is part of the younger generations’ core values. The big miss here is — where’s Poshmark?

Scott Norris
Guest

I think the article’s focus is on shopping aggregators rather than direct-sale sites, but your point is valid – the better opportunity is in sites with more direct control over listings and inventory as well as customer relationships. We used Poshmark to clear out my brother-in-law’s clothing a couple years ago and were very impressed. Offline, folks like Ragstock here in Minneapolis have been at it for decades and are just as adept at seasonal merchandising and selection as any new-goods clothing retailer.

Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

I love this. Aggregating these sites and providing search capabilities will supercharge this market. Nicely done!

Anil Patel
BrainTrust

Gently has identified a present-day problem and has come up with a specific solution to counter it. For customers, searching and buying secondhand products of choice will become effortless!

I believe aggregators like Gently and Kayak adds value to customers’ lives and help them explore the buying experience.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Gently has a great opportunity to open up this market to consumers who want to purchase secondhand apparel but find it challenging to find and navigate current resale sites."
"If not Gently, then someone else will fill that void. Secondhand shopping is at a tipping point, about to get very mainstream."
"I love the idea of Gently, I’m just wondering if consumer behaviors will adapt to this type of a resource."

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