Customers Want to Shop Secondhand. This Brand Listened.
The Spotlight: The Brass Exchange
In Conversation with Katie Demo, Brass Co-Founder
Recurate powers resale for brands across the industry. Every partner of ours comes to us with a unique set of goals and challenges as they pursue resale. To continue to inspire change within our industry and to provide helpful information for other brands on a similar journey, we’ll be sharing these learnings through our new series: The Spotlight.
“Frankly, I didn’t have a truly broken system — I had something that was working, so I had to provide something that was better for customers in order to get them to move over to our website, and I knew that I couldn’t just work with anyone.” — Katie Demo, Co-Founder of Brass
Since 2014, Brass has designed effortless, high-quality clothing for the modern woman. Right from the start, they created The Brass Guild Facebook group, a space where customers could connect, convene, and share their love for Brass products. As the community continued to grow, The Brass Guild naturally evolved into a trading post for buying and selling Brass apparel. Seeing an opportunity to support their community, Brass joined forces with Recurate to elevate and scale their resale experience.
Our solution was to build a peer-to-peer platform directly on the Brass website — a sophisticated shopping experience that would match the look and feel of the brand and provide a welcoming space for their already robust resale community. Since The Brass Exchange launched in November 2020, Brass has built loyalty among current customers, re-engaged lapsed customers and welcomed new ones into the fold. As a result of implementing their resale program with Recurate, they’ve seen…
12.4% of total sales attributed to resale.
22% of resale buyers were new to the brand.
28% growth in used transactions.
We chatted to Katie Demo, Co-Founder of Brass about launching and growing their resale program.
When did you start thinking about resale as an avenue for Brass?
“We started a Facebook group right around the time we started our business because we noticed our customers were really like-minded and had a lot in common. We thought it would be cool to get them into a Facebook group and get them interacting with each other. It was an interesting hypothesis, and it turned out to be true. One of the things that we noticed they were doing early on was buying, selling, and trading their Brass clothes within the group because we make things in limited quantities, small runs, and things sell out. It was an opportunity for them to get pieces that they wouldn’t normally have access to on our website. It started off as people posting randomly, and then it got to the point where it was starting to take over the group. Brass had really nothing to do with it. We just provided a Facebook group to get together… They obviously wanted some sort of service.”
Out of all your options, why did you choose Recurate’s branded peer-to-peer resale model?
“We wanted it to be super low lift. We’re a really small team, and we don’t have any ability to take back product and refurbish it ourselves. I’m really glad that we made the decision to go with peer-to-peer. It was always peer-to-peer in the buy/sell/trade thread. It never really crossed my mind to take back inventory. Brands that I really love and admire, like Eileen Fisher, do that, but they have much more operating power. And I think peer-to-peer is kind of nice; we can be the middleman, but we don’t have to be the middle house.”
How was the transition to your new platform? Was it hard to get customers to adapt?
“We’re very communicative with our customers, and we spend a lot of time talking to them in our Facebook group. We told them that a new way of buying and selling Brass pieces was coming. The group moderator and I got on Zoom, did a screen share, and recorded a video for our customers, walking them through the process: how to list an item, how to buy, all the information that they needed. We posted it to the Facebook group, and it answered a ton of questions. Obviously, we have an FAQ on our website, but I think it was nice hearing our voices and being able to see us hovering over things and chatting, so it was just a nice way of launching.”
How long did it take for your resale platform to take off?
“Oh, I think it was immediate. I didn’t know what to expect because it’s always hard when you’re taking something from one place and moving it over to another, so I thought it could potentially not go well. Or, they could prefer the Facebook group, and we might have to go back. But they adapted immediately. We made this nice experience, and everything looked great. We — Brass and Recurate together as a unit — were really on top of communicating with our customers. We were making adjustments for them on the fly… Adam and Wilson [Recurate co-founders] did a focus group with our community. We had 20 women come on Zoom with us one night, and they were telling them everything: “we want to see this” and “this is what we miss.” And I think when they feel a part of something, people are committed to making something really good. I think that’s why our program has been so successful. Because it feels like we’re all in it together, and it’s a community-based thing.”
So it’s been good for your customer. Has it been good for business too?
“I look at it in multiple ways. When it was in the Facebook group, we didn’t make a dollar off of it; it was all peer-to-peer, we had nothing to do with it. Now, it’s become part of our revenue… We don’t count on it; we don’t set success metrics around it just because the listings are very much out of our control. However, I think about having this service on our website as critically important to our business and our brand because it helps with customer acquisition. It allows women to get a taste of our brand and the quality at a very reasonable price point… On top of that, I think that there is an emerging market of customers who will not buy things that are not secondhand. They’re not going to buy new, ever. So we can have an assortment of really high-quality staple pieces and basics that are secondhand.”
What does resale success look like to you? How do you monitor growth?
“On a weekly basis, we’re looking at how many units we’re selling. Long-term, I think that if this is successful for us, it will become a part of our brand, and people will identify Brass as a place where you can get really great high-quality clothing — new or used. And that they’ll think of Brass as a more sustainable brand because we offer second or even third life cycles for our clothes. We have people selling things that they bought used. Since we started the business, keeping clothing out of landfills has been one of our number one priorities. That’s why we use really high-quality fabrics that really last a long time, and we make really timeless silhouettes.
When you were considering Recurate as a partner for your resale program, what appealed to you about working with the company?
“I really liked Adam [Siegel, Co-Founder of Recurate], I liked the vision, and I could tell that he was going to provide superior customer service. And that’s what Recurate does. So that was really important to me. Frankly, I didn’t have a truly broken system — I had something that was working, so I had to provide something that was better for customers in order to get them to move over to our website, and I knew that I couldn’t just work with anyone. I needed someone who was just as invested in our community, and that’s what I found in Adam and Wilson… I haven’t had as good of an experience with any other partners as them. They’re really hands-on, they really believe in what they’re doing, and they want us to be successful. And I just respect the hell out of both of them, really.”
Learn more about how Recurate builds branded resale platforms at www.recurate.com