5 minutes with Fanny Moizant
Fanny Moizant launched her preowned luxury online store when she saw women struggling to wear the existing items in their own wardrobes. Here, she discusses our emotional ties with clothing and the challenges of running a secondhand store.
When did you realise the world needed a site like Vestiaire Collective?
Having studied fashion marketing in Paris and going on to work at brands such as John Galliano, I have always had an interest in fashion. Ten years ago, I noticed that there was no trusted avenue or platform for people to sell items they no longer wore. This was also during a time when people were buying more and wearing less.
It became apparent that consumers were in need of a sustainable solution to cope with the change from possession to usage, which led us to create Vestiaire Collective: a company dedicated to providing an opportunity for people to extend the lifespan of their pre-loved items, therefore minimising waste in fashion.
What are some of the oldest, most treasured items in your wardrobe?
The jewellery pieces my husband offered me for my daughters’ birth – I will give these to them when they get married. I also have a very special vintage Rolex watch which my husband gifted me, which will forever remain one of my all-time favourites.
What are some of the businesses that you most admire in the world and why?
Veja is a great example of a brand that marries fashion and sustainability. They represent a good cause and their sneakers are very comfortable.
What is one of the best customer stories that you’ve heard since running your site?
We have so many, mainly from our VIP sellers. Each client has his or her dedicated account manager, so we are able to build strong relationships over time. Reselling clothes and accessories you no longer wear is often tied to very personal motives or life milestones like a wedding or the birth of a child. Happy or sad, these stories always touch us.
One I will always remember is a client who sadly had to cancel her wedding last minute. She was obviously going through a hard time and wanted to move forward, so detoxing her wardrobe from all her bad memories was an important step. We helped her by reselling the wedding rings, dress and several gifts from her ex-boyfriend. It was a sad moment, but it was also a special and meaningful moment for us to help her move on. She is doing great now, which is very nice to know!
What are some of the biggest challenges of running a store that sells secondhand items?
Initially, at the time of Vestiaire’s creation, it was important for us to build trust so that customers see us as a genuine, reliable platform. It was extremely important for us to recruit a team of in-house experienced authentication experts who could inspect each and every single product – this was key to creating that trust with our customers. Recruiting this team and training them takes time and dedication.
Other challenges we faced as the company grew in size and in scale is the transition from a startup business to a global company across borders – localisation is a challenge. Each country and culture has its own certain nuances, cultural preferences and attitudes to pre-owned items that we need to respect.
What are some of the most important business lessons that you’ve learned since launching Vestiaire?
1. Success takes discipline and perseverance. It takes hard work and determination when it comes to managing your own business, and it’s up to you as the leader to inspire your team to succeed. Use your time effectively but also be dedicated and focused on your objective. Set clear goals, plan a routine and follow through until the end.
2. It’s about balance. A good work-life balance boosts productivity and prevents you from burning out. It is important to carve time out for yourself to spend time with your family, to work out or even just to rest. Be protective of your personal time and set boundaries.
3. Have a support system. As independent and self-sufficient as you can be, you cannot do it all your own. You need to surround yourself with people who inspire you to be your best and support your efforts to succeed.
4. Stay positive. As a team leader, it is very important to be a source of motivation and not let the circumstances dictate the way you think. Be mindful that your positivity or negativity can pass down to your team. Problems can also be seen as challenges that help you learn. 5. Take risks. You can never innovate without exploring new ideas. You must be willing to take calculated risks and learn through trial-and-error. Start small and evaluate the risks before taking them. Don’t be afraid to fall. You get to learn from every mistake and grow from every learning experience.
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