Tuesday, February 28, 2017
This NYC Startup Sells New Watches at Used Prices By Doing This…
AlleyWatch chatted with CEO Richard Birnbaum about the Startup and how the company is changing how we think about used items.
Tell us about the product or service.
ShopWorn.com is a luxury e-commerce site that exclusively sells designer display-model watches, jewelry, and accessories sourced from authorized retailers around the world. The concept is that of a luxury trunk show, and ShopWorn.com website merchandise is constantly being updated. All products have never been pre-owned and have only been gently handled in-store before arriving on ShopWorn.com. Since our launch in November 2016, our impressive brand roster has grown to include Omega, pre owned Tag Heuer watches, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Maurice Lacroix, Tudor, Montegrappa, Zenith, Dior, Chopard, Cartier, Hublot, Celine, Stephen Webster, and many more with some products offered up to 84% off of market rates.
How is it different?
ShopWorn.com has carved out a new niche in e-commerce because of our unique product sourcing strategy. Therefore, we don’t compete with current product offerings at the retail level or with other e-commerce sites, and we don’t sell second hand goods. ShopWorn introduces an entirely new category in luxury shopping with “shopworn” products.
We are also able to offer a unique opportunity to authorized retailers to purchase their aging inventory and allow them to free shelf-space to purchase new merchandise direct from the brand.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
ShopWorn caters to the luxury collector, enthusiast, or gift-giver. Our customer is typically very well educated on the product and values both quality and authenticity. Our new niche, selling authentic “shopworn” luxury products, allows the consumer to get a fantastic deal without compromising on the quality of their purchase.
On the supply side, the market is unlimited. Swiss watchmakers exported over $20 billion worth of products in 2016, and a third of that inventory is stock balanced every year. That means $6 billion worth of goods that are available for us to buy and resell to our customers.
What is the business model?
ShopWorn is the only website to exclusively sell store-display merchandise purchased directly from authorized retailers. In addition to our e-commerce and customer service staff, we also have a dedicated procurement team that travels the world purchasing designer goods from retailers.
What inspired the business?
We got our start in the early dot com days of the late 1990s selling luxury items on Ebay. Our early success caught the eye of Fortune Magazine who interviewed us in 2000. From then on, we knew that luxury would always have a place on the internet. In the fall of 2015, we recognized an opportunity to both assist luxury retailers struggling to sell their stock inventory and resell it to a broader audience online. With this concept in mind, we proceeded to assemble a team of industry professionals to source inventory from the world’s finest luxury retailers. We quickly discovered that savvy consumers would much prefer to own a ShopWorn product which is virtually indistinguishable from new than a pre-owned version at a similar cost. As we only source our items from authorized retailers, there is never a question of the authenticity of our merchandise.
Why is a platform like yours necessary?
The combination of authentic luxury products, superior value, and high-touch customer service offered by ShopWorn.com can’t be matched by other e-commerce sites out there today. The consumer benefits by purchasing an authentic product at a fraction of the retail cost.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
From launching in November 2016, we did $1.3 million in the first 90 days. We project within 6 months to have monthly sales between $700,000 – $800,000. We will be adding dozens of new retail vendors to our existing supplier base to bring even more luxury products to our site. Within the next 6 months we expect to sell 100 brands on our site.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
“Stay self-funded as long as possible”
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
A VC who shares our vision and has access to the brain power for us to scale more quickly.
Why did you launch in New York?
We grew up in Brooklyn and have spent our entire lives in the NY metropolitan area. As the luxury capital of the US, there was never another city to consider operating in. We are always traveling to Manhattan for business to coordinate products, meet with stylists, or manage photo shoots.
Where is your favorite bar in the city for an after-work drink?
We are big fans of Marea on Central Park South. It’s elegant with a superb wine list and amazing antipasti, which is not surprising given two Michelin stars.