Luxury Garage Sale taps new CEO – Consumer News

on Oct12

12 October 2017 | 10:30 am

Luxury Garage Sale, the omnichannel luxury consignment business created in Chicago in 2011, has tapped consumer packaged goods and tech veteran Trish Lukasik as its first outside CEO.

Lukasik, previously COO of SpotHero, another fast-growing Chicago start-up, will focus on accelerating all aspects of Luxury Garage Sale’s business, including bricks-and-mortar presence, e-commerce and partnerships with other brands.

Prior to joining SpotHero in 2016, Lukasik served as chief customer officer for a $10 billion division of PepsiCo. She’s also worked at Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola.

Luxury Garage Sale began as a series of pop-up stores run by Northshore natives and childhood friends Lindsay Segal and Brielle Buchberg. In 2012, the pair established a permanent store in Old Town and launched their own e-commerce platform a year later. They soon attracted attention from top Chicago investors and retail veterans, who contributed to two rounds of funding since 2015, totalling $6.5 million.

In an interview, Lukasik and Segal say another round is on the horizon. The company employs 75 people.

Segal, the company’s previous CEO, says the decision to bring in an outside leader was one she and Buchberg mulled for months before presenting to the board. “There comes a time in the lifecycle of every startup where the founders need to look forward and decide if leadership needs to transition,” she says. “We interviewed countless candidates and absolutely fell in love with Trish—with her energy, her experience, her point of view—which has made the decision to hand over the reins far easier.” She and Buchberg will remain in active, day-to-day roles dedicated to business development.

With the money from its seed and Series A rounds of funding, Luxury Garage Sale expanded to five bricks-and-mortar locations in Chicago, Dallas, Minneapolis and Seattle, and hired a vice president of engineering who has revamped both the front- and back-end of the site.

“We’ve put a lot of focus on online growth (recently) and put a pause on scaling stores because we wanted to make sure we could make them as efficent as possible,” Segal says, noting the constantly shifting retail landscape. “In the interim we’ve been really focused on making sure we could also provide a white-glove experience online.”

ADVANTAGES AND CHALLENGES

In an era when all retail is struggling to adapt to a 24/7 selling cycle, customers trained to expect steep discounts and younger shoppers who value experiences over things, Luxury Garage Sale has significant advantages but also faces unique challenges. Its focus on high-end consignment pieces from labels including Chanel, Gucci and Christian Dior aligns with modern consumers’ demand for value, regardless of Income; their increasing desire to buy fewer, better items; and an awareness of the environmental impact of buying and discarding immense amounts of fast fashion. Its customers are women in their late 20s to mid 40s.

But because 80 percent of the company’s inventory is resale, Luxury Garage Sale must deal with an overwhelming number of unique items, or SKUs—about 25,000, to be exact. (The other fifth of the brand’s pieces are new items purchased from other retail stores’ overstock.)

To make the company more efficient, it invested in internal applications that give workers in the bricks-and-mortar stores access to photos and details of all inventory, not just the 2,000 or so SKUs in each location.

Now that the technology has been upgraded, Segal and Lukasik say the time is right to focus again on expansion.

Lukasik said the conversations she had with Segal and Buchberg about the evolving retail experience and changing customer expectations left her excited about Luxury Garage Sale’s possibilities. “The minute I met Lindsay and Bri for what was supposed to be a 45-minute conversation, I knew it was something wonderful,” she says. “Two-and-a-half hours later, we were like, ‘And another thing…'”

Leaving corporate America to work at SpotHero allowed her to build a new skillset that has left her committed to working with young companies. “I feel really grateful SpotHero let me prove that I could build, not just maintain, a business,” she says. “I learned that I love building, and (fashion) is near and dear to my heart.”

The company will also eventually focus more intently on its men’s business, which is currently tiny. “Ten years ago, no one would have imagined men would wear Lululemon,” Lukasik notes. The fact that the athleisure line does brisk menswear business today, she says, shows that men are increasingly interested in fashion.

Though the high-end resale market is booming, Luxury Garage Sale faces steep competition from better-funded competitors in Silicon Valley. ThredUp, a previously online-only consignment shop based in San Francisco and focused on mid-level brands like J. Crew, recently opened its first physical store in San Marcos, Texas. It plans to open four more by year-end and also launched a luxury division, ThredUp Luxe, in September. Meanwhile, The Real Real, another San Francisco-based luxury consigner and the acknowledged market leader, has grown rapidly, reeling in $173 million in funding and high-profile celebrity partnerships.



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