Fashionable Hongkongers find designer bargains online in latest trend to stay noticed
Second-hand luxury items sell for big discounts on Hula site, whose founder wants buyers and sellers to consider the environmental impact of conspicuous consumption
Once a trend takes hold in Hong Kong it becomes unstoppable, be it juice detoxes or aerial yoga. Currently dominating fashion headlines are online consignment stores such as Hula,founded by fashion industry veteran Sarah Fung, sellingsecond-hand designer goods.
Fung worked atretailer Lane Crawford and saysfriends and colleagues would complain about storing or disposing of designer items.
“The purpose behind Hula is to find new homes for pre-loved goods, but more than that we hope to change people’s mindsets. I want people to think about the shelf life of the products they are buying, how much they are spending and the effects this has on the environment. At the same time there is an opportunity to give the product a second life and it’s easy to do,” says Fung.
Fung knew she had to differentiate Hula from the outset. Finding the right products was essential, so she made the decision to accept goods only from a select network of industry insiders, including buyers, editors and stylists.
“I felt the quality was there and the editors would be the best, because these people know what they are buying. They also update their wardrobes frequently so we will have a steady stream of products,” she says.
Hula offersa service for sellers called The Butler, which covers photographing and collecting items, pricing and communicating with the buyer.Sellers also have direct access to their accounts and can monitor which items are selling.
Hula takes a commission of 30 to 35 per cent, and has pledged to donate a minimum 5 per cent of their fee to charity partners, including environmental fashion NGO Redress and Maggies Cancer Rehabilitation Centre. Sellers can choose to donate a higher percentage.
Delivery is free within Hong Kong and Macau and usually takes three days.
At the time of launch, the site offered 1,500 products from more than 350brands, including Céline, Chloe, Balenciaga, Phillip Lim, Isabel Marant and Saint Laurent. While the focus is on designer labels, Fung has also thrown in pieces from brands such as J.Crew.Prices vary, but buyers can expect to pay up to 80 per cent less than normal retail prices.
The site offers more clothing than accessories, says Fung.
“Clothing is our thing. We feel it’s easier, and items are usually in better condition and come undamaged,” she says.
A rental service is also in the works, to offer cocktail and evening gowns for special events.