Got an old Birkin bag in your closet? Now, you can turn it back into cash

A new index called Clair makes it easier for fashion-preneurs to value and sell handbags, transforming designer bags into a new asset class much like sneakers or watches.

October 25, 2019

They say an Hermés bag is a better investment than gold these days. It looks like entrepreneur Charles Gorra believes it. 

On Thursday, he launched Clair AKA the Comprehensive Luxury Appraisal Index for Resale. It’s basically an algorithm that shows the Kylie Jenners of the world how much they could get for one of the 400 designer bags in their closets. 

Gorra is also the founder of Rebag — a 5-year-old resale site exclusively for luxury handbags that has tracked the value of more than 10k handbag models. 

Turns out, those values can change a lot

Remember in Econ 101 when your prof told you that consumers’ preferences can change over time? The fashion industry is no exception: Demand for bags is subject to trends, of course… but also to things like cost-sensitivity and increasing concern for climate impacts. 

So Gorra took that data from Rebag and built Clair, which will predict how bags’ values will change in the future. Every quarter, Clair will publish recommendations for what types of bags users ought to be buying and selling — just like a stock market. 

But unlike other resale sites, Rebag buys bags off their previous owners — rather than connecting buyers and sellers directly. Owning all the merchandise themselves means they own liability. And it shows that they’ve got either a) a lot of confidence in Clair to predict the value of goods in the future, or b) a lot of cash to burn. 

The demand for pre-owned goods is on the up-and-up

StockX — the resale platform originally for sneakerheads — was a pioneer in the space back in 2016 and is now worth $1B. Now, the broader resale industry, which includes companies like Poshmark, ThredUp, and The RealReal, is valued at $24B. 

Until now, items on these sites have looked a little more like a hand-me-down Lands’ End jacket — and a little less like a double-breasted Prada trench. Gorra says he wants to pull a Tan France: He wants to use the burgeoning demand for secondhand luxury goods to elevate the resale market. He’s hoping Clair will bring consumers with deeper pockets into the fold.

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