For about three years, the stigma associated with buying second-hand has been on the decline, much thanks to companies like The Real Real and Vestiaire Collective, but some customers still have that underlying fear, when buying used luxury goods, that they’re not getting the real thing and they might be investing on something fake or altered. LXR, the Canadian startup which specializes in selling pre-loved designer handbags, eliminates that fear.
Unlike companies that work with consignment models, LXR has a network of expert luxury buyers in Tokyo and Canada who search for one-of-a-kind designer handbags, authenticate them (not only to make sure they’re genuine, but also to ensure they have not been altered in any way), purchase them and then offer them to their clients.
“We own them, so we stand by them 100%,” Valerie Sorbie, LXR’s executive chair, said.
LXR’s business model is also incredibly personal and very much grounded on ethics and customer satisfaction. Because it is still a relatively small company and owns everything it sells, building close relationships with customers is essential. That is why the team is always willing to negotiate prices, accept returns and offer to consign certain items, for short periods of time, if the customer selling them is not happy with the initial purchase price LXR offers.
Sorbie said that before the COVID-19 pandemic, when most of the business was conducted at the brand’s boutiques in Canada rather than online, returning customers would often come in to chat with the sales experts about a certain vintage bag they had not been able to find. The sales experts would then inform LXR’s buyers in Asia, who would try their best to find the bag for the customer.
Those great exchanges inspired the team, amid the pandemic, to begin creating a loyalty program.
“We’re going to call it The House of LXR,” LXR Interim CEO Cam di Prata said, “and part of the benefits package for that is a bit of a concierge service so if you are looking for a very unique bag that is hard to get, we could probably find it within a certain period of time—so we will now offer that.”
It is this attention to their customers that has also pushed di Prata and Sorbie to pursue philanthropic projects on behalf of LXR. This year, the company launched various giveback campaigns, the latest which took place this Pride Month and in which a percentage of all of LXR’s revenue during a certain period went to funding the Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Youth Line—which has unfortunately been busier than ever during the pandemic. Thought the initiative, LXR shoppers paid for 600 calls to LGBTQ+ youth in need of aid.
The company also gave back on Earth Day, when they planted more than 6,000 trees via One Tree Planted, and on Mother’s Day, when they donated, through their sales, more than 2,600 meals via Nanny Angel.
During these campaigns, every customer that purchases a handbag from LXR receives their own personal donation certificate, confirming that their purchase contributed to a good cause.
“When we look at the type of organization we want to be, we focus on three main things: our employers, our customers and our communities,” di Prata said, speaking of their charitable initiatives. “For us it was a no-brainer to do that. We want to do more and more of this. We really think business needs to marry with givebacks, less for promotion and more for real impact.”
And of course, with social responsibility comes environmental responsibility.
Di Prata said the team believes there are three ways to be responsible in terms of consumption: one is to recreate products in the most eco-friendly way possible, another is to measure your carbon footprint and contribute to the betterment of the environment and the third is “to take what is out there and … give it a second, third, fourth life, and do it in a manner where you celebrate the history of the product.”
That is what the LXR team is trying to do. The team wholeheartedly appreciates the unique design iconic of fashion’s biggest names, which is why they want to celebrate it by making sure these handbags—many of them works of art—live on.
“Our goal is to put a handbag on everyone’s arm and to provide it to them in whatever way they want. We’ll do it directly—through our stores or through our website—or indirectly, through our partners,” di Prata said.
Because buying second-hand goods is more popular and celebrated among the younger generations, LXR is trending among Gen X, Y and Z. A few years ago, however, when most of the company’s sales were made in their boutiques, they pulled in mostly boomers and a bit of an older crowd.
Sorbie said what they’ve noticed since welcoming these younger shoppers is that many don’t feel “the need to own things.” Because of this, LXR is now introducing a rental option.
While the company has been around for about a decade, this year has brought on a lot of changes for them, especially in terms of adapting to new shopping habits and customers’ changing priorities. Currently, LXR is working on partnerships with various large U.S. retailers and plans to stock their shelves with pre-loved designer handbags, revolutionizing luxury in-person shopping as we know it.