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Brief Published: 17 Jun 2015

Byronesque App: Super-Service Vintage E-tail

Byronesque's 'Personal Shopper' app

Affirming the rise in concierge culture and the growing desire for personalised retail experiences, Byronesque – a luxury US online marketplace for vintage fashion and accessories – has launched a free app. Developed by New York-based creative agency The Brooklyn Brothers, the app is conceived to help users source rare and hard-to-find pre-owned designer pieces.

The Byronesque Personal Shopper service leverages the company's global network of vintage boutiques and private collectors by connecting users to a dedicated team of personal assistants who seek out coveted goods. Users can request items via a visual feed of inspirational images, dubbed Archive, depicting vintage items from the late 1970s to the late 90s, or make a more specific inquiry by uploading a photo of an item they would like. All communications are sent via a simple messaging interface within the app.

Enriching the service with additional background information, users can view extra content on each item, including the designer and a brief description of the cultural relevance of the piece. They can then save items to a 'personal feed' for later consideration, or click a 'request' button to arrange a search by a team member. For more on the value of concepts that allow consumers to stash items for review, see Start-Pause-Go: Retail in Hyper-Flow in our Roaming Retail Industry Trend.

The app also includes an in-built tagging function, enabling those uploading their own images to apply additional info such as the designer name, when the piece was made and the size required. Once an item or something similar has been located, a message is sent via the app, and transactions are completed over the phone (Byronesque operates a no-refund policy, requiring an extra safeguard at point of purchase).

The service highlights a growing consumer interest in pre-owned luxury goods. A report by US management consultancy Bain & Company states the market for second-hand luxury apparel, accessories, watches and jewellery was estimated at $19bn in 2014. Leather goods and clothing account for $4bn of that market, and the segment is growing faster than the luxury industry overall, according to American media firm Bloomberg. In addition, the US-based Association of Resale Specialists (Narts) reported a 7% increase in the number of second-hand stores opening in the US between 2012-14.

The resales market isn't only focused on traditional luxury items. Sportswear, too, is a key area for cult-status vintage pieces, surfacing a wealth of interesting retail concepts. See Resales: Air Jordan Sneaker Shrine and Retail Footwear Focus (Sneaker Upgrade: Luring Athleisure Fans) for more.

For more on the value of retail resales, including opportunities for the luxury sector, see Recommerce: How to Exploit It and Covetique: Luxury Recommerce.

For more on how brands are leveraging concierge-style services to provide super service, see Virtual Added Value, part of our New-Era Luxury Macro Trend, and Operator App Taps Concierge Culture. See also The Streamlined Sell in our Roaming Retail Industry Trend.