Do you love scouring the market for one-of-a-kind vintage pieces, but unsure of how to translate those treasured one-offs into your store’s assortment? Alexandra Steinberg, founder and CEO of Classic Coco, sources authentic vintage Chanel handbags and jewelry. What started as a direct-to-consumer brand, Classic Coco now has a robust wholesale business, largely due to her participation at Vintage@COTERIE. Steinberg elaborates, “Every Coterie Show for Classic Coco is more successful than the next, and it is because I was able to take something so foreign to buyers as vintage and translate it into the wholesale world. This combined with educating retailers on the luxury factor and sustainability of vintage is what made Classic Coco’s wholesale program so successful.” Here, we talk to Steinberg about how she works with retailers to help them add vintage to their assortments.
Fashion Frameworks: How are retailers buying Classic Coco for their stores?
Alexandra Steinberg: Classic Coco offers a full wholesale program that we provide to retailers all over the world. Due to the fact that each vintage accessory is one-of-a-kind in style, condition, and, age, the majority of orders are placed at COTERIE. Classic Coco brings over 100 authentic Chanel vintage handbags and jewelry pieces to COTERIE. This allows retailers to touch, feel, and, try on each individual accessory. Retailers then place orders at the show for the exact items that are on display.
FF: How do you work with retailers on pop-ups and trunks shows?
AS: Classic Coco has had huge success with retail trunk shows and pop-up-shops. My legal background, and strong ethical standards enables retailers to trust the product, and, in turn have excitement in promoting the event to its customers. I personally attend every single trunk show and educate customers on the importance of authenticity and Chanel vintage accessories.
In addition to brand reputation, there is extensive research and preparation involved in order to have successful trunk shows. No one wants a bad trunk show, especially when you are flying staff, and, thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise to a retailer.
Therefore, having a successful show is all about research and preparation. It is important to focus on making a list of retailers that you want to see your brand in. Be smart about your list. For instance, Classic Coco is a brand that provides vintage luxury accessories, so, a successful trunk show would entail showcasing at a luxury retailer, with similar price points.
It is also important to have a strong understanding of the target customer. Make sure the retailer’s target customer aligns with the brand’s customer. This may seem foreign when speaking in terms of vintage and contemporary retailers, but it is not! Vintage luxury and luxury retailers align perfectly.
For instance, having a vintage Chanel trunk show is an exclusive luxury event, unlike any other. The show allows retailers to offer customers an exclusive collection of one-of-a-kind vintage Chanel accessories that no one else will have.
Customers appreciate and take notice of exclusivity that the retailer is providing and really take notice of uniqueness in today’s retail environment. The uniqueness that a vintage Chanel trunk show brings, also brings, new customers by word-of-mouth marketing. Customers mark their calendar every season for the next trunk show!
FF: What are other ways retailers can buy vintage for their stores?
AS: Retailers can integrate vintage into their wholesale buying experience as it will elevate and separate the retailer from its competition. Regardless of price level, vintage accessories, such as jewelry are a great starting place as there is no fuss with size, shape or customer insecurity!
A retailer should buy smart, from trusted vintage sources, which is why retailers should buy from vendors at COTERIE as they are vetted by vintage experts and COTERIE Staff.
FF: How has COTERIE helped your brand’s wholesale business?
AS: COTERIE has helped Classic Coco’s wholesale business in that if it was not for COTERIE, Classic Coco would not have a successful wholesale division.
Prior to becoming an attorney, I managed a boutique and was also a wholesale buyer. I attended COTERIE as a buyer for many years and I used this experience in order to transition Classic Coco from B-to-C to B-to-B platform.