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COMMERCIAL PROPERTY | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Ladycode is making waves in the fashion industry

While the second-hand luxury market is in full swing in the West, it is yet to be recognised in most parts of Asia.

Ladycode, an versatile e-commerce platform newly founded by fashion designer Heidi Chan and nine other partners, is poised to blaze a trail for the online fashion consignment and second-hand luxury wearables models across Macau, Hong Kong and China.

With a dedicated website and an up-coming mobile app, the Macau-based e-commerce site is borne out of a desire to help women glam up themselves with a combination of services including pre-owned consignment, buying agent and made-to-order fashion. All these combined have set Ladycode apart from the mushrooming e-commerce crowd and snatch this year’s online luxury consignment services award.

The idea of Ladycode begins with a plethora of designer gowns that were gathering dust in the wardrobes of Heidi and her friends. “A lot of women should have come across the situation where you have a pile of clothes that are worn just several times and you simply don’t know what to do with them. It’d be a waste to give them away,” says Chan.

“Ladycode serves as a platform for shoppers to trade in processions that they no longer want and allows them to keep refreshing their wardrobes by paying less.”

Secondhand apparel is now a $18 billion industry that is expected to grow by around 11% each year to $33 billion by 2021.Resale items on Laydycode code are gently used and authenticated luxury goods spanning designer clothes, handbags and jewelleries with a price tag from a few thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The site will collect sellers’ processions at their homes and estimate the market prices right away.

Buy-to-order model
The site now carries a curated mix of more than 20 types of brand new and pre-owned fashion and accessories available for purchase and for rent.“For those who have occasional events but can’t afford to buy luxury gowns every time, rental could be a solution,” Chan notes.
The site also sells vintage luxury items sourced from all over the world to target the fashion savvy, as it supports individuality and adds uniqueness to the wardrobe without breaking the bank.“Vintage iconic labels, particularly branded handbags, are sought-after worldwide,” says Chan. Shopping at brick and mortar stores allows consumer to touch and feel the products. But searching for what you have in mind could be a herculean errand. Ladycode is happy to do the heavy lifting.

With fashion buyers scattered around the world, Ladycode also runs with a buy-to-order model where shoppers can request certain items and receive them in weeks. “Shoppers brief us and we’ll have our buyers to source the requested items right away from around the world. Normally it would take a week or two for simple requests like branded handbags. It may take longer for exclusive fashion items of course,” says Chan.

Luxury on point
But Ladycode doesn’t rest on laurels. To better achieve its tailored customer approach, an made-to-order service is also on the list to target the premium end of the market, starting from $20,000. Dedicated butlers will be sent to shoppers’ homes and get the body measurement for bespoke gowns and clothing.

Ladycode has deployed a group of buying agents who have a vast network of trusted sellers mainly in the UK, France and Japan for the latest luxury items, not only for the ladies but also for the dandies. “We receive a lot of requests for luxury watches. Many customers come to us for premium watches because tax regulation is high in China,” says Chan.

Products on the site are generally 20% cheaper than market price, as the shopping agent model allows the company to keep inventory levels low. “We don’t keep too many items in stock as we mainly source products for clients upon request.”

Just like many renown fashion labels, Ladycode has also branched into skincare including a branded face mask range. “It is every woman’s dream to look pretty, and this will never change. Our mission is to help women look beautiful from head to toe,” Chan continues.With four staff so far, the business is perhaps small in size, but big in ambition. The company is set to enter Hong Kong next year with mainland China in the pipeline,” says Chan. Our first customers were our friends. We started to promote the business with mainly word-of-mouth and referral; but as the business grows, we are rolling out more multi-channel marketing campaigns to widen our customer base. One drawback of online shopping is that you can’t try the items on. So we are looking at the possibility of a pop-up store down the road,” Chan concludes.

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