California-based outdoor clothing giant Patagonia has sold its Worn Wear online for the past two years. Now it wants to see if a brick and mortar store will help the company capture more of the growing market for second-hand clothing.
“We want our customers to know that the best jacket you can buy for the planet is one that already exists,” said Phil Graves, head of corporate development for Patagonia.
That statement may seem like anathema for a retail company that depends on selling pricey new clothing. But Graves said there’s a business logic. The market for expensive high-end clothing is booming. The Boulder store will be an experiment that could lead to other such outlets across the country.
“It’s a totally different model than selling new apparel,” Graves said. “With Boulder and Colorado it’s a great place where people almost universally love the outdoors, love getting our gear outdoors and using it.”
Here’s how the system works: Patagonia cleans all used clothing with an environmentally friendly product, and all garments are inspected three times for quality. Prices range from $29 shirts to $349 technical jackets. Owners get a Patagonia gift card in exchange for trading in their sweatshirts, coats and other clothing.
So why would anyone pay $40 for a used Patagonia fleece when they can get a used generic fleece for cheaper? According to the resale company thred-UP, consumers want to own used Patagonia gear but don't want to pay top dollar. Thred-UP expects this market to reach more than $50 billion by 2023.
The Boulder store, which is located at 1212 Pearl Street, will be open through the end of February.