Last week, Canada's largest online luxury retail boutique launched, featuring over 250 premium designer brands. Named The Upside (www.the-upside.ca), the store features new and gently used product from top brands such as Hermes, Chanel, Azzedine Alaia, Fendi, Prada and others. We spoke with founder Lauryn Zhukrovsky, who is based out of Calgary.
Ms. Zhukrovsky explained that she started the online store after recognizing a lack of luxury consignment in the market. While living in Paris several years ago, she learned the importance of becoming a smart shopper and finding luxury for less. She also had personal experience with consignment and wanted to make the process more convenient and enjoyable than what she'd experienced. Furthermore, an online store provides the ability to see individual pieces profiled and organized, as opposed to a brick-and-mortar consignment store that may be crowded and disorganized.
Ms. Zhukrovsky said: “We are raising the bar for Canadian online consignment. In light of Canada’s current economic climate, shoppers are looking for ways to spend less while still maintaining their designer style; the Upside is a conduit to the most coveted brands minus the typical price that accompanies. We are also attracting international buyers who love our selection and are drawn in by the low Canadian dollar.”
Securing premium brands through consignment can be a challenge, and Ms. Zhukrovsky explained how she has elevated the experience and simplified the process for consigners and shoppers. The company's 'white glove' service will pick up consignment orders in the Calgary area, and the company pays shipping for those consigning goods from other parts of Canada. Ms. Zhukrovsky noted that all consignment product must either be new with tags attached, or gently used. Designer product authenticity is confirmed by experts during a strict multi-point inspection system.
Ms. Zhukrovsky explained how consignment has become increasingly popular in Calgary, particularly with recent economic challenges. The Upside's consigners can earn up 70% back on the sale price, approximately 30% higher than competitors.
With the rise of fast fashion, Ms. Zhukrovsky sees consignment as a way for people to buy quality fashions in a manner that is ethical, sustainable, and economical. She already has plans to expand her site to include menswear in the new year, as The Upside currently only features women's fashions and accessories.
The site features some impressive designer fashions, footwear and bags. You can see them at: www.the-upside.ca