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QUICKFIRE Q&A: Rebag CEO Charles Gorra explains the pre-owned handbag specialist’s move into luxury watches

Charles Gorra rebag

Rebag is a specialist in pre-owned luxury handbags and accessories that is today making a move into premium watch trading. The business, which was launched in 2014, is best known for buying and selling the world’s most desirable handbags, and believes watches and fine jewelry are a natural extension, as the company’s chief executive Charles Gorra explains.

WatchPro: What is unique about what Rebag brings to what is a hugely competitive market for pre-owned luxury watches?

Charles Gorra: Over the past 6 years, we have developed best-in-class expertise when it comes to luxury handbags resale. Sellers have become familiar with our model that offers simplicity, transparency, and immediacy as we buy all items outright with quick and upfront payment.

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During this time, we have developed unique customer relationships and access to closets. The expansion into watches follows our successful entry into the accessories market earlier this year. Watch collectors will now benefit from the full suite of Rebag tools. In particular, our Infinity Exchange program, wherein any item purchased at Rebag can be exchanged within 12 months for site credit worth 70-80% of its purchase price, will allow watch enthusiasts to try out different styles.

Our CLAIR automated pricing software will also enable further transparency in the watch market.

WatchPro: Is it your aim to sell pre-owned watches that have been authenticated and refurbished back to mint condition? Is there a standard or checklist that will dictate the watches you will buy and sell, or are you open to any brand in any condition?

Charles Gorra: At launch, we will start purchasing watches for all designers that were previously on our accepted list. We also specifically extended the list to include the main luxury watches brands like Rolex, Cartier, Patek Phillipe, Hublot, IWC.

When it comes to condition, just like in handbags, we are very rigorous with the type of items we can purchase. While we do accept a range of conditions, we encourage sellers to review our detailed guidelines.

WatchPro: Will you have your own watchmakers and service centre, or will this be outsourced. If outsourced, to who?

Charles Gorra: Rebag ambitions to serve luxury resale customers across the full spectrum of their needs. As such we are investing in the necessary resources. Our platform will be equipped with the required infrastructure to deliver a premium service to all watch lovers.

WatchPro: How important are your physical stores? Is your business predominantly done in the cities where you have stores? Are you opening more stores in the coming year?

Charles Gorra: Rebag is first and foremost a digitally native company. We opened our first brick and mortar store in 2017, and currently operate 6 stores in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles. The omnichannel strategy is well suited to Rebag as we are able to bring the online experience to life.

In particular, in stores we can offer our 1 hour selling process. For watches, we will be able to provide quotes in all our stores within an hour, and payment will be issued within one week after full verification. We are currently focusing primarily on our existing footprint but remain opportunistic in retail overall.

WatchPro: Specialists have typically out performed generalists when it comes to watches. Is this a concern, or would you say your specialisms are ideally suited to a category like watches?

Charles Gorra: Rebag was launched in 2014 with the goal to serve the luxury resale market. We very much understand the need for category expertise. This is why during 6 years we focused on one category only and were able to develop world-class tools and infrastructure along the way. While watches certainly have their own specificities, they also share many common characteristics with handbags.

These are both desirable high-value items, from some of the most iconic luxury brands, and where premium service is critical. We do believe that over time watch enthusiasts will benefit from our crafty approach to luxury resale.

WatchPro: How would you describe 2020 from a business perspective given the huge challenges we have all faced?

Charles Gorra: Although the pandemic has affected all of the fashion industry, it has also reinforced and accelerated the secular trends towards resale and the digitalization of the economy. Overall, Rebag has been able to adapt quickly and diligently, and 2020 has been a strong year for us so far. Now, we are excited to launch into watches and fine jewelry as we head into the holiday season, and ultimately end 2020 on a positive note.

 

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Rob Corder

The author Rob Corder