NEW YORK, United States — For nearly 20 years, eBay has been the dominant player in the market for vintage clothing and accessories. Now, a slew of start-ups are poised to disrupt the business of online fashion resale.
The last quarter of 2012 saw a veritable avalanche of activity in the space, including the launch of no fewer than five notable online vintage sites: Byronesque, Bib and Tuck and Nifty Thrifty in October; Vaunte and Shop Hers in November. That same month, online fashion juggernaut ASOS took a 30 percent stake in the year-old, pre-owned designer fashion site Covetique, while in December, leading luxury goods marketplace 1stdibs raised a $42 million Series B round from Index Ventures, Spark Capital and Benchmark.
So why the sudden surge of activity?
“I think that eBay is obviously a sensationally successful marketplace in business, but less and less specialised as a result of that,” said Danny Rimer, a general partner at Index Ventures, who now sits on the board of directors of 1stdibs. “Smaller, more specific subsegments don’t get the type of following or focus that they need. All these elements could be on eBay, but the buyer is ...