Labelling vintage shopping as a sport may be a stretch, but we're all aware of the dedication and effort invested in the pursuit to find our dream items, and after a tiring endeavour it is almost euphoric to score the goal and bring home the prize. Searching for your dream vintage piece is an overwhelming process in itself. The key to successful vintage shopping is finding sites that are trustworthy and reliable, as they make the whole difference in finding or selling what you love. This is where eBay, the OG of secondhand shopping, are channeling their resources to preloved fashion, aiming to authenticate items and enhance the accessibility of vintage shopping.
eBay Australia's Head of Fashion Brooke Eichhorn has worked in the company for over twelve years, but it wasn't until she was appointed in her current role, that she decided she had a judgement call to make – to grow new fashion or focus the opportunity onto secondhand fashion to contribute to fostering the circular economy for clothing.
Here, we speak with Eichhorn on how eBay is empowering both buyers and sellers in meeting the demand for vintage fashion, plus, her top tips on how to shop designer vintage on the platform.
Tell me a little bit about your career and how you found yourself as the head of fashion at ebay Australia?
Interesting question. Well, I started my career in marketing, and digital, in London, for some fashion clients over there. And I've been at eBay the past 12 years. Wow. Firstly in fashion, starting a new fashion offering at eBay. And I then went on to work across many different parts of the eBay marketplace in business. And now 12 years on, I find myself working back in fashion at eBay. But this time in head of fashion, I had a judgement call to make, I'm like, well, I could go and grow new fashion again and double down on that. Or there's this opportunity in focusing the entire team and our resources onto pre loved and secondhand fashion to really propel the circular economy forwards. That's what I'm doing now in this role as Head of Fashion.
When did you start to notice a buying trend toward iconic vintage pieces on eBay? Were you surprised?
It wasn't a surprise. eBay is the OG of buying and selling pre-loved fashion. You know, we've always been a real ecommerce platform. But we definitely have seen the global market accelerate for pre-loved fashion. We surveyed the market and found that nearly half of Australians told us they'd increased their purchases in second-hand fashion over the past two years. Adding to that you have Gen Z and Gen Alpha who were really growing fast and are spending their dollars more sustainably.
What would you say are some of the most popular vintage designers or collections that are consistently being searched for on eBay?
It's really interesting, and this is the part I found quite staggering is that how highly searched fashion brands are on eBay. It's a really different profile in Australia where we just love brands. Zimmerman is very highly sought after, in Australia, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Scanlan and Theodore are all searched for every two minutes on eBay. A reflection of the demand for Australian brands. So, whether it's the brands I just talked to you about, or Country Road, Gorman, Spell, Alemais... they have really accelerated on eBay in popularity. We really see what's happening outside the marketplace translated onto eBay.
eBay is that OG platform for fashion, e-commerce. So we see the full spectrum of fashion being sold secondhand. Whether that is more high street, or local Australian designers and global houses, you can search for vintage Tom Ford Gucci era, and we have that whole spectrum there. We have a very large buyer base at the same time, so it's important to meet that that spectrum and demand.
What are some tips or keywords that eBay customers should use to help them find exactly what they're looking for in the vintage space of the platform?
One thing to say first, before getting into the nitty gritty is, as a marketplace tech platform, we're always constantly improving the tech, whether that be like searches are done or how you can filter using a data driven AI approach. So, we're always working on that. And fundamentally, that's what we do at eBay, we create the platform and then just empower buyers and sellers to really connect and to build communities.
When it comes to tips, definitely would start by searching the brand you're interested in and looking at the items based on that. We find that in the women's categories, there are more searches around brand names and brand terms. But in the more your stereotypical men's categories, we see more of a mix of shopping by brand and category type – like t-shirt. A lot of people come to shop pre-loved because that favourite thing they found was sold out in store, or maybe it's something they loved a year or two ago and they really want to find it again.
Last week, one of our top selling items was a Zimmerman postcard dress, and if you type in that specific search term, you're going to find that print in that range. You can get more granular by filtering by size, colour etc. What I like to do is play around with search terms, I'll add in 'Y2K' If I'm looking for, an early 2000s era. Or typing in the designer, so for instance, you could type in Virgil Abloh, Louis Vuitton and amazing selections come up that way.
Finally if there's something really specific you're looking for, we have a very smart search that is able to narrow it down for you. I was invited to a 'I love Capri' themed party, so I went in and typed 'Dolce Gabbana lemons', and the results were spot on. The search tool really goes beyond the literal terms you've entered to find you a wider offering.
We can then suggest and rank things more similar to what you like. If you see someone that's selling something that is really yyour style, your thing, follow that seller, because generally the other items they're selling within your style as well.
What are some of your favourite vintage pieces you've seen or found on the platform?
Oh, there's a lot of I've been shopping secondhand all year. I'd set myself a challenge to not buy new where it's unnecessary, so pretty much everything I've bought this year has been on eBay and secondhand. Let me see what sticks out – I would say something I wear all the time week in, week out is the Louis Vuitton Stephen Sprouse collaboration, the white graffiti bag. I also purchased an amazing Epi leather bag – it's built to hold six champagne bottles!
How does the authenticity policy work?
We launched authenticity guarantee to support both our buyers who want to make sure that they're buying the real deal, but also for the sellers and to protect them. So, you just need to look for items that have the blue tick when you're shopping on eBay. In Australia, we offer authenticity guarantee on handbags over $350 in certain brands, and there's 40 brands on the list, so it's quite comprehensive. And on sneakers over $150, so your collectible hype sneakers. The way it works is after you've bought the item, then it will be sent to our authentication facility where our authenticators verify it through a two-step process. Our authentication team is amazing, deeply knowledgeable and very passionate in these areas of handbags and sneakers. And then once we've checked it, and it's all fine, it's sent on to you. This adds one day to the process, and we express ship it to you after we've done the checks.