The last 18 months have been tough for a lot of businesses, but for Los-Angeles-based streetwear reseller Ali Azizi, the pandemic has been very good.
Azizi is a business himself, as a power seller who sells more than $1 million worth of merchandise through platforms like Grailed and StockX every year. With resale’s huge boost since the pandemic began, sellers like Azizi are gaining new customers, more revenue and even traction with brands.
“Covid was a huge catalyst for the resale industry,” Azizi said. The category grew by 25% in 2020. “It was a combination of people not wanting to shop in stores, people wanting nice things at a better price and brands like Saint Laurent having trouble getting into actual stores [when retailers canceled orders].”
Azizi said he went from doing around $800,000 in annual sales pre-Covid to doing $1.2 million a year since its start. 2021 was his best sales year since he became a seller in 2014. Another reseller shares Azizi’s accounts — on Grailed, the account is labeled @viadeiservi — and makes $1 million a year, as well. In total, the accounts drive more than $2 million annually. Both Grailed and StockX take around a 9% cut from each sale, so the sellers’ actual earnings are less than the amounts stated.
The biggest change he’s seen to his business is that he’s increasingly working directly with brands and fashion distributors. During the pandemic, some brands struggled to get their products in department stores, as wholesale orders were canceled, Azizi said. Resellers like him were able to strike up lucrative deals with some of those brands, especially those that don’t heavily advertise.
Azizi said that, in the last year, he’s also struck up partnerships with Bottega Veneta, Levi’s, Stussy and Acne, though he stopped working with Acne in the summer when the brand moved its factory. Some of those partnerships are with the brands directly, while others are with their manufacturers or distributors. About 40% of the partnerships and supply are facilitated by Azizi’s partner, who is based in Italy where brands like Bottega and Stussy have factories. Azizi’s partner has established relationships with factories there and uses those relationships to connect with brands.
Power sellers like Azizi are incredibly important for resale platforms. Around 60% of GOAT’s sellers are one-time sellers, but more than half of its total sales come from a very small number of power sellers who do millions of dollars in business, according to Matt Cohen, vp of business development at GOAT. And new tools have launched to aid those sellers. List Perfectly, a tool that lets resellers organize listings on several different resale sites via a single dashboard, is one such company founded this year.
“When you have a business operating at a certain size, it can get really unwieldy,” said Clara Albornoz, co-CEO of List Perfectly. “There have always been tools for e-commerce sellers, like Shopify, but we wanted to make something for resellers.”
Azizi said that selling through multiple platforms has helped him scale up his business. With the rise of both tools at the ready and interest in resale, power sellers like Azizi are set to play a key role in the industry.