1) Rebag created a tool to standardize the luxury bag appraisal process and provide transparency in the unregulated resale space.

WHAT HAPPENED: Rebag launched Clair, its luxury authentication platform, which stands for Comprehensive Luxury Appraisal Index for Resale—categorizes designer bags from a list of over 50 brands and 10,000 styles, evaluating the resale price based on the retail price and market fluctuations. The tool is available through an app or website and allows users to store information and be notified of price changes.

WHY IT MATTERS

  • Rebag’s system arms consumers with new information, which encourages them to view luxury bags as long-term investments. The Clair platform is a uniformed reference point for luxury bags’ market value, which democratizes this information on a global scale. This will both positively impact an individual’s choices but the luxury and resale industries as a whole. Shoppers can now recognize whether or not it’s a good time to buy or sell, which drives further liquidity in the market.
  • Up until now, authentication around designer bags has been inconsistent and unreliable. With each reseller having its own appraisal system in place, it’s been difficult for consumers to determine who to trust and what their products are worth. Luxury resale giant The RealReal has been under scrutiny for its appraisal practices after multiple complaints of the retailer selling counterfeit products. While Clair’s technology won’t prevent fakes, the platform does call attention to the valuation process and attempts to standardize the resale prices, ensuring sellers always receive the best possible price. In marketplaces, transparency drives liquidity.

2) Brooklinen launched a marketplace for direct-to-consumer brands—a new wholesale channel that benefits everyone involved.

WHAT HAPPENED: Brooklinen’s Spaces allows users to purchase any of the third-party products featured on its site while Brooklinen facilitates the transaction.

WHY IT MATTERS

  • Spaces enables Brooklinen to expand beyond its hero product categories, gain valuable consumer insight and give other direct-to-consumer brands access to a new audience. Rather than invest in more product extensions, which can have limited results for brands predicated on specific categories (see: Casper), Brooklinen can expand while maintaining its existing business. With a wider range of product categories, Brooklinen can expect its loyal customers to visit more frequently and new customers will have more items to add to their baskets.
  • Brooklinen’s Spaces represents the modern version of a multi-brand retailer. Spaces provides brands with a new audience and mitigates the inventory risks that plague traditional retailers. Spaces is built on a revenue share program, which reflects a symbiotic relationship between Brooklinen and the third-party brands, rather than the “us versus them” mentality that brands can often feel when selling into wholesale. Brands featured in Spaces will also have their products available in the Brooklinen pop-up store, which makes this multi-channel marketplace advantageous for all.

3) LVMH is bidding to buy Tiffany, a beneficial partnership for both companies, but a setback for the American luxury sector.

WHAT HAPPENED: The French luxury conglomerate offered Tiffany & Co. a takeover bid of about $120 a share, valuing the U.S. based jeweler at close to $14.5 billion. Tiffany is still evaluating LVMH’s offer.

WHY IT MATTERS

  • LVMH ownership would grant Tiffany access to financial resources and customer data that would help the brand regain relevance faster. As Tiffany continues to rebrand itself and Chinese tourism dwindles in the U.S., guidance from the world’s leading luxury player would help the iconic American jeweler revive itself from a marketing and product standpoint at home and overseas. With only five fine jewelry and watch brands in its portfolio, LVMH will likely provide Tiffany with the attention and talent it needs to become a prominent global luxury brand.
  • Tiffany would be the first American jewelry brand in LVMH’s portfolio, which could be proof that an “American LVMH” is still unlikely.  For years, entrepreneurs and companies have talked about building a luxury organization that rivals France’s luxury powerhouses (LVMH, Kering, or Richemont). The merger of Coach, Kate Spade, and Stuart Weitzman, now known as Tapestry, or Michael Kors’ acquisition of Jimmy Choo, were viable attempts, along with smaller companies like Assembled Brands and digitally-native entrants somewhat outside of the luxury field like Harry’s and Pattern Brands. However, because of luxury’s inherent attachment to French culture and given the scale existing luxury players already have, American luxury will always be forced to catch up.

4) A cannabis cafe opened in West Hollywood, signaling the increasing normalization of the drug even while the stigma remains.

WHAT HAPPENED: Lowell Farms Cafe is a hybrid dispensary and restaurant, the first of its kind to open in the U.S.

WHY IT MATTERS

  • Lowell Cafe proves that that weed is becoming more socially acceptable but not every country shares Los Angeles’ stance on the substance. California has the largest legal marijuana market in the world. But since the substance was only legalized two years ago, its black market continues to grow, which remains even bigger than the legal market. Due to high taxes and various cities denying licensed weed operators the right to set up shop, many people still find it easier to buy marijuana from illicit sources. Establishing a strong legal market will take time but complex and inconsistent laws are prohibiting the market from thriving legally. It will take more than just high tax revenues to change the mind of lawmakers who can sort this out.
  • Being the first establishment of its kind could help Lowell’s Cafe develop mainstream recognition. There are currently more than 10,000 licensed cannabis operators in California, as there is no denying that the marijuana market, both legal and illegal, is lucrative. But few brands own the space, with Med Men’s high-tech approach being the most well-known. The relaxed and personalized nature of Lowell’s Cafe, however, promotes normalization of the substance. If Lowell Cafe is successful it could help alter government regulations, making it easier for similar businesses to open in California and other more progressive states.