Stephanie Crespin is a technology entrepreneur driving major transformation in the fashion industry.
Founder and CEO of Reflaunt – a luxury fashion re-sell service connecting consumers with retailers – Stephanie has a roadmap to a more circular future of fashion. Belgo-French and born in Japan, Stephanie spent much of her life living across Asia and Europe, before settling in Lisbon with her family.
We spoke to her about what drove her to launch Reflaunt and what she thinks the future of resale will look like, plus, she lets us in on her best second-hand purchases and her most treasured travel memories.
What was the idea behind Reflaunt? How did it begin?
While scaling my first company – a second-hand marketplace called StyleTribute – I realised that making second-hand truly efficient requires involving brands and retailers. It didn’t make sense that the same customer is buying and reselling the same product, yet going through two disconnected experiences. That’s when the idea of Reflaunt took shape. Reflaunt is all about connecting the first-hand and second-hand, and helping the industry build an integrated customer journey in which shoppers can buy and resell from the same ecosystem.
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How are resale platforms and technology changing the way people shop? What does the future of resale look like?
Luxury resale will only continue to grow and converge with retail, as customers get accustomed to buying and selling on the same platform. It won’t be long before more people will realise that investing in quality, durable products made with real craftsmanship will result in higher residual value, especially as they’ll be able to resell those products and reinvest elsewhere. Retail and resale will be mutually reinforcing, as customers are able to check the value of potential purchases on the secondary market before deciding to buy. Resale will also become more integrated into the brand’s e-commerce: as a customer you’ll receive suggestions about what to resell and when – with an indication of monetary value for the sale.
Reflaunt will underpin the infrastructure of a product’s second life, collaborating with other companies to integrate resale into the item’s digital ID or ownership certificate on the blockchain, alongside offering complementary services such as recycling, upcycling, care and repair.
What is your best second-hand purchase?
A pair of black leather Gucci boots bought for $350 brand new, and a Balenciaga dress for $280 when Nicolas Ghesquiere was the designer.
Who’s dream wardrobe would you like to get your hands on?
There are a few, but Gabriela Hearst’s is one of them.
What do you hope for the future of fashion?
The fashion industry has a vast number of issues to solve: the way we communicate about fashion; the way we sell it; the production of garments; and what happens to items once they have been sold and worn. I hope that brands and retailers will take full responsibility for the pieces they produce and sell, beyond the initial sale. Having responsibility for pieces past the sale date will empower brands and put the onus on them to give a second life to their items, ensuring they are quality pieces that pass the test of time. This will incentivise brands to invest in better quality garments and to incorporate considerations around recycling into the way they design, as well as putting more effort into ensuring customers can care for their pieces.
Let’s talk travel…what’s been your most memorable trip and why?
My most memorable trip was exploring New Zealand in a camper van for two weeks with my husband and two boys, who were three and five at the time.
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Where or what is your escape?
My three boys and my friends plus good food, wine and running.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve taken from your travels?
Don’t plan too much and leave room for the unexpected.
Tell us about the countries you’ve lived in.
I was born in Tokyo, Japan. I lived there until I was 6 and then moved to Belgium – all I can remember from when we moved is watching the continuous rain outside my window. I then lived in Paris before moving to Bangkok in my teens, which is where my love for Asia started. When I was 16, my parents sent me to boarding school in Paris. After that, I’ve lived in Brussels, the US, Bucharest and Singapore.
If I could go anywhere tomorrow I’d go to:
A chalet with friends and family to spend a week skiing.
How would you spend your ideal afternoon in your home city?
My ideal afternoon in Lisbon would be driving to Caparica Beach with my kids, joining some friends for a late lunch and enjoying Lisbon’s weather.
What’s your idea of a luxury holiday?
Visiting incredible places that are protected from waves of tourists. New Zealand was one of them, and another I’d like to visit is Bhutan.
Where do you get your holiday inspiration?
I love reading guidebooks!
If you could sit next to anyone – dead or alive – who would it be?
How do you recover from jet lag?
I don’t. I usually work on the plane or binge-watch movies so I arrive zombie-like and therefore have no difficulty sleeping. If I wake up early in the morning, I’ll enjoy a run.
Your flight’s delayed an hour and your phone’s out of battery. How do you pass the time?
I enjoy those moments. I take out my notepad, order a glass of wine and try to take a step back from the business to reflect on what we have achieved and where we’re going.
I don’t know if it’s my favourite hotel as I haven’t slept there (I could only afford a good lunch), but it’s definitely my dream hotel: Barrocal in Alentejo for its connection to nature and simply elegant decor.
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What’s on your travel playlist?
Any relaxed Jazz or French music from the 60 or 70s, such as Dalida, Brel, Gainsbourg.
What are your must-have travel picks?
Workout clothes to go for a run, red lipstick, a pair of glasses (one of my favourite accessories), earpods, a notepad to scribble my ideas and my passport.
STEPHANIE'S PACKING ESSENTIALS
FIRST THING THAT COMES TO YOUR MIND…
All my electronics and an outfit change.
Packing: roll or fold?
Inflight book or inflight film?
Music or podcasts?
Time killer on a long-haul flight?
Preventing my kids from throwing popcorn at the passengers in front! Also planning priorities for the business and myself.
Bucket list top destination?
Bhutan and Cape Town, South Africa
Best shopping gem found abroad?
Beach or City?
Ultimate holiday treat?
Complete disconnection from all electronics. Plus a good glass of wine and a sunset while enjoying nice company.
Any Questions or Tips to add?