Inside Fashionphile’s Interactive 60,000 Square-foot Digs in Chelsea’s Historic Starrett-Lehigh Building

·3 min read

Fashionphile’s big-time New York showroom and operations center is open for business this Friday.

Clocking in at 60,000 square feet in New York’s historic Starrett-Lehigh Building in West Chelsea, the nearly $4 million facility is double the size of the reseller’s Carlsbad, California, headquarters and adds 150 jobs across roles. Already, the facility houses 15,000 items with more on the way. The building complements the company’s 105,000-square-foot distribution center in Moonachie, New Jersey, as well as its Madison Avenue showroom.

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Calling New York the “mouthpiece” for fashion, Fashionphile’s president and founder Sarah Davis is excited to grow resale in a big way. Since 1999, the company has relied on word-of-mouth appeal and its growing expertise. “We didn’t have a marketing department until 2012,” which Davis muses is the secret to the company’s profitability, raking in more than $450 million in GMV in 2021.

The secret to success isn’t TV spots and social media, according to Davis; “We spend less than 5 percent of our budget on marketing. We have to be smart about how we do it.”

A look at inventory at Fashionphile’s Chelsea showroom and authentication center.
A look at inventory at Fashionphile’s Chelsea showroom and authentication center.

Fashionphile’s customer base is split 50-50 between the East Coast and West Coast, but by 2023, that number will shift toward East Coast spenders. Already, Davis said 78 percent of people who come into the Carlsbad location buy something, adding “that’s an insane number for retail,” when it comes to conversion. She hopes to see a similar pickup in Chelsea.

Designed to be interactive, Fashionphile customers enter through the lobby and can check in to one of eight staffed procurement studios to the left of the main entry. To get up close and personal with the reseller’s operations or simply see a bag IRL before purchase, guests hang a right behind the front desk and follow the rainbow wall of handbag decals to an open foyer built for wining and dining ⁠— and shopping. Christie’s New York will help christen the space, jointly celebrating the collaborative “New York Edit” handbag auction (which launched Thursday) and Fashionphile’s welcome.

Check in at Fashionphile’s Chelsea showroom and authentication center at the mauve front desk to visit one of eight selling studios.
Check in at Fashionphile’s Chelsea showroom and authentication center at the mauve front desk to visit one of eight selling studios.

The spacious, light-filled East Coast headquarters overlooks the Hudson with operations arranged in a semi-circle tracing inventory, authentication, photography, fine jewelry and “handbag spas” where diamonds are tightened, batteries replaced, handbags conditioned and any cash lingering in procured handbag pockets is rescued if under $2. Per Fashionphile’s policy, the sum is enough to not be missed. (Over $2 and Fashionphile ships the bag back to the customer for good measure).

At every step of the process, peekaboo windows let customers catch a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes process, interacting with QR codes for guided tours.

One special feature meant for drawing gasps amid the periphery of rare Birkins and Chanel Flaps is the automated handbag carousel that curves out from the inventory backroom or “Fashionphile Cage.” At the request of an anticipating client, the carousel spits out their handbag selection for closer inspection.

With fine watches as one of Fashionphile’s fastest growing categories, there’s no shortage of product to inspect in great lengths at the new facility.

Guests can get a guided tour at the scan of a QR code or venture through themselves seeing peeks into photo studios, handbag spas and authentication.
Guests can get a guided tour at the scan of a QR code or venture through themselves seeing peeks into photo studios, handbag spas and authentication.

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