Q&A: Loïc Bocher, co-founder of Collector Square

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With the market for luxury second hand goods growing, Kaila Imada talks to Loïc Bocher, managing director and co-founder of Collector Square, on the appeal of giving new life to classic items

A second chance – a second life. That’s the guiding philosophy behind Collector Square and their Parisian showroom full of iconic, timeless luxury items. First opening its doors in 2013, Collector Square has grown into a full-blown, multi-platform enterprise. Beyond its flagship sixth arrondisement showroom, they also have an e-commerce portal which stocks a well-curated selection of luxury products, which doubles up as a leading index tool for referencing and cataloging thousands of designer luxury goods. From unique items no longer on the market to the latest fashion trends, Collector Square offers an astonishing array of secondhand luxury handbags, jewellery and watches that stand the test of time.

With the market for second hand luxury goods growing increasingly lucrative here in Hong Kong, we sat down with Loïc Bocher, managing director and co-founder of Collector Square, to talk the timeless trend of vintage luxury.

Hi Loïc! How did you first get started in this business?
The concept of Collector Square came up during a conversation with my co-founder Nicolas Orlowski who founded Artcurial, a leading French auction house on the global art market. We both agreed that the luxury market was missing a dedicated channel to re-distribute pre-owned luxury items. Secondhand shops, auction houses, secondhand websites – none of these models are really tailored for secondhand luxury goods since none of them offer all the benefits expected by customers and sellers which include competitive pricing, shipping speed, safety and absolute transparency.

How did Collector Square begin life?
Collector Square was born from a piece of paper on which we mapped out a common vision of the future secondhand luxury market. A few months later, we had a working e-commerce website, a showroom in Paris and our first orders.



Do you actively search for unique pieces or do people bring them to your attention?

We had to search for luxury goods at the beginning but soon enough, we received hundreds of estimate requests online and people started to bring us their pieces. Today, we have more than 500 requests each week of which we only select 30 percent based on their condition and desirability.

Can you explain how the LuxPrice-index© works and how you use it to establish the value of the goods in your store?

We created LuxPrice-index© to offer a reliable reference index of the secondhand luxury market. As far as we know, LuxPrice-index© is the only one of its kind in the world – it’s a database that lists the value of secondhand luxury items with more than 250,000 results from auction sales over the past 10 years, continuously processed and updated with more than 5,000 results per month. It also offers a unique universal catalogue of nearly 10,000 references from all major brands. With LuxPrice-index©, we want to introduce a safe and transparent platform for secondhand luxury goods on which we can then base our expertise and estimates.

What guidelines do you follow when deciding what to take and not take for re-sale at Collector Square?
First of all, authenticity is key. We also have strict selection standards regarding the condition of the items – on the one hand, all must be in very good to excellent condition, and they must exemplify exceptional quality and desirability. On the other hand, items can also be considered if they are iconic or in high demand.



How do you differentiate between authentic and counterfeit items?
We have three experts in Paris who are among the best in the market. Each is dedicated to their department – bags, watches and jewellery. Every single item is selected, seen and certified by our experts, so every piece on the website is certified and sold with a certificate of authenticity.

What’s the best way to care for special items or vintage pieces?
Each vintage piece requires specific care when stored at home in a closet or a drawer and it really depends on the item and material. When vintage pieces arrive at Collector Square, they are taken care of in our workshop – all watches are checked and come with a one-year warranty, jewels can be polished and bags are creamed if necessary.

What do you think makes vintage items special?
I see two categories of pre-owned luxury pieces. The first are the pieces that are quite recent and in high demand. When you find one of these below retail price and in excellent condition, it’s a real bargain for the buyers. The second are the vintage pieces that are quite rare and sometimes almost unobtainable. These pieces are particularly special because of their uniqueness.

What are some of the most unique or valuable items you’ve had the pleasure of taking in since you started Collector Square?
One of the most exceptional pieces I’ve seen is a rare vintage bracelet from the end of the 19th century in yellow gold with diamonds, stylised as a superb braided snake. We also had an amazing Hermès Birkin handbag that we sold in a few hours.

Do you think there’s a big demand for second-life luxury items in today’s retail market?
Following on the growth in demand for luxury items, the secondhand luxury market is also on an increasing trend – it’s even faster, in fact, since more and more luxury goods are kept by people at home. Consigning or selling luxury goods is no longer an exception, but has become a fundamental trend. People are now increasingly aware that these pieces have value and that this value can increase over time.

Collector Square For more information visit collectorsquare.com.

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