Circling About

How Launching In Singapore During The Pandemic Became A Boon For HuntStreet

The women behind the online designer fashion marketplace aim to encourage more shoppers to reduce their carbon footprints by Marie Kondo-ing their wardrobes.

How Launching In Singapore During The Pandemic Became A Boon For HuntStreet
HuntStreet team Sabrina Joseph-Tan, Janice Winata, Tresor TanImage: HuntStreet

An enticing display of trendy bags, accessories and knitwear is the first thing that catches your attention. That is, if you do not get too distracted by the racks of stylish clothing from brands ranging from Alessandra Rich to Zimmermann, all thoughtfully arranged by size. Pretty outfits by popular contemporary labels such as Self-Portrait and coveted designer collaborations such as Giambattista Valli for H&M await the eagle-eyed shopper.

Just a little further in are some of the world’s most coveted luxury handbags sitting pretty on glass display cases including Hermès Birkins and Chanel flap bags. And for those with very discerning taste, there is also a selection of ultra-rare vintage pieces such as an Hermès Constance bag made in whale skin with gold hardware from the 1970s and a mini backpack from Chanel which features plated 24k gold hardware — the brand currently only uses plated 18k gold.

Welcome to fashion marketplace HuntStreet’s chic, sundrenched 2,500 sq ft retail loft, located at Henderson Road. Unlike many other online pre-loved and vintage platforms, which focus predominantly on e-commerce, HuntStreet’s founders wanted a bricks and mortar showroom to offer shoppers the thrill of the hunt.

HuntStreet’s 2,500 sq ft retail loft at Henderson Road offer shoppers the thrill of the hunt
HuntStreet’s 2,500 sq ft retail loft at Henderson Road offer shoppers the thrill of the huntImage: HuntStreet

“With consumers increasingly moving towards digitalising their lifestyle, we knew it was important — crucial, even — to ensure that the human touch anchors the HuntStreet experience for our clients. It is a real-life extension of our online offering — something a pure online marketplace lacks,” says co-founder Janice Winata.

Founded in 2015 in Indonesia, the Singapore marketplace was launched in May to cater to the growing demand for more conscious luxury options in the little red dot. “Over the years, we have seen that consumers value convenience, transparency and affordability. Today, more than ever, consumers also want to make better choices about what they buy,” says co-founder Sabrina Joseph-Tan.

Interestingly, launching in Singapore during the pandemic has been a boon for Huntstreet. Joseph-Tan observes that restricted travel coupled with widespread work from home practices has inspired many to declutter and reorganise their closets. “As a result, more clients have started contacting us to rehome their neglected or underutilised items — many of which still have their price tags on,” she adds. “In re-homing your luxury piece, you are prolonging its lifespan and clearing space in your wardrobe to potentially make room for more pieces that you actually love and may use.

While there used to be a social stigma that purchasing or selling pre-owned luxury pieces was a sign of financial problems, especially in Asia, this misconception is quickly changing, especially among the millennials and Gen Z’s. In fact, in a recent Bloomberg report, the fashion resale market is projected to be a US$40 billion industry.  

Nowadays, consumers are more mindful of their purchasing decisions. They now shop with other considerations in mind and not only care about how their clothes are made, but also how they are disposed of. These younger consumers see owning preloved and vintage fashion as not just cool, but also environmentally responsible,” says Joseph-Tan.

Coveted luxury handbags sit pretty on glass display cases at HuntStreet’s bricks and mortar showroom
Coveted luxury handbags sit pretty on glass display cases at HuntStreet’s bricks and mortar showroomImage: HuntStreet

The team also carefully curates pieces to cater to its local clientele. Winata says, “We’re not just offering the latest trendy pieces. In Singapore, we have noticed there is a demand for investment pieces.”

These include Hermès Birkin, Kelly and Constance bags, Chanel classic flap bags and special or one-off limited collaborations — such as those between high fashion designers like Balmain with H&M. “These items may often command a premium between 1.5 and up to 4 times of their original retail price in the resale market, due to the scarcity and high demand of the pieces,” says Tresor Anne Tan, HuntStreet Singapore’s chief operating officer.

Timeless pieces such as Chanel’s classic tweed jackets, especially vintage or older pieces, also tend to hold their value well, making them ideal investment pieces for savvy fashionistas.

Thanks to the WFH lifestyle, Singaporeans are also gravitating towards casual pieces. In contrast, the brand’s Indonesia clients gravitate towards standout signature items from the luxury brands.

Still, the most sought-after labels in both countries remain the same — the powerhouses such as Chanel, Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Gucci.

Based on these insights, they also actively source for cult and in-demand runway pieces from their community of sellers. These include “old Celine” ready-to-wear designed by Phoebe Philo circa 2008-2018, Chanel jackets and collectibles such as minaudieres and the current SS2021 handbag pendant necklace as well as iconic styles from notable designers who have passed away, such as Oscar de la Renta and Azzedine Alaia.

To ensure authenticity, every item listed on HuntStreet goes through a three-stage quality control and authentication process, including globally recognised authentication technology for major categories of products that are listed on the platform.

Their goal, the co-founders say, is to establish HuntStreet as the leading luxury resale marketplace in the region and to contribute to the circular economy in luxury fashion. Joseph-Tan says, “We strongly believe in prolonging the lifespan of luxury items that we have invested our money in. Buying pre-owned allows you to experience the thrill of owning something beautiful at a more pocket-friendly price — and selling the items you don’t use any more not only helps you to declutter, but also not squander your investment.

Related Stories