For a program called "Madewell Archive," Madewell and apparel resale e-retailer ThredUp have teamed up to offer secondhand jeans in select stores, for $50 per pair, ThredUp told Retail Dive in an email.
The used denim is sold only at Madewell stores in Austin, Chicago, Nashville and New York City, and will be available at a Glendale, California, store Nov. 1, the spokesperson said. At the moment, ThredUp customers aren't able to drop off clothes to sell or pick up items they've bought through the site, but the spokesperson said, "This partnership is ongoing so there may be future iterations down the road."
Madewell is essentially shopping at ThredUp for "favorite past styles, which are rerouted from thredUP's inventory," ThredUp said. Madewell is "selecting, washing and refurbishing the secondhand Madewell denim."
The price point Madewell has chosen could be an attraction in stores, considering that jean prices are often over $100 at the brand (with a pair of leather skinny jeans reaching a high of nearly $400). A pair of Madewell women's jeans on sale at ThredUp at press time were going for $26.
More broadly, Madewell can't afford to miss out on the current enthusiasm for secondhand sales, considering the pressure the brand is under to accelerate its growth. In its most recent quarter, J. Crew Group reported that revenues at its namesake brand J. Crew fell 7% to $399.1 million from $428.9 million a year ago, as Madewell sales grew 15% to $139.7 million from $121.7 million.
While the denim-oriented brand remains much smaller, the company has worked to grow it swiftly, opening stores nationally at a steady clip. Ready or not, the company has also plotted a simultaneous spinoff and initial public offering of its better-performing banner.
In tying up with ThredUp, Madewell is joining a slew of other retailers, including Macy's and J.C. Penney, efforts that ThredUp co-founder and CTO Chris Homer recently characterized as plays to boost footfall. In a statement to Retail Dive, a ThredUp spokesperson said the partnership builds on ongoing reuse and recycling programs.
"Madewell wanted to take their sustainability efforts to the next level and expand their denim recycling program — we are so excited to power this new resale experience for them and continue to promote a more circular fashion future," a spokesperson said in a statement.
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect the correct company spokesperson.