Stadium Goods on Wednesday announced it has joined Farfetch's e-commerce marketplace, solidifying its place in the luxury market, the companies said in an email to Retail Dive.
Stadium Goods' collector sneakers will be part of a new Farfetch sneaker hub, presented alongside the international e-commerce site's other prominent luxury brands, according to the release.
In February, LVMH Luxury Ventures, an arm of luxury conglomerate LVMH established a year ago to invest in small fashion, cosmetics and accessories companies, invested an undisclosed amount in the sneaker and apparel marketplace. Before that, Stadium Goods had raised $5.6 million to date, the company told Retail Dive in an email.
Stadium Goods co-founders John McPheters and Jed Stiller together have experience in e-commerce, venture capital and hospitality, which they said at their 2015 debut has enabled them to forge an "impeccable online marketplace." The company, which has partnered with Alibaba, Amazon, eBay and Zalando, also runs a store in New York City's Soho neighborhood.
The new Farfetch deal, like the LVMH investment, distinguishes Stadium Goods in what has been a rarified and hungry market. And a competitive one. Earlier this year, digital sneaker marketplace GOAT announced a merger with sneaker consignment retailer Flight Club, along with a new funding round of $60 million. Online sneaker marketplace StockX also attracted $6 million in funding from an array of celebrity investors a year ago.
In a statement emailed to Retail Dive Wednesday, Farfetch founder and CEO José Neves said that Stadium Goods is the type of partner he's looking for, "with the coolest, most unique range of product."
"We know our customers in every corner of the globe really want access to limited-edition sneakers that cannot be found in their own countries," he said.
At the company's New York store last month, Stiller told Retail Dive that the retailer is there for everyone, considering that most styles available at a store like Foot Locker can also be found at Stadium Goods. But Stadium Goods diligently acquires and authenticates a range of rare and collectable sneakers, priced at thousands of dollars in some cases, that are hard to find elsewhere. Although he believes that the growth of athleisure styles, which itself is enabled by the fact that people can wear sneakers to work these days, has been a boon to Stadium Goods, it's those collectables that allow the company to hold a position in the luxury market.
"We're the epicenter of what's hot," he said, noting that the company uses a "very careful, painstaking" 10-point verification process that includes hand inspection for authenticity and condition, turning down about 10%-15% of what comes in. "We're presenting and curating what's hot."
But there may not be enough room in the lofty end of the sneaker market, making Stadium Goods' deals with LVMH and Farfetch all the more important.
"The resale market has been growing very quickly but there are signs of a slowdown," Matt Powell, NPD group vice president and senior industry advisor of sports, told Retail Dive Wednesday. "Like any collectables market, it is driven by limited supply. As brands have increased supply the resale multiple has come down."