Vinted – Lithuania-based clothing exchange marketplace that is taking the world by storm
Vinted is a Lithuania-based clothing exchange marketplace that was founded in 2008 by two entrepreneurs. Vinted is an online marketplace for buying, selling, and exchanging new or second-hand items that have now taken the fashion world by storm. You might be thinking the same thing as I am. What can be the driving force behind the massive success of Vinted? Vinted Sports has the brand mission of “selling clothes that have more to give.” Shop for items you won’t find in stores.” Vinted started as a simple idea in 2008 and has now grown to be the biggest fashion resale platform in Europe. Not only in Europe, but Vinted has also made its mark in more than 10 countries.
Vinted now employs over 1200 people across offices in various European cities, including Berlin, Prague, Amsterdam, and Vilnius. Here is a success story on how Vinted was founded and the contributions of its founders to the company.
What is Vinted?
Vinted is an online marketplace where people can sell clothing and wardrobe accessories to one another. Vinted emphasizes used and vintage clothing. Users are also free to list new clothing for sale on the website, and Vinted is regarded as a great place to purchase uncommon or out-of-production clothing that is no longer available in traditional retail outlets.
The ultimate objective of Vinted is to make used clothing the top option for online shoppers, thereby extending the useful life of current clothing and lowering the waste associated with the global fashion industry.
History of Vinted
Justas Janauskas and Milda Mitkute (2008) were two young entrepreneurs from Lithuania who noticed a gap in the market for an online platform where people could buy, sell, and exchange secondhand clothes. Their goal was to create a sustainable way for people to refresh their wardrobes without contributing to the fast fashion industry’s negative impact on the environment.
With this vision in mind, they launched Vinted, an online marketplace for buying and selling secondhand clothes. To launch their mobile app, Vinted teamed up with Lemon Labs, an app development company with offices in Lithuania, in 2012. Before the app’s release, according to a case study by Lemon Labs, 80% of traffic came from desktop web browsing, with the remaining 20% coming from mobile web browsing. Vinted was able to see a traffic increase of up to 30% with the app within a day of its release.
The website and the app were a clear hit in Lithuania, and soon they expanded to other countries in Europe. Their mission was to create a platform that would allow people to give their clothes a second life while making it easy and affordable for others to find great fashion finds. By creating a user-friendly platform and providing a sense of community among its users, Vinted was able to quickly become popular among fashion enthusiasts who wanted to buy and sell items that were unique and sustainable.
Business Model of Vinted
Vinted’s mission is to make secondhand the number one choice worldwide. The focus at Vinted is to accelerate the transition from a take-make-waste economy towards a circular fashion economy. The circular economy is the foundation of Vinted’s sustainable business model. Instead of being worn just once and then discarded in landfills, the clothes that are once produced can be transferred from one person to another for as long as one needs to keep them.
The company has grown thrice as it was before between 2016-2018 and has garnered 22 million users sales have been higher than before and investors are ready to invest more in Vinted. Vinted’s headquarters are located in Vilnius and Lithuania. Vinted has a pre-money valuation of € 3.5 billion with 50+ million users across 15 markets such as Germany, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the UK, Canada, Portugal, Italy, and many more.
Over the years, Vinted’s founders have remained committed to their mission of promoting sustainable fashion practices, and they have also been innovative in their approach to business and have constantly tried to improve the platform’s functionality and user experience. For example, to reduce the communication gap between the sellers and buyers, they introduced the option to purchase shipping labels through the app and implemented a feature that allows the buyers and sellers to rate each other after a transaction.
The efforts of the founders have paid off, as Vinted has grown to become one of the largest online marketplaces in Europe. Vinted was valued at $1.1 billion in 2019 after securing $141 million in funding, which makes it the first Lithuanian unicorn. Vinted has also been recognized by Forbes as one of the most innovative companies in Europe.
Vinted was one step ahead in the race by being the “first mover.” They were able to impress users in Lithuania, Germany, France, and other European countries, and they did it by filling in a vacant niche. Justas Janauskas has said in interviews that Vinted was growing organically in many countries through word of mouth and that they did not do any marketing but just focused on the product. There is competition for Vinted, such as Reflaunt, The Honest Company, and others that are stepping up their game and coming for the ultimate glory. To outsmart such competition, Vinted needs to become more intentional with owning and shaping its brand marketing strategy, and I hope to write another article for Europe Entrepreneur in the future addressing the ultimate rise of Vinted as a company.