Last week I used the word recommerce when discussing our work at The Renewal Workshop and was asked if I could explain what I meant. The most simple version is that recommerce is another way of saying reselling. The ever helpful Wikipedia offers this definition:
"Recommerce or reverse commerce, refers to the process of selling previously owned, new or used products mainly electronic devices or media such as books, through physical or online distribution channels to companies or consumers willing to repair, if necessary, and reuse, recycle or resell them afterwards."
The term might have been coined to describe a trend happening around the reselling of technology products but it's so much bigger than that. Humans have always resold things. Think about the number of yard sales you'll drive by this weekend - on average there are 165,000 every week in the US. Craisglist and Ebay took the yard sale market online. Now, it's an even broader landscape of buying and selling whatever we want or don't want.
The economics of this secondary market are still emerging. Think about how value shifts from being old or used - and therefore worth less - to the magic moment when that age makes it antique or rare and the value skyrockets again. It's a fascinating dynamic to watch how we shift what and how we value things but the thing - the object being sought or sold - hasn't changed that much.
For us, we've chosen a particular role in the recommerce landscape. We've decided to restore clothing and textile products like bags and packs (stay tuned for some exciting news...) to increase their value and longevity. Instead of evaluating something and setting a price for it based on what is wrong with it or less than about it, we evaluate it, elevate it - and still sell it out at a steep discount.
That might sound a little crazy. Why go through that whole process instead of just marking things down and selling them for less and less like the garage sale economics that we're all used to?
Because we think that we can use the best of recommerce to make the planet healthier. By restoring value, we reduce waste. By returning things to a better condition than we received them in, they can stay in use longer. By using the principles of circular business, we can change how business is done.
That's our slice of the recommerce pie and that's your impact every time you choose to spend your resale dollars on something renewed.