This Fashion Industry Vet Launched a Website for Trading Your Designer Duds

Have a handful of designer items you're ready to get rid of, but don't want to lose value by consigning? This is where HauteTrader comes in handy.

The first trade-only luxury fashion marketplace allows people to accumulate points and trade their designer duds with other website users without a single dollar involved. We tried the site ourselves, and scored quite the stylish Escada blazer in top-tier condition.


Eager to learn more about how the site came to be and how to benefit most from its use, we chatted with its founder, Hope Noelle-Davenport. Keep reading for everything she had to say.

Sweety High: How did HauteTrader come to be?

Hope Noelle-Davenport: As a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, I've designed for leading labels, including Jill Stuart and Oscar de la Renta. I'm as passionate about art as I am about design and technology. My inspiration for HauteTrader found its roots in my entrepreneurial family background, as well as in my personal experience of trading designer clothes with friends.

My ambition was to create something that women will truly enjoy. Having no prior experience in tech and being a single founder, I've endured many long nights and overcame numerous development-related obstacles. Developing a concept into a reality requires focus, tenacity and a strong willingness to make sacrifices and set priorities. In lieu of continuing my bustling New York social life, I worked 18 hours a day from home and learned software development, business management, agile project methodologies and essentially everything else required to further the development of HauteTrader.


SH: How does HauteTrader stand out from luxury consignment shops?

HND: Most importantly, we are not consignment. We are an alternative to consignment and we take great pride in this. I feel that HauteTrader is especially important right now because of the emergence of online consignment marketplaces, that put low emphasis on the lifestyle behind the fashion brands, yet high emphasis on hustling goods for profit. Similar to them, we do focus on pre-owned fashions, but unlike them, our goal is not for women to have a bargain basement or thrift shop experience centered around peddling goods for the lowest price.

Instead, we want to give fashion lovers and enthusiasts a home. We are our own fashion ecosystem, which serves as a meeting place for women who love fashion and love continually switching up their gently loved pieces from their personal wardrobe while socializing with others. It's just an added perk that they're incentivized for doing what they love; living beautifully and enjoying the fashions that make them feel beautiful!

If you were to use a competitor pre-owned fashion website and list an Alexander Wang bag for which you paid $1,000, you would have to reduce it to $600 to ensure that it sells. After you pay the shipping costs and the fees charged by the resale site, you'll have sold a bag worth $1,000 for $400. At HauteTrader, you can simply trade that Alexander Wang bag for a Miu Miu bag, or shoe, or garment of your choice. And just for trading with HauteTrader, you'll also be rewarded their currency, Haute-Points. With those Haute-Points, you can immediately come back to HauteTrader and acquire another bag or item of equal value to the Alexander Wang bag you recently traded. Now instead of losing the value of your bag by selling it, you'll have a new-to-you Miu Miu and Haute-Points to use like cash and trade for another item on the site. This is a fashionista's dream come true.

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SH: Because the company is solely based online, how are items inspected for authenticity (especially in Tier 4)?

HND: Tier 4 listings such as Chanel, Gucci, Balenciaga and so forth have the option of being listed as Premium. Unlike standard listings, which ship user to user, after trade agreement, Premium items are sent to our headquarters for inspection and authentication. Once the item is inspected we then complete the trade. If we find that the items are not authentic we will expel the user from the system. HauteTrader has a no-tolerance policy for counterfeiters and the counterfeit market.


SH: Are items ever turned down from the site? Due to either being outdated or of poor quality, even if they're designer?

HND: Absolutely! Maintaining the integrity of our marketplace and the value of our currency is one of the most important aspects of our marketplace. Because our 4 tier system blankets the retail of the item, we only accept items that represent the value of the label. A tier has no value if we do make certain that the labels or items it holds do not fit its value. We ask that items are no older than 10 years, and only make exceptions for classic styles such as the Chanel flap.

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SH: Do sellers actually make money on the site or is it strictly for trading?

HND: Strictly trading. We are the first luxury designer fashion trade-only marketplace. We're not the marketplace for thrift shop hunters listing junk to turn a profit. They can happily stick to Poshmark. We are fine with this because the mission of our marketplace is centered around fashion and fashion-lovers who want to constantly revolve their wardrobe, and our currency reward is simply incentive or rather a gift for engagement. For these reasons, cash is not needed. If you're actively trading and revolving your wardrobe with us, the reward is just icing on the cake and the currency reward is of great value and you can get whatever you want the same as if it were cash.


Trying to revamp your wardrobe? Check out THESE expert tips for spring cleaning effortlessly.