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Vestiaire Collective - success story

Vestiaire Collective Halves Photo Processing Costs for Preloved Luxury Item Marketplace with remove.bg

Vestiaire Collective is the leading online marketplace to buy and sell authenticated pre-owned luxury fashion (a category distinct from “vintage.”)

The company was created in France in 2009 by a team of six people and was the first platform to create a community in which people could both buy and sell preloved luxury items; clients can be sellers or buyers–or both.

The Collective has physical warehouses in which their experts authenticate goods and control quality so buyers know they will get exactly what they ordered.

Vestiaire Collective takes care of curating products for sellers, displaying item photos on the platform against a clear white background.

Buyers can choose to receive items directly from sellers they trust.


At a glance

Vestiaire Collective needs great images of pre-loved luxury products for its community of buyers and sellers.

It was taking hours to remove backgrounds from photos of items.

The company found that remove.bg was highly recommended on three continents and signed a two-part test-to-automation contract;

Since starting to use remove.bg’s API, Vestiaire Collective has automated between 80-90% of background removal and halved the cost of the photo process of uploading each item onto the platform.

Before remove.bg, Vestiaire Collective’s background removal lead time was hours (up to half a day); after implementation, the lead time was reduced to minutes and the cost was halved.

Vestiaire Collective is the leading online marketplace to buy and sell authenticated pre-owned luxury fashion (a category distinct from “vintage.”)

The company was created in France in 2009 by a team of six people and was the first platform to create a community in which people could both buy and sell preloved luxury items; clients can be sellers or buyers–or both.

The Collective has physical warehouses in which their experts authenticate goods and control quality so buyers know they will get exactly what they ordered.

Vestiaire Collective takes care of curating products for sellers, displaying item photos on the platform against a clear white background.

Buyers can choose to receive items directly from sellers they trust.


The Challenge

Vestiaire Collective’s customers form a trusted community and the platform prides itself on a unique visual effect and consistency of images as it curates preloved items.

The first, featured photo needs to be on a white background and looking alike in order to present a curated and clean effect to potential buyers. Shoes can’t have feet in them and bags can’t be placed on tables.

Previously, Vestiaire had been trimming these inclusions with the help of a service provider using Photoshop. But the manual method was limiting the scale of products that could be listed on the platform as well as taking too long. The big danger was that a competitor would list - and sell - the item before they did. So, they were seeking both total control and speed in background removal.

The company which is tech-based first looked at developing some software in-house but, says, Operation Development & Procurement Project Manager, Jin Pepinot, the results weren’t good enough.

"We didn’t get good ROI; we couldn’t build from zero."

Instead, Pepinot talked to his network of procurement professionals and found that remove.bg had a great reputation. Recommendations came from other places, too: from the US and even from China.

Initial discussions went smoothly with each party making the necessary concessions and adaptations. remove.bg agreed to a two-part contract with the first being a period of testing and the second, longer contract being automation of the process.


The Work

remove.bg easily moved through testing into automation.

As a result of starting the second contract, Vestiaire was able to shorten its image editing workflow. Previously, sellers had uploaded images into a send box from which photo editors picked up photos, processed them and Vestiaire deposited them on the platform with the description.

"It was very manual," says Pepinot.

The fashion merchant adapted its internal curation process, particularly its technical tool, switching from FTP server solution to API connection.

Now, when the seller uploads a photo of the luxury item, it’s sent directly to remove.bg via its API and comes back in about a minute. Curators can immediately see if a photo is good enough or not.

When photos have extraneous inclusions (most frequently human body parts or clothes hangers) they are sent directly to the manual provider.


The Result

Working with remove.bg, Vestiaire Collective has been able to automate between 80-90% of the background removal process. Automated images take around a minute each to arrive with the curators. That compares with the several hours it took to process all the images manually, so a half-day of manual work is still required.

In total, remove.bg has helped the company halve the cost of the photo process of uploading each item onto the platform.

The change has helped cement customer relationships as well: because things are quicker Vestiaire Collective has been able to communicate to sellers that the upload process has improved.

Pepinot has found customer service to be responsive and gets on well with Vestiaire Collective’s designated contact.

"My commercial counterpart is always available and enthusiastic and makes an effort," he says.

In the future, remove.bg and Vestiaire Collective are hoping to increase total automation to 95% of images.

Pepinot sees automation as being particularly valuable at the moment.

"Right now with Covid," he says, "the less we are reliant on humans in the process, the stronger our system is."


"remove.bg has a great reputation. We got recommendations from France, America - even China."
Pépinot JIN
Operation & Procurement Project Manager

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