Ali Azizi — known to designer reselling platform Grailed as @viadeiservi — has capitalized on the community-driven digital marketplace since joining in 2014. Aziz boasts around 8,000 transactions totaling more than $1 million USD in sales, a record that has crowned him as the digital storefront’s top seller.
Between establishing a formulaic business model, successfully identifying consumers trends and ensuring designer authentication with each sale, Azizi has helped mitigate the barriers to entry into the billion-dollar industry since his career’s inception.
“There was definitely that first aha moment,” he told HYPEBEAST of his entrance into designer reselling. “I was shopping on Gilt.com for Pierre Balmain jeans. I paid $375 USD for a pair of black denim jeans. Two weeks later, I found them online for $200 USD and some change. I bought them all and resold them for $350 USD to $400 USD. I learned then that there are plenty of consumers who thought the way I did when I was shopping on Gilt.com. All I needed to do was keep using my eye to spot the best products and offer them at competitive market rates.”
When curating his resale catalog alongside his team, Azizi strictly sources and purchases items for heavily discounted prices. “At least 70%,” he said. “A lot of times we take the PDFs that we receive from our suppliers and try to gather some interest before purchasing everything. That helps us get a sense of any popular items we overlooked.”
The process of gauging interest in a particular item is rather simple; Azizi and his team post specific items and send images to various clients in order to understand the level of demand for a given product.
“If we post an item and it gets a lot of likes within a short period of time, we know to buy a lot of that item instead of just one or two,” Azizi said. “If it doesn’t garner much interest, we delete it.”
After selecting and purchasing various quantities of items that align most directly with his target consumers, Azizi processes each item into his inventory with images for both his home team and overseas personnel to post on his Grailed channel. Typically, items take roughly one to three weeks to arrive in Azizi’s hands, and once a customer places an order, the product is shipped within two to three days of payment.
With all designer resales, consumers often have the same question: how can you confirm that this piece is authentic? For Azizi, authenticity is a guarantee — though coming to that point required a bit of trial and error.
“Because we’ve kept the same supply channels for the past six to ten years, we know all of the items we buy are 100% guaranteed authentic,” he said. “Through the years, we definitely have been stiffed on a few deals from inauthentic resellers but it’s all part of the learning curve. Those losses are small relative to the gains that come from working with a good supplier.”
For those looking to follow in Azizi’s footsteps, the master reseller offers four pieces of advice:
- When you see a good deal, buy it.
- Be patient — it takes time for a business to grow.
- Try and create some competitive advantages for yourself. For example, having a tax-free PO box or a Corporation so you can offer your products at 8-10% lower than what the market has to offer.
- Lastly, attack all angles of the business if you can. Branding, marketing and designing will be great additions to any reseller business.
Check out Ali Azizi’s storefront on Grailed’s website.
Elsewhere, take a look at London-based label Drake’s newly-unveiled “Open Studio” retail space in New York.