An established designer fashion resale business is set to move into The Business Village @BarnsleyBIC early in the new year.
Charlotte Jones set up Love Luxe three years ago after turning her passion for Louboutin shoes into a successful online business that specialises in buying and selling unworn and unwanted shoes at a fraction of the retail price.
The idea for the company came after she wore the heels of a pair that her husband had bought her into the ground and realised they were so battered she needed a new pair.
But she didn't want to pay the substantial price tag for new ones and was worried getting them from eBay would mean she ended up with fakes.
“It all started as hobby really,” she said. “I saw a pair of Louboutin shoes on eBay going cheap, bought them and then put them back up for sale myself and made £100 profit instantly.
“I started looking through the internet and bought a few more pairs and sold them for profit. I realised at this point that there was a market out there for buying and selling luxury goods.
“I was making more money from it than I was from my job so I gave up working in the call centre and designed a proper website so that I could put more effort into it.”
Love Luxe is a resale site meaning that private sellers contact Charlotte and offer her unwanted and often unworn gifts which she then purchases and sells on for a profit.
As well as designer shoes, Love Luxe also sells clothing, bags, sunglasses and other accessories from renowned designers including Chanel, Gucci, Burberry and Alexander McQueen.
But her passion is Louboutin shoes, and she has taught herself how to spot an authentic pair from a fake. For other items that she sells Charlotte uses a piece of equipment called Entrupy, which uses artificial intelligence to distinguish whether or not an item is authentic.
It does this by taking microscopic images of many elements within the handbag and then uses machine learning algorithms to analyse the authenticity.
Due to her business’ ongoing success, Charlotte is set to move into the new building at The Business Village @BarnsleyBIC in January, having outgrown her office space at home.
She added: “I have customers who want to come and try items on and buy from me in person, which is not really practical when you’re at home.
“I went and had a look at the new building and knew instantly that it was just what I was after. It’s modern and being able to use one of the two units that I’m having as a showroom and the other as an office means that I can give the customer a better shopping experience.
“I know that the business development support and networking opportunities that are available there will also be invaluable going forward.”
Unlike many companies, Love Luxe has barely been affected by two lockdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and Charlotte has actually had her most successful summer since launching.
She added: “When it first all kicked off sales were really quiet for the first month or so as people were a bit unsure about what was going on.
“But since then we have probably had a better few months than usual because summer is usually quite a quiet time. I have so many regular customers who are buying more because they aren’t having to pay a holiday off this year.
“The UK is my main customer base, but I’ve also been shipping items across Europe and to South Africa and America.”
The Business Village business development manager Kevin Steel said: “It’s highly rewarding to see exciting and innovative businesses like Charlotte’s take shape and flourish and take the step up from the “#WFH” environment. We’re all tremendously excited to see Charlotte moving into our new building and are looking forward to helping her grow Love Luxe even more in the coming years.”
Site visit: Love Luxe owner Charlotte Jones checks out progress of her new office at The Business Village.