Sneaker and apparel collectible culture has naturally intertwined with the world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and circular resale models, bringing together already sizable groups into one enlarged like-minded community. It is this vast community that online marketplace The Edit LDN is hoping to continue building on, as it looks to spread its reach internationally, online and in the metaverse.
The man behind the London-based company, CEO and founder Moses Rashid, a self-proclaimed ‘sneakerhead’, said that he initially launched the business as he noticed that the purchasing experience of high-end products often didn’t match their premium positioning. “I simply built a platform to service my own needs and the way I like to shop. Essentially purchasing through a premium retail environment twinned with speed and service,” Rashid said as he spoke to FashionUnited on The Edit’s ongoing US expansion and soon-to-be-launched resale platform.
Since he founded the company towards the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020, Rashid has set out on shaping this high-end shopping experience through a marketplace that sells limited edition clothing and sneakers. As it has developed, The Edit has incorporated an array of features that have helped it cement its position in the sector. This includes speedy delivery options that enable for products to be delivered in one to five working days, or even on the same day – a feature it just launched two months ago to advance its logistics offer. Its user experience also extends to personal styling options and premium partnerships that enable the site to feature extremely rare, in-demand products via celebrity or high-level clientele.
The Edit’s most recent addition to its partnership portfolio is with National Football League (NFL) star Xavier McKinney, the captain of the New York Giants, marking the marketplace’s first US ambassador. It comes as Rashid looks to expand horizons in the US, a market that already accounts for 20 percent of its sales. Plans revolve around launching a US-based headquarters in either Los Angeles or New York next year, with an additional retail location to potentially be set up in Las Vegas to help in driving a presence in the Californian market. “The idea is about how we REIT isolate, in this case, a State and how we could effectively own that State from a sneaker resale point of view,” Rashid said, adding that the company had also been in talks with various NFL and National Basketball Association (NBA) teams for other possible State-focused partnerships.
Much of The Edit’s success has been built upon such prestigious relationships that Rashid has established with notable cultural figures in fashion, entertainment and sports industries. Among his myriad of contacts, the entrepreneur counts professional athletes, rappers and actors as part of his network, for whom he dedicates much of the space in his schedule to setting up meetings and assisting.
The Edit Pre-Loved prepares for launch as an accessible circular model
Despite The Edit’s position in the premium market, Rashid also sees the need to make limited products more accessible, with his plans for further globalisation to be boosted by this factor. To push this, The Edit will be launching a pre-loved marketplace on November 3, a year ahead of its initial plan, which will aim to act as a trusted source offering a seamless experience when purchasing second hand products.
‘The Edit Pre-Loved’ will contain a curated selection of products that are offered directly to consumers from resellers and retailers to a defined audience. “There’s a huge audience that are willing to buy pre-loved items for various reasons, whether it be price point or to get access to products that sold out years ago,” Rashid noted. “As a business, we are thinking about how we explore the whole market, because not many of our competitors are doing this. This is the type of stuff that we actually do care about.”
Through the platform, The Edit will incentivise resellers and investors by offering credit and donations to sustainable initiatives for each sale made. Rashid expanded on this point by stating: “You hone in on three things; service and product curation, which is why people come to us, our premium global positioning in the market from an investor standpoint, and our sales channel, which is eco-conscious and consists of celebrity clientele.”
Metaverse and Web3 opens doors for wider community
Another world The Edit is beginning to venture into is that of Web3, a space that already resonates with the marketplace’s culturally-centred, digital-savvy customer group. Rashid said that, as more and more customers acquired cryptocurrency he noticed they were faced with an issue of how to spend it. In response, The Edit became among the first of its kind to accept crypto via various retail channels.
This included the company’s first metaverse-based initiative, which saw it launch into the virtual world through a partnership with Blocktopia. While the relationship is set to expand even further next year, The Edit currently allows shoppers to purchase NFTs and digital sneakers through the virtual world while also receiving the physical product itself.
Rashid said that he became aware of The Edit’s consumer base and blockchain interrelation when early adopters of cryptocurrency and NFTs came into the marketplace’s community as investors, displaying the parallels between digital assets and sneakers, both of which can fluctuate in value. “You get two types of customers. One that simply purchases products out of interest – that’s the bulk of our customers. Then you have this whole other raft of people who purchase the sneaker to invest, they’ll put it in a vault for a year and then sell it for a higher price point,” Rashid explained on The Edit’s typical consumer base.
“In my opinion, NFTs have more real value created if you’re attaching the physical product as well,” he continued. “We are thinking about how to grow this experience beyond just PR. How could we use the blockchain to support authentication in resale, for example? It’s a balance of trying to understand more about ourselves, but from a commercial perspective. How do we make this space have real value for our customers?”
Exclusive services cater to premium audience
A further part of its effort to cater to premium customers comes in the form of The Edit’s subscription model, Locker Room, which is set to be unveiled next month. The offer will allow members to gain pre-access to sneakers, discounts on products and free shipping. The concept looks to further drive home the desired premium shopping experience, with additional added value to be made through exclusive events for members.
As The Edit continues to expand through markets and metaverses, Rashid said it has also broadened its consumer demographic, with a customer base that is now sitting at around 50 percent female. While its high-end positioning typically brings in a more affluent buyer, Rashid said he has seen shoppers as young as 14 take to the platform to purchase high-end products.
This comes as The Edit continues to welcome new partners in its community, like the London-based YouTube group SideMen, who have recently been added to its network. The collective, which counts popular content creator KSI among its members, has worked with The Edit on product launches and curations, once again bringing in a new audience via an expanded social network.
Physical retail paves way for new consumer bases
This has also likely been achieved through various pop-up activations, one of which saw The Edit enter Harrods through a football-focused concession. When asked how the approach to physical retail differed from online, Rashid said: “It needs to be more considered for the audience, because you’ve got a hundred new customers to appeal to and not the thousands that you would have online. Harrods’ customers are largely international and they are there to actually buy.”
To engage with this new customer, Rashid struck up a deal with Man City’s Erling Haaland to showcase the footballer’s golden boots in its concession. Shoppers could then take a selfie with the shoes to be in with a chance of winning tickets to one of the club’s games. “It’s this idea of creating trust, engaging with your customers in the community and coming up with fun ways to bring people into a store and then execute the strategy digitally too,” Rashid explained.
This strategy is something that The Edit will also be applying to its US expansion, firstly with its Las Vegas store opening and then potentially onto a further five partnerships with other retail locations in the region, all of which could be established by the end of next year.
Speaking on US consumers, Rashid acknowledged that they “know sneaker culture”, adding: “It’s inherent and built into the fabric of the US because of the NFL and NBA. Our challenge with the customers there is helping them to feel comfortable purchasing through a UK-based store, and letting them know that a product can actually be there 24 hours after they have purchased it. Other than that, while the US is a huge place and there’s market saturation, the opportunity we see is that there are lots of independent sneaker stores, but very few global players. When you look at the positioning of our brand versus a traditional marketplace, you know we are coming in hot. We have an isolated area of the market that other people haven’t been able to get to and one part of that is because of our exclusive, high-demand products. We make the inaccessible accessible through an interface that you are familiar with. We tell you when you are going to get the product and then we’ll back it up with great customer service.”
Past growth and future plans
As Rashid continued speaking on The Edit’s vast array of plans and strategies, he noted how quick the marketplace has grown since its formation at the beginning of the pandemic. The company has outgrown from the entrepreneur’s bedroom to becoming a global player in sneaker culture in just over two years, as it tackles a market that is forecasted to grow 22 billion dollars in eight years.
Its ongoing expansion plans are backed by a significant three million pound funding round which has helped the company make a number of key hires, tie up each division of the business and push digital marketing on a global level. Funding has also gone into its London headquarters, which houses a studio, on-site warehousing, a workspace and proprietary technology, an element it continues to invest in to further automate its operations.
For Rashid, The Edit’s next steps are to onboard US brands onto its UK platform, giving independents access to a global audience, while further developing its network of celebrity partners. His vision also goes beyond the US, with potential footholds in two other territories; Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands. While he could not speak in detail on the exact plans, Rashid noted that conversations were currently revolving around launching via a notable Dutch department store chain and alongside a number of brand partners, which would make the country its third largest market.
However, among the slew of expansion plans, for Rashid the people behind The Edit are the most important factor. “It is all about how we push maximum efficiency, automation and expansion into the business, all of which is driven by our team. There is this real collective culture, with people that have the same vision and mission. Even after just two and a half years, if you meet anybody on our team, they will tell you we are a global business,” he concluded.