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One of the most exciting retail and fashion trends to emerge in recent years is the trend of streetwear. According to a report by PWC, the worldwide streetwear business was estimated to reach $185 billion in 2019, accounting for about 10% of the total global apparel and footwear market, with the US sneaker resale sector alone at $2 billion.
The local marketplace for reselling sneakers, apparel, and collectibles amounts to a large number of transactions. This is why it's no surprise that collectors are eager to track down limited-edition sneakers and spend hours online waiting for the arrival of popular products that can fetch thousands of dollars when resold.
This is where Novelship enters the picture, a homegrown marketplace for reselling sneakers and streetwear founded by Mr. Xia and co-founder Chris Xue. The duo saw an opportunity in the growing demand for streetwear and sneakers in the Asian market and sold their beloved collections to fund their start-up, which proved to be a profitable gamble. Novelship now has offices in Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Indonesia, as well as five processing centres throughout the region.
Mr. Richard Xia, Novelship's co-founder, adores one item in particular: a rare pair of Air Jordan 1s. It came in a metal suitcase, making the delivery package enormous and vulnerable to damage. However, he explained that “the suitcase forms part of the shoes’ value,” which would make the journey to its new owner rather challenging. Fortunately, Novelship's logistics partner, DHL Express, provided advice on how to pack the shoes and the unique suitcase to ensure their safety. More significantly, like with other things sold through Novelship, DHL Express delivered the shoes to the recipient securely.
When a sale is made on Novelship’s platform, the items are shipped to a processing centre where they are thoroughly inspected by brand experts. While this takes time, it is an important step in ensuring that purchasers receive genuine goods. On top of that, “we still want to give our customers the fastest delivery possible,” explained Mr. Xia. Thus, after the items are validated, they are dispatched directly to the recipient. And it is here that DHL Express excels, delivering quickly despite the complexities of the procedure.
Mr. Xia further added that “if there are any taxes or duties, they will collect them directly from the buyer, or if there’s a change of delivery address, DHL will also arrange it with the buyer. It saves us time and manpower as once the item is handed over to them, DHL handles it all.” The best thing is that DHL ensures on-time delivery to consumers who are eager to get their new sneakers!
Mr. Xia recalls sending an item out from Singapore in the afternoon prior to the COVID-19 epidemic. He exclaimed, “by the night of the second day, it was already in New York!” There was an average one to two-day extension after COVID-19, but DHL Express is still one of the fastest options when compared to everything else, explains the co-founder of Novelship.
To quote him, “There are quite a number of up-and-coming start-ups that deal with cross-border and regional shipping, but I don’t think they have the necessary infrastructure and expertise. When customers see that their items are coming from DHL, they feel much more at ease as they perceive DHL to be capable and safe.”
DHL's partnership with Novelship is more than just a service provider. It's a partner who's been there for Novelship since the beginning. The brand has had technical challenges integrating its logistics system with DHL’s since its inception. Many of their procedures, such as printing labels and entering shipping information could not be automated, putting a strain on the new start-up with limited manpower.
Luckily, Novelship had its DHL account manager come down to assist them on multiple occasions. Not only that, DHL's account manager also promised to assist the start-up with the laborious duties until they could automate the manual processes.
Moving forward, Novelship aspires to strengthen its roots in the six countries where it already operates and continues to improve its service standards in the future. “Fulfillment time is a big aspect of this, and that is where DHL Express comes in” explained Mr. Xia. He also mentioned that Novelship's goods are expensive and that customers expect them to arrive quickly. This need could only be fulfilled by DHL Express as it fits the bill perfectly when it comes to price, speed and reliability.
“When you are talking about S$500, S$10,000 pairs of shoes, you want your items to be in safe hands with a multinational company like DHL and its decades of experience with cross-border shipping,” stated Mr.Xia.
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