How a consignment store sold a Kanye West ‘Donda’ vest for $ 20,000
It had already been a lightning week for Justin Reed. He had just launched a new e-commerce website for his consignment business, and making sure everything went smoothly kept him busy. Then a former customer reached out on behalf of a friend – they had something Reed might be interested in selling. It was a “Donda” vest by Kanye West, one of the second most notable fashion pieces. Donda listening evening at the Mercedes-Benz stadium. It was also one of the rarest vests of the night: durable, hand painted and signed by the ultra-famous rapper himself. In fact, this particular vest was a gift from West to a security guard who was there – and if the price was right, he was willing to part with it.
“I had a phone call with him, and he was telling me how he got to Atlanta with a rapper he worked with and how he was at the event for about a week,” Reed said. “At first he was quite reluctant to send me the vest here in Los Angeles. I get it, he doesn’t know me.” It was business as usual for Reed: as a consignee he used to send FedEx prepaid couriers across the country and sell high value items like this. But he also really wanted to make this deal come to fruition. He offered to send a New York-based employee to pick up the vest in person and provide a cash advance as a token of good faith. The client agreed, and the vest was soon on its way to Reed’s studio in LA.
Reed sighed in relief when he finally had the vest in his possession, but now came the most crucial part: actually selling it. First, he had to figure out what price he should sell it for. Kanye anything orders a high rate in the open market, but it was a single item – it wasn’t like he could check StockX’s comparative sales and figure out the median price. “Initially, I was going to price it around $ 10,000. Maybe a little more,” says Reed. After taking the photos for his website, he decided to post them on his Instagram and then things took off.
The reposts ricocheted on Instagram, coming from various West fan accounts and streetwear blogs, all boosted by the algorithm. Before he knew it, Reed had thousands of new Instagram followers and saw an increase in traffic to his website. Reed says he was even approached by someone from one of the big auction houses. (Not a huge surprise there, as in recent years old auction houses have been rushing to art and accessories adjacent to streetwear to woo young buyers. Remember the complete collection of skate decks. Supreme from Sotheby’s which sold for $ 800,000, or Christie’s “Handbags x Hype” sale which grossed over $ 2.1 million.)
The amount of commitment and action let him know he had something special on his hands. At the last minute, Reed decided to put her down for double her initial estimate. The same night it went on sale, Reed says, the vest had already been sold to a collector in New York City for $ 20,000.
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