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Goodwill is the ‘pioneer of the circular economy’: Goodwillfinds.com CEO

Goodwillfinds.com CEO Matthew Kaness joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the nonprofit's new secondhand e-commerce experience, secular tailwinds boosting Goodwill stores, value-oriented consumers, sustainability, and more.

Video Transcript

RACHELLE AKUFFO: Goodwill recently launched an online marketplace, and according to our next guest, business is booming. CEO of goodwillfinds.com Matthew Kaness joins us now to discuss the growing secondhand market. Welcome to the show. I think for a lot of us who especially love thrifting, we're asking, what took you so long? This is welcome.

MATTHEW KANESS: [LAUGHS] Yes, Rachelle. Thank you for having me here. Well, Goodwill is the OG of thrifting, as I like to say. So, yes, we're super excited to take our rightful place in the market. Goodwill is really a pioneer of the circular economy, over 100 years serving communities across the country. Goodwill serves millions of people in fulfilling their mission of transforming lives to the dignity of work. That impact touches tens of thousands of families every year.

And then there's also a major sustainability story around Goodwill. Last year alone, items that were donated to Goodwill and resold were 3 billion pounds, with a B, 3 billion pounds of items diverted from landfills, thanks to Goodwill and the operations that we have set up. So we're really excited. We launched about six weeks ago at Goodwillfinds.com. And we're really excited to expand the business from here.

DAVE BRIGGS: That's all lovely, but we're talking about somehow making Goodwill trendy, which is rather amazing. How have you been able to change the stigma?

MATTHEW KANESS: Yeah, Dave, it's a really good question. I think there's a confluence of forces happening in the market. First, let me start with the customer. Gen-Z and conscious consumers of all ages really care about sustainability and participating in the circular economy. So, again, Goodwill is one of the pioneers. It's a story that hasn't been told that's worth telling. And we're excited that folks are finally waking up to the impact that Goodwill has, social impact at scale.

The second-- and this is maybe a little bit of inside baseball for retail industry folks-- but secondhand marketplaces have finally reached critical mass in digital transformation. No longer is it one-off stores around the country that you go to. But there are now dozens of marketplaces, from Etsy on down, that have launched the last decade. And so I think it's also been a long time, a long process of consumers getting comfortable with shopping for thrift and secondhand online.

And then I'd say, right now, in this moment coming out of COVID, and with inflation at a 40-year high, there's an extra focus on value. And there's nothing like finding a great deal, a great find at a Goodwill store, and now at goodwillfinds.com. So I think all those things contribute.

And then the last thing is, as you think about where to shop during the holidays, knowing that your dollars are going to a nonprofit, knowing that your dollars are supporting a local Goodwill and the services they provide, consumers in this day and age really care about mission and values. And they vote with their wallets. And so I think all those things have helped in getting the consumer and the market to respond as favorably as they have to our launch last month.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: And so, Matthew, how have things been sales-wise since that launch? And how do you position yourself? As you mentioned, a lot of people got there first. You have Poshmark and RealReal, some of the ones who focus on high end. How do you position yourself with the competition out there?

MATTHEW KANESS: Yeah, Rachelle, we are serving the broadest market possible, and that might be one of our biggest differentiators. So we have-- if you go to our website, we have nearly 200,000 unique items on the site. And there's something for everybody. In the luxury category, we're selling Prada, Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Gucci. So all of the names that you would imagine that you can find at other marketplaces within that category, we have those items.

We also have lifestyle apparel brands-- Lululemon, Nike, Ralph Lauren, Levi's, Adidas, Patagonia, Kate Spade. And then there's this, like, really fun set of categories that play really well in the online space-- collectibles and vintage, comic books, sports, Air Jordans, vintage kicks, history buffs, Star Wars. And then if you're thinking about this holiday season going to a white elephant party or an ugly sweater party, or your decorating for hosting at home, we have something for everybody.

And so I think for us, as we think about where we sit in the market, we're going to play the high-low game, which means that we can serve the value customer, who typically come into our stores to shop. And now we're giving them an online option. We're also going to go after the Gen Z and conscious consumer segment that has been part of the tailwind of these new marketplaces that I referenced and a few of the names that you mentioned.

But we also think that there's a high-end customer who, it's in vogue to shop second hand to support value driven companies and to participate in the circular economy. And so we want to serve all those customers at the same time.

DAVE BRIGGS: Indeed. You had my attention with the Air Jordans, sir. Goodwillfinds.com CEO Matthew Kaness, good to see you. Good luck. Thank you.

Thanks.