Bored during the pandemic and fully remote, Angel Hursey sold luxury items from her closet for extra money. That led to a venture that let her develop coding skills – a 100% online secondhand luxury store.
Reluxx.com, an online luxury thrift store, started as a pandemic side hustle. In 2020, Hursey sold Louis Vuitton handbags on resale sites to Poshmark and Mecari to make extra money. Her online site launched in January 2021 and generated around $ 40,000 in annual profits its first year.
Hursey, 32, graduated Thursday from Lansing Economic Area Partnership’s One and All March 2022 cohort, alongside Socialight Society owner Nyshell Lawrence, Neutral Minimalist Interior Design owner Banin Jafar and Data-Driven Decisions, L3C owner Ken Roubal to name a few.
“I am a professional but I just needed more of the business mindset like, ‘OK, this is growing bigger beyond me because it’s growing more rapidly,'” she said. “More of the financials, the cash flow and maybe expand into a brick and mortar since I am 100% online.”
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Reluxx carries Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Chanel. Hursey’s planning to add Yves Saint Laurent products in the near future.
Used items are priced 30% below original manufacturer’s suggested retail price. All curated products are in classic, timeless styles so trends don’t dictate profits. Hursey studied what bags sold for on other resale sites to competitively price goods.
Every Hursey bag acquired is authenticated by either itself or Real Authentication, a direct-to-consumer website that offers low-cost authentication for goods. She can spot fake classic Louis Vuitton bags by photos and all products sold are provided with a complementary authentication card.
Mariah Johnson, Hursey’s sister-in-law and contract employee, said it is easy to tell in person if a bag is fake by the material’s feel and weight. Hursey taught her things to look for when authenticating a bag online such as the canvas and stitching.
Hursey studied to become a web developer through Per Scholas, an online trade school.
Originally set on a path in the health care industry several years ago, she was redirected to web development because she loved solving problems.
“I was an at-home mom, this is when I actually lived in Texas,” she said. “I had more time to study and it was great.”
A Dallas-based company offered her an internship, which she accepted. She later took an information technology department job at Biggby’s East Lansing offices where she was the first woman to serve in the department.
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That led her to create the i3 Project with friend Jeremy Chappelle to partner with nonprofits and people in urban, low-income areas and teach them how to code. It hasn’t launched yet, Hursey said, as the two develop the organization further and assess what companies and people are ideal to partner with. Once launched, it’ll operate in Michigan and Texas.
Now, she works for Wayne County and redesigned the website, managing web applications and over 3,000 pages for the county. Those skills helped her create Reluxx’s website in a day. But she needed help on the business side of things, so she joined LEAP’s One and All March 2022 cohort alongside 22 other entrepreneurs.
Nearly 100 people applied for the boot camp and 23 were accepted, making this cohort the most competitive since its start, said Katlyn Cardoso, director of entrepreneurial ecosystem development at LEAP. Since it’s October 2020 launch, One and All has graduated five cohorts.
“Programs like One and All change the landscape of entrepreneurship in a region like Lansing, by allowing our full population to more easily, fully participate in the economy,” Cardoso said.
A physical storefront was in Hursey’s plans for Reluxx at the start of the program.
One and All “made me think, ‘OK, I don’t have to jump into a building until I know it’s secured.’ But what it sounds like, I may be looking towards a fulfillment center. “
A fulfillment center could allow Hursey to store products in one place, have customers view the selection by appointment and, eventually, to restore used products, Johnson said. She, Hursey and Cordell Miller, another contract employee, are learning how to restore the luxury goods.
Johnson believes a market exists for the products and predicted Reluxx will continue growing.
“A lot of the pieces are timeless so this is something that’s a lifetime investment,” she said.