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Sue McCarthy on running a resale empire, the fortune of failure and helping women embrace themselves

By Justine Browning


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Sue McCarthy’s business model, “tell people what you’re going to do, and do it right” served her well when she opened her first retail store in St. Louis. The venture went on to spawn a multimillion-dollar resale empire.

Known globally for its luxury offerings, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci and Prada among them, The Vault Luxury Resale has dressed a steady stream of stars and also inspired The Style Network show Resale Royalty.

Now McCarthy is offering a glimpse behind the scenes of the fashion industry with her new autobiography, Good, Better, Best. The book explores the world of luxury resale and the closets of stylish stars. The read is also devoted to McCarthy’s difficult road to success. Before carving out a name for herself, she endured financial setbacks and personal tragedies - experiences that have no doubt shaped her entrepreneurial tactics.

“I believe that embracing your failures is the only way we learn,” she tells FashionUnited. “We should use those moments as ways to improve our efforts. Like Thomas Edison said, ‘The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time’.”

Her struggles have also showed her the impact of social responsibility in business.

“I believe that we are exactly where we are 90 percent because we give back,” she says of her company. “We give back extraordinary amounts, much more so than most small businesses. We give back because we are in a position to do that. It’s really good to be able to help those who are less fortunate and it’s a blessing to our business.”

While the industry is making great strides to cater to women of various shapes and sizes, there are still gaps to fill - something McCarthy tried to do with each client she works with. Rather push women to follow trends, she focuses on highlighting their own preferences and style personality.

“I think the important thing is that all women should be comfortable in their skin,” she says. “When you have a clothing or jewelry item, you should feel good wearing it. If it doesn’t feel good then it isn’t working for you. I also believe that what you wear must work for you as an individual, not work for you based on what the crowd is wearing.”

Good, Better, Best is now available at booksellers worldwide.

Photo credit: Courtesy of the brand.
Sue McCarthy