In a few weeks, I’ll be moving to a new apartment and the daunting thought of carrying box upon box of stuff is already stressing me out. I occasionally make a promise to myself, and my wardrobe that’s bursting at the seams, that until I clear some space in my kink wardrobe, I’m banned from purchasing anything new! This, of course, never actually happens.
I’ve occasionally found myself having post-horn regret when purchasing something on a whim only to try it on and not really get much pleasure from it. Sometimes, things just look hotter in photos.
I also know the pain with some materials not being the most forgiving when it comes to incorrect sizing *glares a rubber suits*. I’ve tried selling used fetish items on my Instagram but it has its fair share of problems. Then, I was introduced to Second Skin a couple of years ago when they first launched and thought ‘Finally a re-selling platform made for kinksters’. I also thought that if there were a kinky Dragon’s Den, this platform would do well!
I had the pleasure of speaking to the team at Second Skin about their journey from a Covid lockdown project to being nominated as ‘Retailer of the Year’ at the X Awards this coming Spring.
Second Skin has been going for more than three years now – it seems like a real success. Where did the idea behind Second Skin come from? Was this an idea you had for a while or did it come from any personal experience trying to sell gear?
A little of both! I’ve always had a fascination with used gear, ever since I started embracing kink. I would use eBay a lot to find vintage leather biker jackets – an obsession I still have to this day. As I got more into the leather and rubber scene, it hit me that there wasn’t a dedicated place for the fetish community to buy and sell used gear. When lockdown happened, my business partner and I decided to act on it and Second Skin was born!
That’s so exciting and I can certainly agree, when I first started fetish I used to buy some stuff from eBay until you guys came along. I think you might have the coolest-sounding name out there in the fetish world, it’s a great description of what you guys do. Where did it come from?
That’s very kind. I’ve been into Leather since I hit puberty (maybe even before?), and later rubber. I always resonated with the idea that putting on gear felt like wearing a “second skin”, one that made me feel more confident, powerful, more genuine. It feels part of me, if that makes sense? So the site had to be called Second Skin – I think it captures the feeling of gear perfectly, but also leans into the concept of second-hand.
It captures it really well. People really seem to love your brand – my friendship group really appreciates it. Speaking of, I see that you Second Skin are nominated for an X award as ‘Retailer of the Year’ 2024!
We’re absolutely honoured to be nominated – it feels brilliant! We’re super excited to attend Darklands and hang out with all the brilliant nominees. We have our fingers tightly crossed. Seeing the community embrace Second Skin as a platform has been an absolute joy – we’ve got nearly 28,000 members on the site now, which is mind-blowing. I couldn’t be more thankful. The nomination really is the icing on the cake!
That’s really exciting! I can tell you’ve had fantastic support from the community – I guess because people respect Second Skin. You also clearly value helping those starting off in fetish too when they might not have the cash to splash on brand-new gear.
Absolutely. Making gear more accessible is one of our primary values. There’s also the “green” aspect. We’re big believers in the circular economy; re-selling what we no longer use (or fit into) rather than throwing it away. In all honesty, I get bored of gear pretty quickly so having an outlet to sell pieces and earn money to buy new gear is perfect.
Lastly, we’re all about the community. We’re in a privileged position in that we represent all the fetish brands through the items our members are selling. In this sense, we’re able to embrace all kinks, and all styles.
I hear you and it’s great to see that diversity of kinks and style in the fantastic photography on your socials and on the website too!
Thank you! We’re really proud of the shoots we create. We don’t technically sell our own products so, as I mentioned above, we look to represent the community in our images. We always have open calls where we encourage our members to model for us. It’s about real gearheads, wearing the gear they love.
What would you say to some people who currently use more mainstream selling platforms like eBay etc. to sell fetish gear?
We’ve worked hard to make sure we’re as competitive as the likes of eBay. Our seller fees come out slightly less than eBay but we believe our real superpower is connecting our members to like-minded gearheads. We find well priced, great pieces of gear can often sell within an hour because you know it’s being seen by the right people.
I absolutely agree with it being seen by the right people! Whenever I’m shopping for used gear online, on sites such as eBay, I can sometimes be a bit nervous about legitimacy. What do you guys do to help ease people’s worries about that?
I understand that. It’s hard to know exactly what you’re buying at all times when buying pre-loved. We actively encourage our sellers to be as detailed as possible and ensure any damage is clearly stated. We try to promote the use of good quality images, and allow members to message sellers to ask any questions before committing to a purchase.
Should anything not be as the buyer expects, they can reach out to us and we can help resolve any problems. We have buyer protection, which allows us to refund you if anything isn’t as expected.
Can you tell me about the funniest story as part of your time working at Second Skin?
Hmm… we had someone list a leather sofa once, which was… unexpected. We will never kink-shame, but that was somewhat stretching the limits of what you’d expect to find on the platform!
Lastly, one thing I’m always blown away by when being on the platform is seeing the variety of countries that people are selling gear from. You’ve clearly developed a global reach – was this something that happened by itself or was it planned?
It’s very cool! We knew from the start that we needed to make it as international as possible. as we’re a relatively small community and finding specific pieces of gear, in your size, requires a global reach. We’re currently working on a new version of the platform that will make shipping internationally much easier, with the ability to edit shipping prices for individual buyers. Watch this space, we’re hoping to roll this out, plus a load of amazing new features, in a couple of months. We also have more shoots planned so keep an eye out on our socials for open calls!
It was a pleasure to catch up with the team at Second Skin and hear all about their growth and ideas for the future. When selling gear, I can end up putting things off while I wait for the motivation to clear stuff out but with pieces like rubber suits, the longer I wait the more the quality fades.
If you have some gear you’d like to give a second home to, it’s worth checking out SecondSkin.co and list some of those unused items!