Kora’s Miranda Kerr and Rebag’s Charles Gorra on how high-end brands can still be sustainable

For some time now, sustainable has been thrown around as a buzzy marketing term to describe products and businesses that don’t harm the planet. But it can be difficult to discern which businesses actually walk the walk. At the 2021 Fast Company Innovation Festival on Thursday, senior editor Amy Farley spoke with supermodel and Kora Organics founder and CEO Miranda Kerr and Rebag CEO Charles Gorra about how they deliver uncompromisingly high-end experiences and products while introducing customers to more sustainable forms of consumption.

Kerr was an early pioneer in the clean-beauty space. Her 12-year-old company’s products are now sold in 30 countries. The brand doesn’t make unverified claims, but rather relies on a third-party entity to ensure that its formulations and packaging are certified organic—a way to guarantee quality standards and an effective business strategy. “I really think that education is key. That’s what I’m trying to do,” Kerr said, noting that “consumer studies and clinical trials [are an effective way] to really show results visually.”

Gorra, meanwhile, has been on a mission to grow the secondhand market for high-end goods. Having previously worked at Goldman Sachs and investment firm TPG, he said he got interested in the retail landscape when he joined the clothing retail and resale startup Rent the Runway after graduating from Harvard Business School. He noted that one of the things that differentiates Rebag from other resale platforms is the authentication process.

“Most of the platforms that are out there tend to be peer to peer, like Poshmark,” Gorra said. “Our belief is that on the luxury side of things, buyers and sellers require a lot more service.”

In contrast to other resellers, Rebag features only 50 brands and sells goods priced from $200 to upward of $20,000, but Gorra said the luxury market presents a huge opportunity. “Only one out of 10 owners of a luxury product is actively re-trading their goods, so that leaves you 90% of people that have luxury products that do not transact,” he explained. “We think that’s where the big opportunity is. And if you fast-forward 5, 10, 15 years, that behavior, which we’re already starting to see, eventually is going to become completely mainstream.”