The RealReal has certainly taken the business of luxury consignment to a level of epic proportions. This company’s take on secondhand luxury offers first class appeal. That appeal is authenticity and presentation. Julie Wainwright is the entrepreneur who founded the company in 2011. Wainwright is the previous CEO of the online video retailer, reel.com, and the online pet supply company, pets.com. In her latest venture, Wainwright sets her sights on delivering high-end luxury, something she realized that a mass retailer is unable to provide.
It was by chance, as is often the case, that the online powerhouse, The RealReal, came to be what it is today. While visiting a Silicon Valley Boutique with a friend back in 2010, Wainwright saw the value of pre-owned Chanel, Prada, and Gucci designs, first hand. She quickly realized that, even used, these items hold value for consumers. The spirit of entrepreneurship sparked the start of her research that very same night. Within a few short months The RealReal was born.
The luxury business is a $1.5 trillion dollar industry and, has been favorable to say the least. Today The RealReal is revolutionizing this industry with every consignment. The company now employs about 1,500 people including a team of brand authenticators, art curators, gemologist, and horologist who have the ability to guarantee the authenticity of each item that comes in. There are currently offices in New York and in San Francisco and it’s venture capital is now beyond 173 million dollars.
The RealReal’s Soho location opened its doors last November. The allure of this location as well as the San Francisco location is the museum like experience. You will find a more curated approach, with opportunities to learn about the craftsmanship of the designs, the smell of the leather, minute details in stitching, and so on. Items are beautifully displayed as pieces of art with detailed text on design history. Some may feel that the vibe is too muted compared to the normal approach but it is clear that many appreciate the opportunity to access the high-end fashion and free workshops.