Founder and CEO of The RealReal, Julie Wainwright is leading the way of one of the fastest growing start ups on the online consignment stores. A few of them popped up about six years ago and some of them are no longer in business. The RealReal has been profitable and raise about $123 million from venture funding. They expect continued growth and are headed toward their goal of $500 million in merchandise this year. Most of this growth is projected to come from their mobile app.
Julie Wainwright credits their success to focusing on luxury items. The system The RealReal uses to ensure that the consignment products they take in, identifies each item as authentic before it get shipped out the door. They have built a system of trust with their customers and it’s paying off.
The RealReal is excited to announce the next step in their business plan. This year in New York, they will open their first brick and mortar store. They will carry, apparel and accessories. Customers will be able to browse these gently used luxury items fist hand.
The growth of the company is exciting. When Wainwright sat down to answer some questions, her responses were surprising. About twenty percent of their customer base are men. They are shopping for Rolex watches and clothing. Women favor Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Hermes. Clothing is their top seller in dollar amounts.
Millennials make up a third of the companies customer base. The RealReal has made it a practice to track what their buying. Julie Wainwright has met with the most popular brands and insist she is their company’s gateway drug for new customers. Wainwright states they can predict trends and know what the next hot item is. The RealReal has expanded their business by meeting their customers needs and selling jewelry. They have hired gemologist and have several offices across the country to appraise and value jewelry. As a company they are hoping to keep this circular economy growing with possible partnerships with large brands in the future.