Featured in a recent article in The Gazette, The RealReal is a luxury consignment startup founded by Julie Wainwright. Possessing an intimate knowledge of Internet merchandising, CEO Julie Wainwright, launched the consignment shop in 2011 in response to the latest fashion trend, which is second-hand designer merchandise. The RealReal sells home goods, apparel, jewelry, and watches and it is currently dominating in the luxury consignment niche.
One factor that separates The RealReal from other consignment shops is the authentication of all merchandise. The RealReal has seven valuation sites across the United States. When a customer wants to sell an item on consignment, each piece is meticulously examined and appraised for authenticity and value and not accepted if it is not approved.
Typically, when people think of a second-hand shop, they think of the traditional thrift stores, which were often seedy. The RealReal is not the typical second-hand shop. It is a new and innovative startup that sells luxury, high-end merchandise on consignment to customers with high-end tastes, but who enjoy a good bargain.
The RealReal started as an online shop, but after a successful experiment with a pop-up venture in New York, it recently opened its first store in the SoHo district of New York City. The store in SoHo has regular customers, many of whom visit daily or weekly to view new arrivals.
Every start-up needs an infusion of cash, and The RealReal has received more than $170 million in venture capital funding including $50 million in growth funding from Great Hill Partners, a private equity firm. The RealReal acquired Investment capital from Broadway Angels, Next Equity Springboard Funding, Canaan Partners, e.ventures, Greycroft Partners, InterWestPartners, DBL Partners, and Industry Ventures.
The RealReal has separated itself from the pack. Most of its competitors did not survive, but The RealReal has had continued success. There are plans to open additional brick and mortar stores in other markets while maintaining its Internet presence.