What do you think of consigned items for sale? You might think of electronics or specific brands of clothing being sold at a thrift store. Does luxury goods come to mind? It probably does not.
A new startup called The RealReal is changing the way people view consignment and luxury goods. This company is not only changing how people see consignment and luxury items but how people shop for them as well. This novel idea is now allowing people to snap up luxury brands such as Luis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel and many more at a fraction of their original prices.
People who want luxury but don’t want to pay the high costs of a new item now have an entire marketplace of consigned luxury goods to choose from. The RealReal has almost anything and everything you can think of. You can buy pants and leather goods for men. For women, there are dresses, swimsuits, handbags, purses, jewelry, boots, sandals, shirts and much more to purchase.
Most shoppers at RealReal are women, though men do make up a significant market segment as well. The founder of the luxury consignment market says that while men purchase less of the goods, they return their items much less frequently. In the end, she says it evens out. The success of this concept no doubt points to the fact that there is a strong demand for used luxury goods at bargain prices when compared to their original selling prices.
Strong sales have led to investors pouring in hundreds of millions of dollars into the venture. The luxury consignment store recently raised an additional 50 million dollars in funding. This was an investment by Great Hill Partners.
It is interesting that many of the people that sell their used luxury brand clothing or accessories are also buyers. Founder Julie Wainwright says that this helps keep a steady flow of inventory for the company. Many of the buyers are also repeat buyers. This is why her company has been able to not only survive but thrive in this niche luxury market.
Many people are hopping onto RealReal’s bandwagon either as buyers or sellers. For sellers, it is an easy way to make money off luxury items they may no longer need or want. For the buyer, the lure of buying a luxury item at a relatively low price is an irresistible lure. After all, it is not like you see luxury items for sale at inexpensive prices at every used clothing store, pawnshop or Goodwill.
RealReal is mostly an online or e-commerce operation. Most of the sales are made online. Their website has a massive amount of items available for purchase that can change daily.
A pop-up store in Manhattan for a few weeks did so well that Julie Wainwright said that she decided to open up a brick and mortar store in SoHo. That store offers a wide selection of used luxury items for sale. It is profitable and attracts thousands of shoppers who enjoy perusing the great variety of clothing and accessories available at the store. Wainwright said that men also accounted for about a third of the buyers at the SoHo brick and mortar store. Women dominate the online sales.
The success of the RealReal consignment store can be traced to its bargain prices and guarantee of authenticity. Experts authenticate every item. People who want to sell their brand name item must bring it to one of many RealReal offices where an expert looks at it. If it passes the test, then it will be listed for sale or displayed at its brick and mortar store. Authenticity, a clever online platform, and great prices are the secret to RealReal’s success in the secondhand luxury goods market.