Many antiquers like to go out on the hunt for new pieces. They scour garage sales, flea markets and warehouse stores for something that they can fix up to sell. They then flip the item after sprucing it up for a profit. And many of them like to buy items from each other.
The exact same thing is happening in a very unsuspecting place. Shoppers are walking into the most expensive stores in the world to spend thousands of dollars on luxury clothing items. They essentially rent the items for a short period of time before consigning the clothing. An app called The RealReal is the trusted intermediary for the consignment.
Many of these luxury clothing lovers sell gently used items to each other. They buy with the confidence of knowing that they can sell their recent acquisitions for 80 percent of the retail price. It becomes a giant circle. Fashion lovers by high-end fashion, feel good wearing it for a short time, sell it online to recoup funds and buy other gently used garments in the process. It allows clothing lovers to amass quite a collection while saving money.
The RealReal is for real. The app’s founder recently told CNBC that her company has moved more than $500 million of high-end clothing items in six years. Julie Wainwright, the app’s founder, easily rounded up more than $288 million in investor cash.
This massive infusion of capital has allowed Julie Wainwright to open up two brick-and-mortar locations in New York City and Los Angeles. She chose Soho and Madison Avenue in order to challenge the conventional luxury clothing brands in America’s two biggest cities. And she continues to test the waters by opening up surprise pop-ups in cities like Las Vegas and San Francisco. The RealReal is here to stay.
This is yet another example of a tech startup defying expectations. High-end clothing retailers pooh-poohed the idea of an app competing with the world’s most powerful brands. But The RealReal allows shoppers to find one-of-a-kind items with the comfort of knowing they can flip the purchase for the next one-of-a-kind item.