The Real Story of RealReal Entrepreneur Julie Wainwright

According to a 2019 report published by American Express, around 13 million businesses in the US are owned by women which makes it 40% of the total businesses. The same report shows a 21% increase in women owned businesses between 2014 and 2019.

Fashion Retail is one of highly active industry in which women owned businesses operate and interestingly, it is not just limited to being a designer. Many women go beyond the design and fashion shows and work on innovative ideas that are in fact re-shaping the industry.

From selling their own products to drop shipping women have found tens of innovative ways to do business, and one such amazing woman is Julie Wainwright of The RealReal who has built a multi million dollar luxury resale business.

Be it any brand, Christian Louboutin, Hermès, Chanel, you name it, and the therealreal.com has authentic handbags, dresses, and shoes in the best condition. The prominent categories on the site include Women’s Fashion & Accessories, Men’s Fashion & Accessories, Men’s Sneakers, Handbags, Fine jewelry, Watches, Home Decor and Fine Art.

Julie has a big team of associates all over the country who go to people’s homes to collect the preselected luxury and designer brands. Sellers can also ship their items directly to them. Once the item arrives at the luxury consignment office, it is supposed to pass through the authenticity check for which they have a team of 100+ luxury brand authenticators, who carefully evaluates every item.

The authentic piece is then priced for a resale in a series of flash sales on TheRealReal.com. The pricing depends on a variety of factors including designer, item type, age, condition and the current market demand. The seller keeps the 60 to 70 percent of the resale value of the item.

Julie Wainwright ideated The RealReal back in 2011, when the eCommerce accounted only around 7% of the total retail in the US. Today the eCommmerce accounts for more than 15% of the total retail in the US and the trends suggest a constant increase due to widespread of internet and the innovations within the eCommerce sector.

Source: Digital Commerce 360

The idea of luxury consignment resale is though very basic recommerce, i.e. people will always be interested in making some money selling off what they no more want to wear, but the industry is huge, i.e. the “luxury resale” which is worth around $6 billion today. A business idea like this is not just ordinary eCommerce, rather it is a quite a socially responsible venture that focuses on saving costs and reducing the environmental impact!

It was Julie’s vision that she saw a potential in the industry and built this multi-million dollar business out of people’s closets! The RealReal website has million members today and the business ships around 20,000 luxury items each month, making it people’s favorite place to buy authentic preloved luxury items.