Arts & CultureFashion

The RealReal: An online haven for designer duds



The RealReal is an online designer consignment website that offers authenticated luxury goods for a fraction of their original price.

The RealReal hosts brands like Chanel, Hermés, Louis Vuitton, Rolex and pretty much any other renowned designer you could imagine. Prided on providing both the consigner and buyer with the highest of quality and ultimate purchases, The RealReal only sells the most elite brands in the finest conditions. Although the prices for the majority of the items are still far out of a college budget, there is a significant decrease in the asking price for an item and what it was previously purchased for.

Julie Wainwright is the founder and CEO of The RealReal. Wainwright is a role model for female entrepreneurs, recognized by the San Francisco Business Times and invited to speak at schools like Purdue and Harvard. She developed a love for design and clothing young, which inspired her creation of the company. In three years, Wainwright went from beginning The RealReal to making it a $100 million dollar company, with over 2,000 new items coming in every day.

The process of consignment works as follows. To begin, every item that a consigner wishes to sell is sent to The RealReal offices, where they inspect and authenticate each piece. The in-house team includes gemologists, horologists, art appraisers and luxury experts. From when the item enters the door to when it is put online is about a 24 hour timespan. Once approved, the item will go up online and generally sells within 72 hours.

The RealReal turns over inventory every 30 days to keep their website fresh and updated. The consigner makes 60-70 percent off of each sale, while the buyer can save anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of dollars on individual pieces.

The RealReal is truly revolutionary because it changes the way we shop, and it changes the way we perceive designers. Online shopping is becoming the largest sale driver for retail because it is timely, comfortable and easy.

Sites like The RealReal also make designers more accessible, which seems to be both a good and bad thing. Critics of the sites like these argue that consigning pieces in huge volumes like The RealReal takes away from the novelty of investing in designers. Also, the market becomes saturated with consignments, which could ultimately end up hurting the designers’ business.

However, I believe that sites like The RealReal actually help designers. The RealReal promotes not only quality and standard, but they promote the designers themselves. People want to buy worthwhile, luxurious pieces. Buyers who may not have otherwise been able to afford a brand are now given the resources to do so, which in turn only markets that designer even more.

Sites like The RealReal also teach the average buyer of a whole slew of new brands, turning site browsers into devoted designer lovers and returning customers. For designers and consignment sites alike, to get a buyers money is one thing, but to get their awareness and support– you can’t put a price on that.

Learn more about The RealReal and authenticating process here:


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Dorie Pagnano

Dorie Pagnano