Fashion & Style

The Real Real: Changing the Secondhand Game


The Real Real

It could be said that The RealReal has completely transformed the idea of a consignment shop—and digitized it. Back in the day—well, even just a decade ago—if someone purchased a Louis Vuitton purse or a Burberry trench, it was theirs for life—unless they wanted to sell it to a local consignment shop at severely stripped prices. But for the fashionistas and clotheshorses of the late 2010s, there are a multitude of more exciting options these days. One of the most alluring happens to be The RealReal, which consumers access through the app, website or even some retail locations.

For those who indulge in perhaps a bit too much emotional shopping or those who receive luxury, designer gifts that don’t necessarily match their aesthetic, there is now a way to unload these items and receive a profit. The RealReal retail shop located on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood, customers peruse Gucci purses, Louis Vuitton bags and more. Because there is only one of each item, the experience is much more curated than what would happen if a consumer were to walk into any of the stores at the nearby Beverly Center.

Indeed, the team at The RealReal is all about getting to know their customers and creating a unique shopping platform for consumers. Shoppers are invited to work with a RealReal employee to hone in on their specific style and then find the pieces that suit them. With an encyclopedic knowledge of their customers, these professional wardrobe consultants are then able to alert them when the store receives that perfect pair of Louboutins that they’ve been craving. It’s truly a boutique experience, allowing people to hunt down the items that they’ve always wanted in a way that’s both efficient and rewarding. The best part is that consumers pay a fraction of the price that they would have if they had purchased the items new—and those who pick up pricey designer pieces can reap the rewards of their excellent taste.

Indeed, The RealReal seeks ways to make everyone a winner. The fact that the company has moved approximately eight million pieces and received a valuation of $450 million means that people have been craving a service like this for a long time. Execs at The RealReal have referred to it as a kind of “gateway” drug; it appeals to those who have been interested in designer garments but cannot afford them normally. Also, many people feel more free to invest in high-end items when they know that they will eventually be able to recoup some of the cost. These days, there’s also been a push towards sustainable fashion. When consumers purchase and take care of their clothes for the long haul, it means that less discarded fast fashion goes to landfills. With a percentage of landfills being occupied by textiles, this is no small feat.

Today’s consumers are more savvy and cost-conscious than those of the past, and The RealReal is the perfect program for those who embrace modernity—and want to rake in a pretty penny while they’re at it. The company consistently researches to ensure that they are providing both buyers and sellers with a premium service. When an item is in high demand, The RealReal will reach out to sellers letting them know that it’s a good time to let go of it. Every step of the way, The RealReal is moving its consumers closer to their clothing goals. And if numbers are any indication, it would appear that they are making extraordinary strides.

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