How The RealReal Is Revolutionizing Luxury Fashion

The RealReal is expanding its footprint. Following the success of its first pop-up store in New York City in 2016, the luxury consignment startup is planning to open more pop-up shops this year.

As DigiDay recently reported, Allison Sommer, The RealReal’s director of marketing, is invested in building customer loyalty in ways that move beyond its online presence. Pop-up shops help to “build awareness” about the brand in markets where The RealReal doesn’t already have a footprint, she said.

The RealReal has already demonstrated that this is a proven marketing method: Chain Store Age reports that The RealReal’s NYC pop-up shop in 2016 brought in $2 million in just two weeks. This prompted the brand to establish a permanent location in SoHo, New York’s trendiest neighborhood.

The RealReal is currently planning to open pop-up shops in San Francisco and Las Vegas, and more are projected to open in other cities later this year.

Julie Wainright, The RealReal’s founder and CEO, established the brand after noticing a gap in luxury retail. Once the current fashion season ends, luxury buyers are often at a loss for where to deposit their designer looks. Consigning not only gives these buyers additional revenue, it also prevents another designer bag or jacket from ending up in a landfill. Her hard work and eye for detail have paid off: in 2015, the label sold $200 million worth of goods.

Other luxury consignment startups have entered the market since Ms. Wainright started in 2011, but The RealReal continues to carry the crown. In 2017, The RealReal secured $50 million in new funding from Great Hill Partners, a private equity firm. The RealReal now employs more than 800 people.

The RealReal predominantly sells women’s high-end clothing, and, according to Wainright, women make up 80 percent of their consumer base. Yet The RealReal also attracts men, who seek luxury watches or leather goods.

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