The RealReal Challenging Conventional Luxury Clothing Retailers

You can now go ahead and buy that expensive dress, that flashy handbag or those glamorous shoes. The RealReal has your back. The burgeoning app is contending with luxury retailers across the country as more people consign gently used fashionable items. Now fashionistas can probably walk into their favorite store to purchase everything their heart desires because they can turn around to consign the items a short time later for about 80 percent of the buying price.

Many of the apps users sell to each other. It’s like a large community that takes care of itself. One The RealReal user can buy an expensive pair of shoes, wear them to an important function, put them up on the app for consignment, recoup 80 percent of the cost and use that money to buy a new handbag on the app. This is one of the reasons the company has been able to move $500 million worth of merchandise in six years. And it’s numbers like these that have attracted investors to the tune of $288 million in seed money.

Initially, high-end luxury retailers laughed at the idea of an app competing with them in the market. But these giant companies underestimated the will of the shopper. Shoppers love to find unique items and great deals. The app allows them to share the experience of bargain-hunting with other like-minded individuals while amassing quite a collection of luxury items. Everybody wins with The RealReal.

It’s the same old story with tech startups. Taxi companies laughed at Uber and Lyft in the beginning. Now the rideshare apps are the standard in urban travel and even have millennials ditching the costs of owning a car for the convenience of the apps. It seems that The RealReal is poised to reshape the luxury clothing market.

Julie Wainwright has her sights on the most high-end retailers in the world. Like many successful startups, she’s segued the company from an app to physical locations. She’s opened two stores in New York and Los Angeles while pop-up events continue to happen in cities like San Francisco and Las Vegas.