A Conversation with the RealReal: High-End Luxury Reseller

There was once a time in the country when talk of high-end luxury items included talk of item scarcity and high price tags. Because of this, it was once uncommon to own these items for the average consumer. However, the recent explosion of the resale market for luxury items is making for a different reality. The RealReal is a leader in this new $6 billion-dollar market.

The company operates on the consignment business model. Clients turn over high-end items they no longer wear to the company. When the item is sold, both the company and the client receive a portion of the proceeds.

The company has been responsible for eight million items sold through consignment. These items include clothing, fashion accessories, and household items. The sales have taken place on the company's website and through stores located in Los Angeles and New York. The company is currently valued at $450 million.

The chief merchant for the RealReal is Rati Levesque. Recently, Ms. Levesque took a moment to share some thoughts about the RealReal…

 

How Would You Characterize The Service You Offer To Customers

I view our services as a gateway drug of sorts for our customers. Individuals who in the past could not own an item manufactured by Louis Vuitton can now do so at a lower price. The customer purchases a product from us that exceeds all expectations they possessed prior to the purchase. The customer will then want a Louis Vuitton bag to go with the item.

There Is No Stigma Attached To Items Being Second-Hand

A favorite concept of mine is the luxury item life-cycle. Items are crafted with quality, customers make good purchases, then customers resell the item. These luxury items are maintaining a decent value for resell purposes. This causes more individuals to view their purchases of these items as investments more than idle purchases.

How Do You Help Customers Understand The Process

My job as a merchant for RealReal is to educate clients and customers. I provide advice on what is hot, and what is not. I also tell clients what a good idea might be to sell at the present time and what they should perhaps hold onto for the time being. We are numbers crunchers that pull data constantly. Our prices are adjusted according to supply and demand, so this is important to communicate to clients.

What Item Has Performed Well Lately

Over the last two-and-a-half years luxury watches have been selling really well. The interest of millennials in these watches have really been on the rise. Top-tier brands have sold in high numbers to the younger generation who have even shown an interest in vintage brands.

What Brands Are Doing Well

All classic brands have performed well for us. Individuals have a desire to craft a look that separates them from the crowd. The social media age was beginning to make everything look the same. People are in search of unique items that are authentic.

How Do Stores Maintained By The Company Function

Our stores in a lot of ways are mini-warehouses. This is because every item in the store is also available for purchase on the website. Every item in our brick and mortar locations have a chip in them for immediate location. When a customer in a store takes an item into a room to check the fit, the status of the item will immediately change to "on hold" online.


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