Around here, we’re endlessly fascinated by the wide world of online shopping, and it seems that every week brings with it a brand-new e-commerce site to be obsessed with. Since keeping track of ‘em all can be a feat of epic proportion, we’ve decided to feature “A Site To See” each week, highlighting a cool retail website you’ll definitely want to bookmark. This week: an incredibly useful new site called The RealReal.
Why You Should Bookmark It: Founded just two years ago by e-commerce veteran Julie Wainwright, TheRealReal.com outshines most other online consignment shops by offering high-end designer wares—think Chanel, Hermès, Vuitton, and other big one-namers—at up to 90% off their original retail price.
And unlike you might suspect, that incredible sale doesn’t come at the price of quality; all the goods on the site are guaranteed authentic, for one, and are also hand-inspected to ensure they’re worth buying. “Sometimes people have a product they just overbought in a boutique [that they want to get rid of],” Wainwright tells StyleCaster of the high discount. “There was one woman who owned 400 pairs of Sergio Rossi shoes, and she just wanted to move them. They were all new in the box and we sold them for 90% off. Honestly, when we go up to 90% off, it’s almost always brand-new with tags.”
How It Works: Another aspect of consignment that distinguishes The RealReal from most of its competitors is the site’s White Glove Service, which sees experienced merchandisers going into collectors’ homes to assess their pieces one by one to determine what is apt for resale and what is not. “This service builds a relationship with consignors from the start of the process [to its end],” Bridget Nistico, The RealReal’s Washington, D.C.-area merchandise manager, tells StyleCaster.
“This service is provided by a merchandise manager in specific cities across the nation. I work with my clients to ensure that the entire process is smooth and easy for them. I go to my clients’ homes to inspect, itemize, and pack up all of their product to ship to one of our warehouses. We care about our consignors and their satisfaction; they are entrusting us with their possessions and we want them to be completely comfortable. It’s very different than packing up stuff on your own and sending it to an unknown place.”
After being properly processed at the warehouse, the items are photographed and posted on the site at incredible discounts. All you have to do as a shopper is sign up and start hunting. “Most items are posted within 72 hours, and 80% sell within the first three days of being posted,” Wainwright adds.
The Best Sales Yet: “I bought a Céline dress for $225 that I had been looking at,” Wainwright, who shops the site regularly, tells us. “The retail price was $2,800. It still had the tags on. It’s classic, beautiful, it’s my size. It’s a couple years old so it wasn’t brand new, but for me, that was my biggest find.”
Check It Out: TheRealReal.com