Friday, November 10, 2017

New York Evening Hours by Lieba Nesis

The RealReal Debuts its First Permanent Store

The Store
All photos: Lieba Nesis
Click images for full size views

The online luxury consignment store The RealReal opened its first permanent shop on 80 Wooster Street in Soho on Thursday November 9, 2017. The store was difficult to find as there was no sign on the door identifying it - maybe that hasn't been completed. Attendees tonight included fashion luminaries Amy Fine Collins, Freddie Leiba and Jean Shafiroff with famous DJ Hannah Bronfman spinning tunes.

Amy Fine Collins, Freddie Leiba and CEO Julie Wainwright

The RealReal was founded in 2011 by 60-year-old CEO Julie Wainwright who began buying and selling items from her kitchen table and visiting consignor homes with a U-Haul with just $100,000 in personal savings.  The company now has more than 600 employees and had sales of $500 million this year-quite an impressive achievement.  The store will be open for business tomorrow at noon and features over 5,500 pieces of items for sale including the furniture displayed in the 8,500 square foot store.

Jean Shafiroff

Wainwright said she has been working on the store for six months and was hoping to open 10 to 12 stores in the next couple of years. She was also very excited about the history of the store with Yoko Ono and John Lennon former residents at this historical space. During last year's holiday season a pop-up RealReal was opened which brought in $2 million in revenue in 2 weeks.

Birkin bag with its history underneath

This store was designed by Courtney Applebaum, and will contain 400 to 500 new items every day shipped from the New Jersey warehouse. Applebaum, designer of the Row's stores, included unique touches in this space such as a history of the Birkin and Chanel bag. I learned the creation of the Birkin was precipitated by an encounter between an Hermes executive and Jane Birkin on a plane in 1981. Today it is reportedly a better investment than stocks or gold increasing in value by 14.2% every year.

The Gucci rack

There were a number of Birkin, Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton bags on display with Wainwright informing me these mainstream designers were her best sellers. While the prices were cheaper a Gucci shirt was still $1,795 and A Giambattista Valli dress cost over $2,000.

Rebecca Fisher, Lance Maxwell and Kevin Levesque

In order to nurture the pivotal consignor-consignee relationship the store will contain areas where consignors can meet with experts to get prices for their items and attend workshops.

A Comme Des Garcons jacket with the history of the building underneath

The RealReal is one of the few sites which pays its consignors 70 percent of the sales price which amounted to $300 million this past year. In 2017 it raised $173 million enabling it to compete in the fierce resale market. Men, who comprise 25% of the customer base, will be allowed to choose from a special sneaker wall with various pricing and style options.

CEO Julie Wainwright

It is obvious Julie has her pulse on the desires of her customer and her fortune will continue to grow in the complex world of fashion.

- Lieba Nesis

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