Formerly unattainable pieces from brands such as YSL, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton are all becoming more and more accessible to the common people without trust funds and thousands of dollars in disposable income. Julie Wainwright, CEO and founder of the hugely successful online luxury consignment store, The RealReal, is striving to obtain $100 million from private investors in an effort to gain before the company’s initial public offering. The company has made this claim before, fundraising amongst investors, and has garnered $170 million in the last 7 years since The RealReal’s reign began.
Speculation exists that the extra fundraising is necessary because TheRealReal is simply not ready for IPO and that it hasn’t proven it can be its own stand-alone company. The talk is that the company will simply not entice investors in a public market. Another theory surrounding the private fundraising is that The RealReal is ready to “go big or go home” and create a bigger splash when it does go to public market. Wainwright, however, has not acknowledged which claim, if any, is the more favorable one. The RealReal is one of a few online fashion resale businesses that is backed by venture capital and has stood its ground against online resell giant, eBay.
The RealReal began in 2011, but the success of the company has attracted the attention of consumers, designers, and retailers everywhere. The RealReal takes designer items by mail, in-store appointment, and even in-home pickup, and authenticates, photographs, and lists them for sale. The company has a high turnover rate, with most items expected to sell within 30 days of being listed. The company has expanded, physically, with a recent brick-and-mortar storefront in SoHo. Even now, brands such as Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent are claiming to be in cahoots with the company on the claim that consumers who buy secondhand from The RealReal are much more likely to go buy from the actual brand itself. Their collaboration is a major turnaround from the earlier days when most luxury brands saw The RealReal as their competition.