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Wait, did the dream of owning high-end designer items you see in the store windows on Worth Avenue just become attainable?
The RealReal, the online luxury resale marketplace with over 22 million members, recently opened its second retail location in Florida with a 1,700-square-foot store at 331 Worth Ave. in Palm Beach. It joins 17 other retail and consignment-only locations, including Miami, Los Angeles and Manhattan, in which customers can shop, sell and meet with experts to get free valuations of their designer goods.
Just steps away from fashion giants such as Chanel and Gucci, The RealReal’s boutique has two consignment offices for in-person selling appointments and features women’s and men’s items (ready-to-wear, bags, shoes, sneakers and accessories), fine jewelry and watches, home decor and art for sale. It also offers curbside drop-off and pick-up services as well as cleaning, repairs and bespoke alteration services.
The RealReal was started by founder and CEO Julie Wainwright in her home 10 years ago. According to the company’s website, she would make visits to consignors with a U-Haul in those early days. Her goal is to make luxury sustainable, saving 976 million liters of water and 20,200 metric tons of carbon so far.
Rebekah DiGregorio, The RealReal Palm Beach’s head of shop, recently talked about what buyers and sellers can expect at the store, which is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Appointments are preferred for consignors.
Why was Worth Avenue chosen for Florida’s newest store? How do you think luxury consignment will coexist next to some of the biggest names in fashion?
Palm Beach is a community where we already see strong demand for luxury, and Worth Avenue, in particular, is an area where we see our customers are already shopping, dining and socializing. Having a store here will make it more convenient for our community to engage with us and other brands in the area.
We’re looking forward to opening our store alongside some of the most well-known names in luxury. Contrary to what you might expect, resale supports the primary market. Our recent 2021 Luxury Shopper Insights Study revealed that more than 90% of our customers regularly shop in department stores, and they’re checking The RealReal first as a barometer for resale value before making a purchase on the primary market.
What is the benefit of consigning and shopping at the store instead of the website?
Through our stores, our community is able to engage with us in many different ways. For our consignors, the positive of a physical location is that they’re able to meet with our experts in person in a one-on-one environment. This has shown to be beneficial for people who have never sold with us — just last quarter 30% of our new consignors came from our retail stores. It’s similar to our shoppers who aren’t familiar with shopping online for more high-value items. They like that they can touch, feel and see products firsthand unlike when shopping online.
How much can shoppers typically save by choosing The RealReal?
Shoppers can save up to 90% off luxury goods across categories.
What are some of the standout pieces you’ve seen in the new store so far?
In Palm Beach, we have a strong base of both men and women watch enthusiasts. This unisex Rolex Datejust available at our store is not only one of our best-selling watches, but the resale value for this particular style is very high right now. This Hermès Epsom Birkin 30 released last year is another special piece because of its highly coveted size and color.
Who are the authenticators? How are they trained?
Our team of experts and brand authenticators are people who have deep knowledge and a passion for luxury brands (history, styles, etc.). In fact, many of our experts join The RealReal after working at luxury brands like Tiffany, Hermès and Rolex, or auction houses like Sotheby’s. All members of our authentication team receive authentication training from experts as well as daily training updates to stay ahead of the latest developments with brands and counterfeiters.
How has luxury consignment changed since the pandemic began?
Luxury resale has seen record growth during COVID — our member base has grown by 6 million in just the past year. We’re seeing an increase in both people buying and selling into the circular economy for many reasons, including monetizing unused items sitting in their homes, scarcity on the primary market, and sustainability (43% of buyers say it’s a deciding factor for shopping at The RealReal).
What items and brands are you looking for at the Palm Beach location?
Palm Beach is all about timeless investments, from classic handbags from Hermès and Bottega Veneta to Cartier fine jewelry and Rolex watches. You’ll also see a lot of shoes and accessories for men from Gucci and Louis Vuitton as well as women’s ready-to-wear from Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana for the opening.
The RealReal is celebrating 10 years in 2021. How has luxury consignment changed in that time? What does the future hold?
It’s been exciting to see more consumers and brands embrace resale — it’s become mainstream over the past decade. Resale is certainly not a trend that will go away, and we expect the number of people engaging in the circular economy to only grow, especially as consumers recognize its importance in combating fashion’s waste and pollution problem. This is a big part of why 40% of our customers are telling us they are shopping at The RealReal as a replacement for fast fashion.
Why was it important for The RealReal to include men’s items in its concept?
A common misconception of The RealReal is that we only carry women’s fashion, however, we accept items across all categories: fine jewelry and watches, women’s, men’s, home and art, and even kids. We were founded with the goal of extending the life of luxury goods, and that means accepting and carrying all categories in our stores.
Talk about the environmental benefits of luxury consignment shopping.
It’s no secret that fashion is one of the top-polluting industries in the world. In order to reduce its very problematic footprint, we need to keep items in circulation to avoid them being part of the garbage trucks’ worth of textiles that are landfilled or burned every second. Resale does this by extending the life cycle of items and putting them in the hands of new owners.
What’s your favorite piece that you have purchased from The RealReal?
My favorite item that I have bought is my Chanel interlocking leather mules. They are not only comfortable and perfect for all seasons, but they were brand new and I was able to get them at a great price.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
One of my favorite aspects of our stores is that we refresh items daily, meaning each visit is a new opportunity to discover new brands and one-of-a-kind pieces. Another fun fact: Everything in our Palm Beach store is for sale, including the furniture and art you see on the walls.