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The RealReal, New York City

Make Well. Buy Well. Re-Sell.

A celebration of artists, designers and quality craftsmanship

Nigel Gillingham

For a fantastic example both social responsibility and sustainability we need look no further than New York’s The RealReal.  Situated on Wooster Street in New York’s Soho, CEO Julie Wainwright started the business online from her kitchen table, visiting customers to collect their resale items with a truck.  Her website went on to become America’s premiere luxury resale site and now has two concept stores in the US; in New York and LA.  Both are a completely immersive celebration of artists, designers and quality craftsmanship and a delight to visit. 

In its inspiring New York store, The RealReal sets out to revolutionise the luxury consumer experience. 

A team of 100+ expert authenticators inspect all items for resale to ensure they are real and on finishing with them, customers are actively encouraged to re-consign them and extend the item's life.

Along with H&M, The RealReal is a member of the Ellen McArthur Foundation’s CE100.  The CE100 are companies who support a circular economy, which is about utilizing items for as long as possible and getting the maxiumum value out of quality goods.

They are also partnered with Stella McCartney, meaning customers who consign a Stella McCartney item get $100 to spend at a Stella McCartney retail store.

The stats for this flourishing new sector are very encouraging.  The resale market share is predicted to have risen from $20billion to $41billion by 2022; a growth of 15%, while retail apparel is predicted to grow by just 2%.  To date the RealReal has sold more than 6million pre-owned items; a brilliant result for the world’s landfills.

Bearing all this in mind, I felt compelled to buy my wife a new handbag….(not sure I’m going to tell my daughter about it yet though)!