Luxury women’s consignment site unique offers a ‘unique closet-to-closet’ experience
By Kathy Day
Marie Green is putting her experience as a fashion stylist to work in a new way – as the San Diego merchandise manager for theRealReal.com, a luxury women’s consignment site.
The San Francisco-based company accepts only goods from a specified list of designers, be they clothes and shoes, jewelry, scarves or handbags, which Green says are the best- selling items on the site.
“Anything that women can wear on their bodies, even blankets, can be considered,” said Green, a Rancho Santa Fe resident who first learned about theRealReal when she and her husband were living temporarily in Northern California.
In a recent press release, founder and CEO Julie Wainright said, “For the first time, consumers of luxury fashion have an easy, secure and fun way to recycle their designer purchases to a mass audience of self-selected, interested buyers. We provide a unique ‘closet-to-closet’ experience and a stylish, fun shopping experience for anyone who loves designer fashion at a fabulous price point.”
Green said she learned about theRealReal when they were getting ready to move back to Rancho Santa Fe and found “a tenant that wanted to move in quickly.
With only two weeks to go, she decided to donate some things and consign those with higher value.
“I tested the waters and sent them 10 things that all sold immediately,” she said, adding that within six weeks she received a check.
Most consignment sites pay only 40 percent to 50 percent, but theRealReal pays 60 percent, she noted. If you sell more than $1,500 in goods in a year, the rate moves to 70 percent.
Shortly after her “test,” Green received a call from the company asking her to be their San Diego manager. In her role, she handles local advertising and for customers who consign 10 or more items, she will pick up and inspect the items – which must be clean and in good condition — before packing and shipping them to the company headquarters.
For those with fewer items, the company will arrange for free shipping via UPS, which comes in the form of a credit once the item has sold, according to the website.
She recently visited the office and got a great sense of the culture and the quality of the goods being resold through the site.
Once the items arrive the staff photographs and posts them on the site. Daily emails are sent to members showing the newest pieces, which on a recent day ranged from Gucci and Calvin Klein to Piazza Sempione and Theory. It also notes upcoming sales – in this case from Akris, Iron Lady and Bottega & Balenciaga – and the editor’s daily picks. And on Fridays, there’s a handbag sale.
To access the site, one must first sign up as a member, although there is no fee and no obligation, which Green says has become fairly routine practice with similar sites.
“To maintain the quality they like to know who’s looking at the site,” she explained.
There’s also an option to be a “first-look” member for $5 a month and a way to sign up as a consigner.
The site recently drew a rave review from the blog Fashionista. Com: “Despite its name, the price tags on the designer duds at TheRealReal are pretty unreal: Like, 90 percent off the original tickets, unreal.”
Green, who for a while wrote a fashion column for these newspapers, said she sees great value in theRealReal because it helps people let go of things they no longer wear.
In her role as a fashion stylist, she loves “going into closets and editing clothes.”
“We all have those days when we go into our closet and say, ‘I have all these clothes and nothing to wear,’” she said. “If a woman can’t get dressed in five minutes, they need a closet edit.”
Her own experience with the company has shown her that by having an opportunity to sell things you’re not using, you can buy items that are more up to date.
And, yes, she said, she has found herself selling her own clothes and buying new ones from the site.
“When I do the pick-ups, I see amazing merchandise,” she added. “I have to remind myself, I’m working.”
To learn more, sign up at www.theRealReal.com or e-mail Green at email@example.com.