Neiman Marcus teams with luxury consignment startup The RealReal

USA TODAY
July 22, 2015

By Marco della Cava:  USA TODAY SAN FRANCISCO – Julie Wain­wright has long been eager to be firmly asso­ci­ated with some­thing other than Pets​.com, the once high-​​flying dot-​​com dis­as­ter with that sock pup­pet mas­cot. After more than a decade, she may finally get her wish.

Wainwright’s bur­geon­ing startup, The Real­Real, which con­signs pricey lux­ury goods such as Louboutin shoes and Chanel bags, has steadily been gain­ing cul­tural steam and finan­cial security.

The RealReal’s lat­est bid for per­ma­nence hap­pens Thurs­day, when the com­pany expands a beta pro­gram it tested in six Neiman Mar­cus stores to 34 loca­tions and becomes the ultra-​​chic store’s offi­cial part­ner in help­ing well-​​heeled cus­tomers unload their used goods.

This is this first time a major U.S. retailer is acknowl­edg­ing a real shift by high-​​end con­sumers toward value,” says Wain­wright. “It gives these fan­tas­tic items a true lifecycle.”

The Neiman Mar­cus part­ner­ship means store per­son­nel will advise cus­tomers that The­Re­al­Real is avail­able to resell their goods. When there’s inter­est, Wainwright’s staff of apprais­ers take over, col­lect­ing the items and han­dling the rest of the sale process.

Con­signors get 60% of the sell­ing price. That jumps to 70% once a cus­tomer hits $7,500 in sales with The­Re­al­Real. If sell­ers opt to take their pay­outs in the form of a Neiman Mar­cus gift card, they receive an addi­tional 10%.

After see­ing the increased demand for this ser­vice since its pilot pro­gram launched in Feb­ru­ary, we rec­og­nized the ben­e­fit of offer­ing the ser­vice to our cus­tomers across the coun­try,” says Neiman Mar­cus chief mar­ket­ing offi­cer Wanda Geirhart.

Wainwright’s early dot-​​com expe­ri­ence gave her the name recog­ni­tion to raise cap­i­tal in 2011 for a ven­ture that sprung from her love of fash­ion and good deals.

So far, The­Re­al­Real has raised $83 mil­lion, includ­ing a $40 mil­lion Series D round last April led by Indus­try Ven­tures. Wain­wright adds that this year the com­pany is look­ing to dou­ble sales to $200 mil­lion, and pay out an esti­mated $100 mil­lion to con­signors. It has sold more than a mil­lion items to date.

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