9 to 5
Meet The Entrepreneur, Julie Wainwright of The RealReal
E-commerce pioneer Julie Wainwright isn’t your normal CEO. A dynamo with an affinity for “high, high heels,” she built her luxury-consignment empire the RealReal around raiding people’s closets. She answers our burning questions.
Julie Wainwright is the real deal. As founder and CEO of luxury-consignment website the RealReal, she has built an empire around raiding people’s closets.
The concept behind the site, which was founded in January 2011 and now boasts over a million members, is the resale of luxury consignment pieces: a slightly used Hermès bags, scores of Proenza Schouler sweaters, Chanel dresses, Christian Louboutin shoes. Her army of associates around the country go to people’s homes and take things (in good condition) that are on a list of preselected luxury and designer brands. They price and resell the items in a series of flash sales on TheRealReal.com—and the seller keeps 60 to 70 percent of the resale value.
Wainwright has over 10 years of experience as the CEO of different Web companies, from Reel.com to the now defunct pet-supply company Pets.com.
But with the RealReal, she hit on something basic: the idea that people are always looking to make money off of the stuff they no longer wear. Now the RealReal ships over 20,000 luxury items per month—and 55 percent of its shoppers come through their mobile devices. After all, one women’s trash is another’s treasure.
We asked Wainwright to fill out our new CEO questionnaire, 9 to 5. See her answers—as well as pictures of her favorite things—below.