Consignment Shopping at The RealReal: How to spot authentic items

At the Wooster Street store, owner and founder Julie Wainwright of “The RealReal”, opened up a consignment shopping warehouse to inspire the fashion world. She opened the store based on the acquired belief that authenticity is necessary. She states that authenticity one of the most focused aspects of her business.

Founded in 2011, she employs a team of fashion experts, who can guarantee a shopper that their Givenchy or Chanel handbag is real and authentic. However, the items in her store are secondhand. Consignment shopping is where one is hunting for the latest fashion finds to go in line with their style. In contrast, it can also be an acquired practice that allows for amazing treasures at incredible prices. Whether there is success in your shopping, she encourages motivation and she’s aimed at making high fashion accessible with free authenticity workshops.

This particular workshop was held on a Tuesday night in SoHo, where eight women and two men were in attendance, and elegantly dressed for the occasion. The store’s learning session was accompanied by champagne, cake, and of course, designer (or soon to be determined) handbags! The workshop was called a handbag-valuation for Birkin luxury designer brand. Shocked reactions were given when the attendees evaluated a small Birkin bag that turned out to be authentic and valued at $10,000. The store associate suggested that shoppers use a checklist when evaluating handbags to check for things such as stitching, leather and smooth functionality.

Julie Wainwright states that this type of business is unique, and something other retailers can’t provide. She put good time and investment into the fashion world based on her own shopping experiences as a secondhand shopper. She believes that it is a joy to help secondhand-luxury buyers feel accepted and welcomed into the wonderful fashion world.

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