Fashion & Beauty

The RealReal . . . The Real Truth

IF YOU’VE BEEN following along as we play “Sell Your Fancy Stuff on The,” you will know that I had some early luck selling a Kelly bag. Now what?

Among the things I consigned, I figured there was something for everyone. Maybe not.

Does anyone really wear scarves? Or do they simply collect them as I seem to have done? Whatever the answer, the fact is that the two Hermès scarves I consigned—“La Vie à Cheval,” knights and their mounts all in fancy dress, and “Qu’Importe Le Flacon,” a giddy assortment of antique perfume bottles—are still hanging out there on the site capturing little or no attention (that’s hard to know as the number of lookers is  not listed or even, possibly known). At $260 each, they’re pricy, sure, but that’s lower than the $395 retail price. Other scarves in those patterns have big, bold SOLD labels on them, so maybe these things take time.

The sturdy, comfortable Kate Spade New York shoulder bag was introduced on the site at $65 and is not as serious-looking as I’m making it sound: It still has a polka-dot lining, a nice Kate Spade touch. (My “Luxury Manager” pointed out its desirability because it was made before Spade sold her company to the folks who also own Coach and Stuart Weitzman.) Still, nothing.

Ditto the Bottega Veneta tote and the Barry Kieselstein-Cord alligator-head ear clips.

So, what does this mean? Well, for one thing, it suggests that only the flashiest and fanciest items get the attention of The RealReal’s customer base. That’s certainly what get touted in the emails I get, sometimes twice in a day, from The RealReal.

Today’s emails: “It’s the Bag of the Season,” reporting on the return (did it go somewhere?) of the shoulder bag and showing not one but several high-octane bags from Prada, Hermès and Gucci; and “Jewelry Essentials: The Brighter, the Better,” which meant gold and diamonds, not red or orange, as I thought it might.

It’s no secret that The RealReal has made its rep on the uppest-scale merchandise out there; that’s what the “real” is all about, a place where you can shop used luxury goods with confidence that the stuff is what it claims to be. Speaking for The RealReal, marketing manager Ally Dukkers said in an email that “a fair number of Birkin” bags have passed through the web pages of the site. The company even has a “handbag vault” in its Los Angeles store where you can pet the Birkins. (The site, not the vault, has some super-high-value Birkins, ranging from $17,000 to $61,000, some because of the crocodile they’re made of, others because they’re one-of-a-kind artist collaborations.)

The site likes to sell items in about 30 days, and my things have just about hit that mark now. But the consignment agreement says that official RealReal consignment period is 365 days. I guess it could take that long for all 6 million RealReal “members” in 65 countries to decide if a Kate Spade shoulder bag or Hermès scarf is what they’re looking for.

But the LittleBirds aren’t giving up: LittleBird Janet has just shipped off a few choice fashion items. We’ll see how that goes too.

—Nancy McKeon

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