Rati Levesque, chief merchant at The RealReal, joined Glossy+ members for a Slack chat on Tuesday. Signing on 2011, Levesque was The RealReal founder Julie Wainwright’s first employee. She is now responsible for the company’s merchandising, editorial and creative vision.
Levesque discussed streetwear’s effect on luxury, the relationship between resellers and brands, and the role of brick-and-mortar in today’s retail market. The full conversation is available exclusively to Glossy+ members, but lightly edited excerpts appear below. Click here to join Glossy+.
Where do you think the relationship between brands and resellers is heading?
Brands are coming around. We’ve just extended our partnership with Stella McCartney, for example. If you buy a Stella item and consign it with us, you’re likely to take the money you earn and go back to the primary market to purchase. And other brands are starting to see the value of consignment for their brands.
When we first realized this was a viable business almost eight years ago, people started calling us when they were making a purchase on the primary market to find out what would have the best value on the resale market. We were really changing the behavior of how people shop.
What’s the role of brick-and-mortar in retail today?
How we think about retail is more around the halo effect. We see our customers and consigners are more engaged when they come in through brick-and-mortar. Over time, their spend or consignment increases more rapidly. Retail is also about the experience. People want to drop off consignments and get real-time information about resale value. They can do that now in our stores in NYC and L.A., as well as in our nine luxury consignment offices.
Are you focusing more on a message of sustainability than in the past?
Sustainability has always been a core value, but we have been getting more creative in building it into the experience in a more organic way to the consigner. For example, we launched a sustainability calculator last year, and it will be coming to the “My Consigner” page soon to show customers the positive impact their consignment is having on the planet.