The old thrift shops and consignment stores were not shopper friendly. Trying to sort through racks and racks of clothes separated by color instead of quality gave shoppers a reason not to buy. Even the new consignment stores don’t do much when it comes to encouraging shoppers to buy that vintage Louis Vuitton bag that is at the bottom of a stack of bags and purses that sit on one of those folding steel tables. Those tables may be cost-effective for consignment merchants, but they turn people off especially when they are looking for items that have quality in their fabric DNA.
But in spite of poor displays, a lack of knowledgeable sales staff, and questionable locations, selling clothing and other items in consignment stores, thrift shops, and online websites is a $16 billion industry. Most consignment stores still try to move merchandise in stores that feel like the electric company is going to turn the lights off any minute. But one San Francisco merchant, Rati Levesque, understands the economics of buying and selling pre-owned quality clothes and shoes, so she decided to change the consignment shopping experience. Rati Levesque saw a void in the consignment industry, so she helped build another consignment model called The RealReal that offers pre-owned luxury items in luxury settings.
The RealReal gives clients a chance to sell their Louis Vuitton bags or Manolo Blahnik shoes in stores have a cutting-edge look in the consignment industry. Levesque’s consignment model has the history to back up its claim that it is the number one consignment concept in the business. In fact, the company stores in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, as well as their website store, have a successful consignment history. Since its inception in 2011, the company consigned and sold more than $8 million worth of clothing, shoes, home goods, and accessories in their stores. And now that the word is out, the company has 9 million active members who do a large portion of their luxury item shopping the Levesque way.
The thing that separates The RealReal luxury shopping experience from other consignment stores is obvious. Levesque wants to show people that buying quality merchandise is part of an economic cycle. When a woman buys a new Louis Vuitton purse, she can get 60 to 80 percent of her money back when she wants to change to another high-quality purse if she uses Levesque consignment concept.
Rati Levesque consignment concept is not just about selling quality merchandise at consignment prices. Her consignment concept is all about education. Levesque’s stylists know what’s trending and what’s flat. Company stylists let consigning members know when to sell, and when to keep certain luxury items. Selling at the consignment level is all about timing, according to Rati. Her stores adjust prices based on supply and demand. And the stylists let members know what’s hot at what price.
The key to Rati Levesque success is she knows people want to look different. And she knows they want to buy quality merchandise at a reasonable price. Quality merchandise does not have to have a down and dirty price tag to sell. It just has to look the part and be in a store that represents quality at decent prices. And that’s what Levesque is famous for. She knows how to sell the sizzle of luxury merchandise when that luxury merchandise is ready to find another home. It’s all about finding the right fit, and the right look, at the right time, according to Levesque. Her clients say she gives them what they want when they sell and when they buy from one of her company’s locations.