To: Julie Wainwright, founder and CEO of The RealReal

Dear Julie,

With The RealReal’s network of more than 8 million members, shoppers increasingly go to you to purchase high-end consignment items. Driving your mission to extend the lifeline of luxury clothes and accessories, you connect customers with authenticated products and offer in-store product valuations and educational shopping events, bringing new accessibility to the market.

Together, all of these services help to expand and destigmatize the secondhand luxury market. But moving forward, there’s a way you can tap into your network of members and experts, celebrating the luxury secondhand market while building a community around your brand.

Here’s one idea about how to do it.

Launch RealTalk.

Right now, the conversation about secondhand luxury fashion is fragmented, living on message boards, Instagram and various blogs. But with The RealReal’s network of members and company experts, you can create a next-generation hub that unites all of these players in conversation and brings in new customers.

What if you launched RealTalk, a community forum on The RealReal’s site? With RealTalk, anyone interested in high-fashion, from neophytes to aficionados, could come together to discuss trends, ask questions and celebrate the secondhand luxury market.

RealTalk would function similar to the menswear online community Styleforum and different subreddits, but with some distinct advantages.

To start, you could enlist a number of your experts from brand specialists to stylists and fine jewelry buffs to spark conversation and offer advice about the market. The platform would be free and open to anyone, but to read or participate, visitors would sign up as a TheRealReal member just like anyone else. Providing luxury consignment shoppers with insights from authorities in the space and placing the forum side-by-side with your marketplace would grow The RealReal network and lead to an influx of customer acquisitions and sales, bringing an important top-of-the-funnel mechanism to the company.

No full-price designer brand or luxury business utilizes this type of forum, nor does any position itself as open and accessible. However, these are some of The RealReal’s key strengths, which RealTalk can help activate further. Alongside your in-store workshops about authentication and building luxury collections, RealTalk also creates a community around The RealReal brand and could even lead to in-person meetups at your brick-and-mortar locations. That way, when shoppers receive compliments on their secondhand Louis Vuitton bag or Chanel jacket, they won’t say it’s consignment—they’ll say they got it at The RealReal.

This is just one idea that could elevate The RealReal as the go-to secondhand luxury brand. Let me know if you’d like to hear more.

Richie Siegel
Founder and Lead Analyst
Loose Threads