After opening stores on the East and West coasts, The RealReal is putting down roots in the Midwest.
The luxury consignment marketplace on Friday opened its newest and largest flagship store in Chicago at 940 North Michigan Ave. on the city’s famed Magnificent Mile shopping district, adding to a pair of New York City shops and one store apiece in its San Francisco hometown and in Los Angeles. The new 12,000-square-foot store is opening ahead of schedule, as founding CEO Julie Wainwright told analysts during an August earnings call that the location would open “sometime in November” to “take advantage of the holiday selling season.”
Shoppers at the upscale Magnificent Mile consignment destination can browse a selection of women’s and men’s ready-to-wear, shoes, handbags and accessories, fine jewelry and watches, home and art, and beauty across the main and mezzanine levels. All items in the store, including furniture, art and decor, are available for sale, including Yeezy and Jordan sneakers, iconic outerwear from Burberry and Moncler, and clothing from Louis Vuitton and Gucci, among resale’s most in-demand labels.
The store’s product mix reflects the resale sector’s prevailing trends in a year that has seen the coronavirus pandemic spark new buying behavior. During the August call, Wainwright said, “women’s apparel, specifically, has lessened as a percent of our mix by just a few points, but handbags…and in particular, fine jewelry—man, home and art actually have grown.”
The RealReal’s new Chicago outpost, which will help create 50 local jobs, also houses a luxury consignment office and Café focused on sustainable and clean eating with menu options sourced from local producers. The company says sustainability is at the core of the new store, which incorporates sustainable materials, refurbishes vintage furniture, and leverages compostable packaging for the cafe. Other areas include a glass-encased watchmaker station, an onsite tailer and a tailoring department on the mezzanine level, a full suite of repair services for handbags, jewelry and watches, plus a team of onsite handbag experts, stylists, resale specialists and valuation managers. One special feature of the flagship is the inclusion of a Chicago-inspired sneaker loop and works by local artists.
The store incorporates local influences like works created by area artists and a “sneaker loop,” or sneaker display, inspired by the city’s iconic Chicago Loop district encompassing vibrant shops, eateries and local businesses. Bianca Wendt, senior creative director for The RealReal, describes the design for the sneaker fixture as a “bleacher-style structure” that’s “topped with a ticker-tape that shows what’s going up or down in value, similar to the stock market.”
Rati Levesque, chief operating officer for The RealReal, says the company’s growing fleet of stores differentiate themselves for “how far beyond the transaction they go.”
“Stores are a way for us to deeply engage with our community, which is why experts and services are at the heart of our store experience,” Levesque said of the new location, which features retractable shopping closets that can “bring hundreds of additional items into the store.” “Opening our largest store yet gives us even more opportunity to create a rich experience for buyers and consignors. We hope this new flagship store will drive even more Chicagoans to support resale and help us make fashion more sustainable.”
Additional reporting by Jessica Binns.