What the unicorn IPO of The RealReal says about the circular economy for fashion

By Holly Secon
August 9, 2019

For the past eight years, online lux­u­ry con­sign­ment plat­form The Real­Re­al’s vir­tu­al mar­ket­place has been open for buy­ing and sell­ing every­thing from Guc­ci sneak­ers to Coach bags 24/​7. Ear­li­er this sea­son, it opened up for trad­ing in anoth­er mar­ket: the stock market.

San Fran­cis­co-based The Real­Re­al had been val­ued at $1 bil­lion when it was pri­vate — offi­cial­ly plac­ing it in “uni­corn” ter­ri­to­ry, as a pri­vate­ly held start­up with a val­u­a­tion of $1 bil­lion or more. When it filed to go pub­lic in the spring, its ini­tial mar­ket cap was rough­ly $1.7 bil­lion, and it fin­ished that first week with shares trad­ing for a total of around $2.5 billion.

The tim­ing of The Real­Re­al’s IPO comes among a spate of IPOs this year for star­tups pio­neer­ing shared and shar­ing ser­vice mod­els: mobile ride hail­ers, Uber and Lyft; home-shar­ing plat­form, AirBnb; and online mar­ket­place for third-par­ty and in-house fash­ion brands, Revolve (there are also rumors of The Real­Re­al’s main rival, Posh­mark, anoth­er online appar­el mar­ket­place, IPO-ing soon).

Among these, though, The Real­Re­al’s achieve­ment stands out — its suc­cess comes at a time where brick-and-mor­tar retail con­sump­tion pat­terns are chang­ing, while the unsus­tain­abil­i­ty of the appar­el space grows greater every sea­son. It also shows just how much con­sumer inter­est there is in the “shar­ing mod­el,” which will be key to scal­ing the cir­cu­lar economy.

To read the full arti­cle, vis­it Green­Biz