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|Julie Wainwright will dress you for success for less SAN FRANCISCO Julie Wainwright picks up a pair of Christian Louboutin leopard print heels and glows like a mother cat gazing at her cubs. "Just look at these, the soles have almost no wear," she says. "They cost more than $1,000 retail, and we ll sell them for around $600." Moncler Men Down Jackets Button No Hat Orange A few feet away, a pristine black and white Yves Saint Laurent jacket hangs on a rack. Wainwright s fingers dance across the delicate fabric, eventually stopping on an unexpected item hiding inside a pocket. "What do you know, it s the original price tag," she calls out. "It says $2,950. So, maybe $995?" This calculus is performed countless times a day here at TheRealReal, Wainwright s 2 year old company, which is fast filling a market void others didn t quite notice: an online shopping outlet for pre owned designer goods that are individually vetted by a staff of experts. Just don t call it a high end eBay. (Ask about that saga and you get exasperation, but more later.) "Fashion (resale) without curation and authentication falls down, so we re here to take the top end off eBay and the bottom end off Sotheby s and Christie s," says Wainwright, 56, who has spent the past 30 years in the tech scene but has only now started a venture from scratch. "When you re selling five figure (used) handbags, people want to know what they re getting." Wainwright just may have something, says Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst for the NPD Group. "The only people who don t like this model are retailers," he says. "(TheRealReal) has created a sophisticated site that is comfortable to use, and perhaps most importantly guarantees legitimate product." Cohen notes the e commerce company s timeliness in the wake of a crippling recession. "She gets the aspirational customer who wants to reward themselves with luxury goods, but for a good price," he says. "And there s always the quest for that NWT item, new with tag. That s the golden find." Over the past two years, TheRealReal has sold more than 250,000 items, and currently has 1.3 million members. Consigners initially keep 60% of the profits from sales, and can work their way up to 70% with increased transactions. Anyone looking to sell 10 or more well preserved designer goods typically clothing, shoes and jewelry gets a visit from one of the company s 22 fashion experts. They fly in, rummage through closets, catalog and ship the items back to TheRealReal s industrial headquarters, a former pie factory whose old ovens store pricey fare such as a Birkin bag that can fetch $10,000 in minutes. Those with just an item or two can consign by mailing them in, at which point they re eyeballed by Graham Wetzbarger, the company s director of authentication. Although the thick binders strewn around his desk are packed with designer good details, Wetzbarger is a walking anti fraud device. "We give people one pass if they send in a fake, because quite often they may have gotten it as a gift," he says, adding that out of the 5,000 items that arrive each week only five to 10 are knockoffs. "Mostly it s amazing stuff." Surrounding Wetzbarger and his staff the company employs 135, which includes merchandisers, customer service reps and photographers are shipments from around the country. Shoes from Dallas, shirts from Chicago, suits from Venice, Fla. Some of the consigners clearly are .01 percenters. Wainwright tells the story of one customer who was mailed a check for $180,000 for items sold on the site. "We had to ask her to please cash the check; it was affecting our books," Wainwright says with a laugh, segueing into the tale of a Chanel bag that arrived with $100,000 earrings inside. "The woman was relieved and said, Just send them FedEx, but we put someone on a plane and flew them back down to Los Angeles for her," she says. That crowd aside, Wainwright says her site s success is down to working women who want nice things but don t have time to troll consignment shops. Moncler Official Online Shop Women like Wainwright, who says that last year she sold around $22,000 worth of personal items on TheRealReal, and then turned around and spent that on the site. (Company policy prevents employees from cherry picking items before they go on sale. "If we did that, it d be like eating our young," she says.) "We provide a level of liquidity for things that people paid a lot for," she says. "I m happy to buy something that was previously owned, as long as I can get it conveniently." YEARS IN THE TECH TRENCHES Wainwright s business model conviction Fashion Moncler Mens Down Jackets Brownish Gray comes courtesy of years in the tech trenches. "I had reporters camping out at my door. It wasn t a fun time," she says, furrowing her brow. Besides, there were plenty of other dot com failures around then." It s suggested that maybe that sock puppet could be the culprit. "Maybe, but that means it was good marketing, too," she says, brightening. The idea came to her after watching a good friend "whose shopping habits I thought I knew" dive into the consignment area of a high end store where she spent $5,000 in 20 minutes. "I thought, what if that trusted shop was available to anyone? I studied the market and soon realized there was something there," she says, adding that she sees a big growth opportunity for TheRealReal in the men s department, particularly in the resale of high end watches, briefcases and shoes that often are more extravagant than those sent in by women. With its most recent round of financing adding $14 million to TheRealReal coffers, the company is poised to explore a variety of alleys that are offshoots off this high end curated and authenticated e commerce street. Most of all, however, Wainwright clearly is thrilled to at last be part of the entrepreneurial ranks. "I always had a deep respect for people who started businesses, but now I cherish them," says Wainwright. "There s a lot of anxiety and blood, sweat and tears that goes into this, and I love it." There s also an unstated upside to the potential success of TheRealReal that goes beyond financial lucre. Maybe one day soon, people will stop asking her about the sock puppet.
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Princesses Long Island finale recap "Princesses: Long Island" cast members, from left, Erica Gimbel, 29, Old Westbury; Joey Lauren Brodish, 30, Freeport; and Amanda Bertoncini, 27, Great Neck, enjoy the nautical ambience. (Credit: Bravo) "Princesses: Long Island" ended its 10 week reign on Bravo Sunday night, and did so relatively quietly, especially on the heels of an explosive second to last episode. And with the barrage of criticism the reality show received from many Long Islanders early on, "Princesses" seems to have ultimately played out like the month of March: In like a lion, out like a lamb. The question now is, will there be a season 2? No word yet from Bravo, though the cast is pushing for it on social media. A reunion special seems likely, since all the "Real Housewives" seasons get one, and this spring s "Married to Medicine" (a show more on par with "Princesses") did too. The finale episode left enough tension and unanswered questions to serve as reunion fodder, and even left the door open for a second season, should ratings convince the cable network it s worthwhile. In the meantime, cast members Chanel Omari, Ashlee White, Joey Lauren, Casey Cohen, Erica Gimbel and Amanda Bertoncini (plus Jeff and Babs!) probably have some regrets after seeing their lives play out on a show that played up a stereotype all at once based on geography, religion and socioecomonic status: the Jewish American Princess from Long Island. Here are five life lessons gleaned from the "Princesses": 1. Learn when to let go of the past Especially if the most painful part of your past is that time when the "hottest girl on Long Island" stole your boyfriend right before prom. Though this situation from 10 years ago was a huge source of contention between Casey and Erica at the beginning of the season, both seemed to have gradually moved beyond it, and have softened toward each other. Or maybe it just seems that way because they were hardly in any of the same scenes after episode 3. Regardless, Casey needs to focus on her present and future to truly be happy, and forget about wasting energy and emotions on Erica, who has apologized repeatedly and with whom Casey will probably never be friends. 2. Don t get your hopes up Even if you "really, really, really want to get married with Jeff." I KNEW Amanda s boyfriend of six months wasn t going to pop the question during that scene on the Long Island Rail Road (Bravo would not have teased it so obviously if he had!), but I was hoping for a move in with me proposal at the very least, not a promise ring. Amanda and Jeff seem to be on the marriage track though, so I d be willing to bet a Babs approved engagement is in their near future. 3. Stop trying Moncler Shirts Men to please everyone Chanel, I m looking at you. Whether it s family or friends, this princess was hyper aware of people s expectations and judgments the entire season, and for that I really felt bad for her. Constantly trying to predict another person s reaction to something or living up to someone else s plan for your life can only make you miserable. Do you, girl. 4. Playing victim is never a good look It s pathetic, not flattering or even strategic in an argument. Maybe Ashlee thinks acting like a victim the day of the "wine vineyard" tour from hell gives Moncler Men Down Jackets Zip With Hood Coffee her the last word in her war on Joey, thereby crowning her the winner. She s wrong. More than that, her retelling of the events of that day make her seem borderline delusional. Erica should never have brought up the beef between Ashlee and Joey during lunch if she really wanted the group to enjoy the day, but that aside, Ashlee was looking for a fight. No matter how many times Joey said hashing it out with her in front of the other girls at that moment was not important to her and not something she wanted to do at that moment, Ashlee would not stop bringing up the "funny looking" comment and more. She provoked aggressively, then said she was attacked even going so far as to compare the fight to pitbulls attacking a teacup Yorkie (Ashlee being the Yorkie). Please. Not only does Ashlee walk away from the table to call her parents (big surprise), all the while hyperventilating into the phone ("Help. me") and asking if they can charter her a private plane from the East End to Roslyn (she can t be serious), the 30 year old disappears down the rural highway, leaving Chanel to search for her for hours. According to Ashlee, she had a panic attack on the side of the road and hitchhiked to a hospital, where "they had to give me a Benadryl." If that series of events is not a desperate cry for attention I don t know what is. The worst part is that she blames Joey, Amanda and Erica for a) essentially putting her in the hospital, and b) "not caring" that she ended up in the hospital. Ashlee, you did that to yourself. No one could have predicted, as they were leaving to meet Erica s father on his yacht after you made them two hours late for that, that your health would be jeopardized later that day. Come to find out, Ashlee had had a stroke that left her bedridden for eight months just a year earlier. While that is completely unfortunate, it doesn t mean anyone (besides Ashlee) should have acted any differently at the vineyard. Falling victim to a terrible circumstance (such as having a stroke) does not give a person a free pass to play victim in every other situation for the rest of their life. 5. Don t take sides in an argument you weren t there to witness Casey asking Amanda to meet up just to berate her for how she handled the vineyard fight was totally off base. Casey wasn t even there that day! All she knows about what happened is what Ashlee and Chanel told her and we all know how rational Ashlee s version probably was (not). As for Chanel, I completely Moncler Kids Down Jacket Multiple Logo Sky Grey understand why she feels protective over her friend, especially knowing Ashlee s recent health struggles. But sometimes being a good friend means being honest and telling a person when she s in the wrong. Casey goes on and on about the importance of loyalty, but she s ultimately doing her friendship with Ashlee (and Amanda) a disservice if she continues to defend her blindly.