God, how I love fantasy shopping. You know, the kind where your editor tells you to hit The RealReal store and find seven spectacular, unexpected, and one-of-a-kind treasures—and money is no object.
My request for a shopping budget was denied—can't blame a girl for trying—but I'm thrilled with the plum assignment nonetheless.
As a longtime seller, shopper, and mostly, err, browser of the online luxury-consignment marketplace, I was giddy upon learning that an 8,000-square-foot IRL flagship was headed to Hermès' former Union Square location. Opening day arrived last week, and TRR's dual Post Street and Maiden Lane entrances have been bustling ever since.
No doubt people are curious to see how the company chose to translate its vast secondhand luxury inventory from cyberspace to tony commercial space. The answer? It took the high road. While there's a wide range of prices online, including plenty of scores under $100, the majority of items in store fall in the mid-to-high three-digit range and well beyond. (Reminder: Pretend shopping doesn't cost a thing.)
When I arrive at 253 Post Street, the gleaming store is abuzz. There's so much vying for my attention: cases of glittery jewelry and expensive-looking watches; pristine Guccis, Birkins and Chanels sporting Insta-ready poses behind glass cabinets; designer frocks meticulously arranged on sleek racks; a children's area with a teensy table and matching mini mid-century modern leather chairs; and a bright café with impossible-to-ignore donuts, cookies, and oversized croissants from Mr. Holmes Bakehouse.
I'm immediately verklempt.
Luckily, there's a shopping sherpa to guide me through the store and help me complete the mission. Her name is Erin Santy, and she's TRR's Head of Communications. Translation: She knows from whence she shops.
As we walk through the various sections of the store, including men's on the lower level, she explains how "stealth luxury"—or a quieter take on luxury—informs the store design and differentiates SF customers from those in L.A. or NYC who tend to be more overt (read: showy) with their fashion choices.
Santy confirms that everything in the store, including furniture and displays, is for sale. And, yes, everything is consigned—except for beauty products. Truth is, many of the covetable designer things still cling tightly to their original tags. As the saying goes: one person's remorseful purchase is another buyer's dream.
In between pulling out blingy diamond earrings and showing off an $18,000 five-panel art piece inspired by SF neighborhoods, Santy shares a few insider tips for shopping the brick-and-mortar: One, make sure to have your TRR app handy because scanning an item's ticket may reveal that it's been marked down. Two, if you're looking for something specific, pre-shop beforehand by using the Find in Store filter online. Three, engage the TRR experts and sales folks…much of the inventory isn't displayed on the floor, and they know what exists behind the scenes (light-bulb emoji).
After a fun couple of hours, drumroll, please, I finally land on my magnificent seven (see them in the slideshow above). And even though I leave the store empty-handed, I'm sweetly satisfied and flush with fashion inspiration. So what if the scrumptious churro croissant I scarfed has something to do with it? (Good call, Erin).
// 253 Post St. (Union Square), therealreal.com
(Illustration by Robert Nicol)