HOW MUCH CAN YOU HELP THE ENVIRONMENT BY CONSIGNING?
If you’ve been shopping The RealReal and consigning for a while, you’re probably aware that it’s a more sustainable way to consume fashion (if you haven’t consigned, here’s how to get started). Consignment keeps luxury items in circulation, extending their lives and supporting the circular economy. Last year, we rolled out the results of our custom sustainability calculator which showed the positive environmental savings from items consigned on The RealReal, which is currently up to 329 million liters of water. And now, consignors will also be able to see the impact of their own personal consignments. Just look up your My Sales page, and you’ll see how many liters of water and driving miles you can proudly claim to have offset. To kick off this feature and celebrate our consignors’ environmental savings, we asked some members of team TRR to share their stats and what consignment and sustainability mean to them.
Christine Braganza, Associate Group Director
How did you get started consigning? I started consigning right about when I first worked for The RealReal. I was just about to schedule an appointment when I found out I got the job. This was 4+ years ago.
What was the first piece you ever consigned? The piece that started it all were these cream Alexander Wang lace-up booties. I remember buying them and thinking I didn’t know when I would ever wear them in NYC since they were cream. All I could think about was how not to go about ruining them. Once I consigned them, I was hooked. I was so happy to make some money back on them and I realized there were so many other things that had been sitting in my closet over the years.
What does it mean to you to see the environmental impact of pieces you’ve consigned? It’s amazing. I had never even thought about the impact it was making until I started working here. It would kill me to give things away not knowing where they would go and what would happen to them. Now I know it’s going to someone who wants it and that it doesn’t end up wasting away somewhere.
How often do you consign? I try to do it at least once a month. Once the new season starts and I flip my closet, I make sure to do a bigger round!
How do you decide what to let go of? For me, the minute I think of selling something, I know it’s time for it to go. I know I won’t want to wear it as much and it’s better to give it up now, while it’s more current versus waiting another two years, sitting there, taking up space in my closet. Also, anything that I feel I’ve worn too much or bought for a specific event or party tends to go right away.
Are there other things you do to live more sustainably? I try to be mindful of waste. You don’t realize how much plastic and excess we come across on a daily basis and it’s being mindful of how we minimize what we use.
Lindsey Taft, Merchandise Manager
How did you get started consigning? I first started consigning with The RealReal back in 2016 but I’ve been a big believer in resale (both buying and selling) ever since college when it was the only way I could have access to luxury fashion. It’s really exciting to see resale growing more and more as a standard in the luxury world today — it’s about time!
What are some of the pieces you consigned to get to these numbers? My first few consignments with The RealReal consisted of a handful of pieces that I impulse-purchased and never wore. With luxury goods, I think it’s very common for people to get excited about something and make a big purchase only to find it just sits in their closet, which is why it’s so great that TRR exists — anyone who’s ever been to an NYC sample sale knows what I mean! Nowadays I am way more thoughtful about what I’m buying and I always consider the resale value of an item before I purchase it.
What does it mean to you to see the environmental impact of pieces you’ve consigned? Being sustainable is a top priority for me and I always try to consider my impact on the environment whenever I’m making a purchase, no matter how big or small. Seeing the impact I’ve been able to make from consigning with The RealReal is so inspiring, especially since I’m just one person! In today’s world it’s easy to forget that we can all make a difference in our everyday actions and this new sustainability calculator is a good reminder that we can.
How do you decide what to let go of? For me, consigning with The RealReal justifies my future purchases. Every month or so I’ll do a scan of my wardrobe for pieces I just don’t wear as much as I had hoped to that are taking up space. It can be hard to let go of things, but knowing I can consign these items and replace them with something new that I will wear and love makes that decision a lot easier.
Are there other things you do to live more sustainably? Washing your clothes by hand to save water and having your favorite pieces repaired rather than replacing are two great ways to be sustainable when it comes to your wardrobe. In general I always try my best to avoid plastic at all costs and reuse when I can’t. Walking or biking when possible is also a great way to be sustainable, especially if you live in a city!
Molly Nelson, Inside Sales Director
How did you get started consigning? I began consigning in 2014 when I started at TRR. Learning the ins and outs of the consignment process was crucial to my role of on-boarding new consignors and helping them through our service. I knew I had to experience the process first hand, so I started with just a few items and now I’m totally hooked.
How often do you consign? I try to consign every 2-3 months, but honestly, it all depends on my buying habits. If I want to buy something, something from my closet has to go first. The more I consign the more I can buy!
What are some of the pieces you consigned to get to these numbers? Handbags are my favorite category to consign. I just consigned my Céline Luggage tote and it sold at the very same price I purchased it for two years earlier. It felt so good to get a 70% return on my initial investment. After it sold, I listed another Phoebe Philo Céline bag because interest in the brand had spiked and I decided that now was the time to sell while demand was so strong.
What does it mean to you to see the environmental impact of pieces you’ve consigned? It’s the icing on the cake! On top of feeling like I’m making smart investments, it feels wonderful to know that I’m helping offset my environmental footprint. I’ll be honest, I don’t always make the most environmentally friendly decisions – I eat meat, travel by plane a lot, and definitely crank my heat up at the slightest sign of a chill. Knowing that I’m extending the life cycle of the clothing I buy instead of contributing to more waste makes me feel really good about my purchases.
How do you decide what to let go of? I consign items that no longer fit into my lifestyle. Right now, my eight-month-old controls my life so my style is pretty casual with a focus on soft, washable fabrics and (fairly) comfortable shoes. This month, I’m consigning a few dry clean only silk blouses so I can purchase new sturdy staples from Xirena, Mother Denim and Apiece Apart. I’m also dying for a pair of Hermès Oran sandals. I’ll be consigning a couple pairs of my Manolo heels to help fund them.
Are there other things you do to live more sustainably? Carpool and take public transit whenever possible! Living in the Bay Area, I’m lucky enough to have access to BART and I also take something called Casual Carpool to get to work everyday. It’s a really cool informal carpool group that has been around since the ‘70s. I love not only lowering my carbon footprint but also snagging a free ride to work!
Jory Bidart, Senior Project Manager
How did you get started consigning? I started selling clothing about 10 years ago. I used to wear a lot of vintage and shop for home decor at flea markets. It was not lost on me that I could wear and use pieces and recoup much of what I spent on them.
What are some of the pieces you consigned to get to these numbers? Looking back at my past consignments, I can see my style has evolved. Some items just didn’t end up fitting as I hoped and didn’t get the wear I thought they would.
What does it mean to you to see the environmental impact of pieces you’ve consigned? It feels great to know that consigning has offset the footprint of roughly 102 showers or almost three round-trip drives to LA. All these little actions we take add up!
How often do you consign? I have been consigning more and more. I used to wait until I had a bunch of items but now I consign more frequently when I have just a few things.
Are there other things you do to live more sustainably? I avoid plastic as much as I can by not ordering take out, bringing my own grocery and vegetable bags and using reusable water bottles and my own mug for coffee.
Ready to start making an impact? Get started with a consignment here.