- Robyn Turk |
The RealReal has moved to Brooklyn. The luxury consignment retailer has opened its third store in New York City, located in Cobble Hill, a trendy shopping district in Downtown Brooklyn.
Taking up 2,500 square feet of retail space at 163 Court Street, the new store offers two Luxury Consignment Offices and both women’s and men’s inventory across ready-to-wear, handbags, shoes and accessories, as well as jewelry and watches and home goods. Visitors may receive complimentary valuations from The RealReal experts, schedule in-person consignment appointments or curbside drop-off, same day in-store pick up of online orders and services such as cleaning, repairs and bespoke alterations.
The Brooklyn store features thousands of unique items and more online that can be virtually shopped during an in-store visit. One-of-a-kind pieces curated for Brooklyn shoppers will be added daily. Brand highlights include Prada, Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton Isabel Marant, Acne Studios and Chloé, and fine jewelry and watches by Rolex, Cartier, Anita Ko and Louis Vuitton, among others. Everything in the store is shoppable, including the furniture. Home and art designers include John Baldassari, Ellsworth Kelly and Bruce Nauman.
Brick and mortar is essential to The RealReal’s retail strategy
Despite several retailers adapting to digital-first approaches as a result of the pandemic, The RealReal said that stores are integral to its overall strategy. The Cobble Hill location is just the first of many new openings in 2021, as the retailer plans to open up to ten new stores in the coming quarters. “Stores boost our penetration in a market and drive supply, so brick and mortar is an important part of our strategic growth plan,” Courtney Hawkins, The RealReal’s vice president of retail, said in a statement. “Stores help us bring our brand to life, introducing new customers with an immersive experience and giving existing customers a physical touchpoint. They’re also a local neighborhood spot to shop, meet with our experts and drop off consignment.”
The company’s senior director of retail and experts, Dan Ocampo, added that “brick-and-mortar spaces go beyond shopping to create an elevated experience,” as they connect consumers with experts who can offer information and guidance. This expert guidance educates on resale value, which is an important component when shopping luxury consignment.
The RealReal moves to Brooklyn as the borough gains value
The RealReal is not alone in its move to Brooklyn, as demand for real estate is on the rise in the borough. According to a report by Norada Real Estate Investments, the Brooklyn market “is defying gloomy economic conditions with a competitive scene that continues to push real estate prices higher,” while Manhattan home prices have dipped. Rent figures have shown similar behavior - despite overall city rents dropping during the pandemic, Brooklyn prices have only gone down by 0.7 percent while Manhattan and Queens have dropped 3.9 and 5.5 percent respectively, according to information from Curbed. “One of our advantages going into any market is that we know what neighborhoods are central for our buyers and consignors,” Hawkins said. “Cobble Hill is an ideal location because it’s convenient for our existing base, and it’s a prime shopping and dining destination with great foot traffic to help increase our exposure to the local community.”
Inventory in the Cobble Hill location will reflect what The RealReal already knows of its consumer base in the neighborhood.
Sasha Skoda, The RealReal’s head of women’s, noted that “Brooklyn shoppers gravitate towards ready-to-wear, particularly compared to our Manhattan shoppers,” and therefore the store will stock casual and warm winter pieces at opening.
“We see stronger demand for casual and bohemian styles from our Millennial and Gen-Z shoppers in Brooklyn, so for the first time we’ll be featuring a dedicated vintage section in our store that includes both vintage and vintage-inspired clothing and handbags from designers like Gucci, Chanel, Christian Dior, Akris, Issey Miyake, and Missoni,” Skoda added.
However, Manhattan is not over for The RealReal. Hawkins concluded that the Brooklyn store will serve to complement the company’s Manhattan locations in Soho and the Upper East Side, offering their shoppers an additional place to shop and consign more locally.
Photos: Joyce Lee, courtesy of The RealReal