Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Reselling More with The RealReal

In late 2021, I had a bunch of like-new items - including my Equipment silk blouses, that Babaa sweater and a Babaa lounge set, and a bunch of Smythson notebooks (similar, affiliate link) I bought on sale (that turned out not to suit my subsequently developed interest in fountain pens and colorful inks because the pale blue Smythson paper obscured some ink colors) - which I decided to resell through The RealReal ("TRR"). It'd been two years since I last had anything suitable for sending to TRR, and this time, most of my items for consignment were a lot newer than the ones from last time. 

As in 2019, my main reason for deciding to resell with TRR was that I prioritized ease and convenience over total returns. Last time around, none of my items were particularly new or in-demand, and I thought it was pretty certain that if I tried to list them myself on eBay, Poshmark, etc., it'd take weeks or months and a few rounds of re-listing to successfully sell them. This time around, I did think a number of my items - particularly the Babaa clothing - should have been reasonably easy to resell directly to other individuals fairly quickly, and for a much better price than the TRR commission. But alas, between work stress and pandemic stress, I wasn't really up for handling the listing and shipment of my items myself. 

Once again, I was fairly satisfied with my TRR consignment experience. Like in 2019, my only real goal was to successfully resell these items after having spent as little of my time or effort as possible to accomplish that. Obviously, by using TRR, I knew I couldn't be too picky about the price they chose to sell my items for because I had absolutely no choice in the matter. I also knew I'd only get 40-50% of the TRR sale price as a commission. 

All my items sold incredibly quickly this time, often within a week of each listing going live. That does suggest I could have had far better returns fairly quickly if I resold the items myself, without using TRR as a middleman, but alas, I wasn't really in a position to do that. 

The only thing that's really changed since 2019 for NYC-based TRR resellers, at least as far as I can tell, is that they now have another location available in NYC for in-person consignment drop-off. Instead of going to their stores in Soho or the Upper East Side, I went to their consignment office in Midtown. The "Curbside Consignment" appointment option is a bit of a misnomer, as one does need to go upstairs to their 12th floor office to do the drop-off. It's a very bare-bones and quick process, the receptionist will take your items in and put them in a bag for shipment to one of TRR's warehouses - I think in New Jersey - for processing. At least for what I brought in, he final decision about whether TRR will accept your item for consignment is made at the warehouse. They'll ship any rejected items back to you for free. 

Much like in 2019, different items took varying amounts of time to process. My Smythson stationery processed the fastest, within three business days or so after arriving at their warehouse. Clothing generally took a bit longer, up to nearly two weeks after arriving at the warehouse. After processing and after TRR has photographed the item, it can take another two or three days for the listing to go live. In general - except for the most high-demand brands or types of items - most items sold by TRR are eligible for customers to use a 20% off discount code on them immediately upon listing.

All the Smythson stationery I sent was brand new in its box from the store. The clothing items were barely worn a handful of times - the Babaa items were also only ever worn indoors at home, with tees layered under the sweaters to protect them from antiperspirant or sweat - and had only ever been gently hand washed or professionally dry cleaned. 

The only item TRR rejected was the Equipment blouse in cream silk (similar, affiliate link) I originally purchased from them back in early 2015, they claimed it had interior staining. I don't think it did, as I inspected it carefully before bringing it in, but oh well. I guess that means TRR does try to be careful about scrutinizing items before accepting them for consignment!

I'm a bit disappointed in myself for buying all those Babaa items in the earliest months of the pandemic, as those items turned out to be such a dud for me. I really should have known that buying items inspired by the very big - but ultimately temporary - lifestyle disruption of strict social distancing would not be a good idea in the long run! But hopefully the buyers for my Babaa items on TRR feel like got a good deal and will put them to good use. 

That super-chunky Babaa No. 15 jumper was just way too oversized and bulky for me. I've certainly learned my lesson now that any sweater that can't be comfortably layered under any of my coats just can't be practical for my lifestyle. As for the merino wool lounge set, I loved the color, but I was just too scared of getting it dirty while going about my day at home or while cooking, so I always preferred to wear my other lounge clothes in machine washable materials instead. (Strictly speaking, merino wool may also be machine washable. But because I've had such bad luck in the past with Madewell or J.Crew merino wool shrinking from being machine-washed in cold water in a mesh laundry bag - even when I laid it flat to air-dry - I just can't bring myself to do anything but hand wash merino wool.)

Do any of you have big shopping regrets from early on in the pandemic, whether for your closet or in other categories? I definitely made a lot of poor shopping decisions in 2020. (I eventually decided to keep the Elizabeth Suzann Bel skirt, but the other "red dot" items have now been resold.) By 2020, I thought I knew my wardrobe tastes and preferences very well after years of keeping this blog, but all the chaos caused by the pandemic and the last year of the Trump presidency really threw me off. 

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