The RealReal on Wednesday announced the appointment of Jun-Sheng Li to chief operating officer and Len Eschweiler to the newly created position of chief revenue officer. Eschweiler will oversee the entire sales organization, including The RealReal's direct and white glove sales channels, according to a company press release.
Li, meanwhile, will focus on applying new technologies and processes to efficiently scale e-commerce center operations and will be instrumental in shaping the luxury resale site’s business "to the next level," including opening new e-commerce centers, the company said.
Li previously served as Walmart senior vice president of e-commerce supply chain and before that co-founded several businesses in supply chain and logistics management, including cloud computing services Transplace Inc. Eschweiler has previously held senior sales leadership roles at Affirm and Amazon and has 20 years of sales management and e-commerce leadership leading sales efforts in North America, Europe and Asia.
Founded in 2011, The RealReal is tapping into growing consumer interest in obtaining second-hand goods, positioning itself in the luxury niche. The company says it provides the largest selection of pre-owned authenticated luxury items including women's and men's fashion, fine jewelry, watches, fine art and home; consignors earn up to 70% of the sale price.
While many U.S. full-price retailers (particularly department stores) are experiencing soft consumer demand, the "re-commerce sector" is thriving, and online resale in particular is one of the fastest-growing sectors in retail, according to a report last year from Coresight Research (formerly Fung Global Retail & Technology). The total U.S. apparel resale market (brick-and-mortar and online) will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 13% from $18 billion in 2016 to $33 billion in 2021, according to that report.
Re-commerce disruptors like The RealReal are growing 20 times faster than the broader retail market and five times faster than off-price retailers, CoreSight said. Clothing, shoes and accessories currently make up 49% of total U.S. resale sales, according to the report.
Investors are paying attention, too. The company last year snagged $50 million in growth equity financing from private equity firm Great Hill Partners, bringing the company's total funding to $173 million. The RealReal has increasingly amplified its brand through brick-and-mortar efforts like a 6,000-square-foot pop-up shop at The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, launched in February and open until April 15. The company has also run pop-up shops in San Francisco and New York City, and plans to open more in the latter half of the year.
As the company grows into the physical world, connecting stores with its website has been a bumpy road, Allison Sommer, director of Marketing at The RealReal, told Retail Dive during a fireside chat at Future Stores Miami last month. Because the company is single SKU, it needed to develop a system that would ensure an online user couldn't snatch up an item that a customer in line at a story was waiting to buy.