10 Things You Didn’t Know about TheRealReal CEO Julie Wainwright

Julie Wainwright is an American businesswoman who can claim entire decades’ worth of expertise and experience. However, where she was once a cautionary tale, she is now the head of a promising corporation called The RealReal, which is a remarkable change of circumstances to say the least.

Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Julie Wainwright:

1. Worked at Clorox

At one point in time, Wainwright worked for The Clorox Company, which should be best-known to most people as a manufacturer of various products for both household and professional use. There, she was involved with two responsibilities. First, Wainwright helped to manage the brand of the corporation, which tends to be a somewhat nebulous but nonetheless critical asset for most long-running businesses. Second, she was involved with computer software at a time when businesses did not make use of computers to the same extent as in the present.

2. Became a CEO at 30

By the time she was 30, Wainwright had become the CEO at Berkeley Systems. She managed to produce some successes, but in the end, her position as the CEO came to an end when Berkeley Systems was bought out by CUC, which resulted in a significant number of layoffs.

3. Became CEO of Reel.com

After leaving Berkeley Systems, Wainwright soon became the CEO of Reel.com, where she served as a replacement for the corporation’s founder. In time, Reel.com was bought out by Hollywood Video, which resulted in Wainwright leaving for another position with even more expertise and experience listed on her resume. As for Hollywood Video, suffice to say that it has long since gone out of business.

4. Became CEO of Pets.com

This time, Wainwright became the CEO of Pets.com, which remains what is perhaps either the most famous or the second most famous of her roles in her career so far. After all, Wainwright was the head of Pets.com when it had to shut down within less than a year of its IPO, which broke a record at the time. However, it is interesting to note that Wainwright has claimed that Pets.com was too ahead of its time, which might not be a wholly biased statement considering the pet-oriented online businesses that exist nowadays.

5. Hit with Personal and Professional Misfortune at the Same Time

Wainwright claims that she decided to shut down Pets.com on the same day that her husband approached her about a divorce. As a result, she was hit with both personal and professional misfortune at around the same time, which was not helped by the fact that her reputation took a serious hit with the aftermath of Pets.com.

6. Languished for a Time

For a time, Wainwright fell into a sort of a malaise. She didn’t do much besides either exercising or painting from time to time, though she did entertain a few job offers that were not particularly well-suited to her personal preferences. In the end, Wainwright decided that she was going to have to be the one to come up with her dream job because no one else was going to do it for her.

7. Her New Business Can Be Seen as a More Specialized eBay

In a sense, it is useful to see TheRealReal as a much more specialized eBay. However, the particular nature of its clientele means that its revenue-earning operations are not run in the same manner as other businesses that specialize in helping consumers sell to other consumers, meaning that this comparison loses some of its usefulness in the process.

8. Specializes in Reselling Luxury Goods

Simply put, The RealReal resells luxury goods to interested individuals. It is unlike other businesses of its kind in that it sends people to prepare the luxury goods for resale, which is possible because it can make a fair amount of money on each such trip. As it turns out, people who own luxury goods aren’t particularly interested in putting in the time and effort needed to sell them on their own, but they are eager to resell their luxury goods so long as they can get someone else to do it for them.

9. Made $10 Million in Sales in First Year

For proof, consider the fact that The RealReal had $10 million in sales in its first year of operation, which is a rather impressive figure for what can be seen as a niche market. Since that time, The RealReal has managed to expand its presence, with the result that it is expected to become profitable in the near future, which is a major hurdle for businesses of such size.

10. Learned Lessons from Pets.com

While Wainwright has refused to let the failure of Pets.com destroy her career, it is clear that she has been impacted to a great extent. After all, she has made a deliberate decision to run The RealReal in a much more cost-efficient manner, which is meant to avoid the sort of spectacle created by Pets.com’s $2 million Super Bowl ad that brought in nowhere near enough people to justify the cost. This is one of the factors that explain how TheRealReal is on the verge of becoming profitable within such a short period of time.


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