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Julie Wainwright

Founder | The RealReal



Julie Wainwright is an e-commerce pioneer whose latest venture came to her as an epiphany while shopping in a brick-and-mortar consignment store, an industry she felt was ripe for reinvention. She founded The RealReal in June 2011, bringing luxury consignment online and into the modern world with a digital marketplace for authenticated luxury consignment. In that time the company has changed the way people buy and sell high-end luxury across all categories.

In addition, Wainwright raised sizable venture capital funding, took The RealReal public in 2019, built a membership of millions, has sold millions of items to date. The company is pioneering sustainability efforts in the luxury space as well. In addition to sustainability partnerships with Gucci, Burberry and Stella McCartney, it is the first luxury member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s CE100 USA and the first resale member of the UN Climate Change’s Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action.

Wainwright has been at the helm of leading tech companies for more than 20 years, notably as CEO of in 1997 and in 1999. She has received several prestigious industry awards and accolades since launching The RealReal including: –

  • Entrepreneur’s 50 Most Daring Entrepreneurs
  • Fast Company’s Most Creative People
  • CNBC’s Disruptor 50
  • Inc. Magazine’s 100 Female Founders List
  • Retail Innovator of the Year
  • Business of Fashion’s BoF 500

Wainwright is a frequent speaker at industry events like the Forbes Women’s Summit, Code Commerce, Osservatorio Altagamma Monitor, Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit, New York Times Luxury Summit, Barron’s Copenhagen Fashion Summit, and Financial Times Business of Luxury Summit, as well as at top universities including Stanford University and Purdue. Purdue, her alma mater, recently recognized Julie with the Burton D. Morgan Entrepreneurship Award. She is an Advisor to Fashion Tech Lab, as well as an Advisor to Krannert School of Management at Purdue. She actively supports dozens of local and national nonprofits focused on women, children and the arts and has launched two scholarship programs, one at Parsons School of Design for students studying sustainable fashion and the other, launching in 2020, at Purdue University for women studying entrepreneurship within STEM fields. 


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