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 $173 million in venture capital funding, built a membership of 8 million, and has sold more than 6 million items to date. The company leads the luxury space in sustainability efforts as well — it is the first luxury member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s CE100 USA, a group of leading companies in the circular economy, and recently launched a long-term sustainability partnership with Stella McCartney.
Wainwright has been at the helm of leading tech companies for more than 20 years, notably as CEO of Reel.com in 1997 and Pets.com in 1999. She has received several prestigious industry awards and accolades since launching The RealReal including: 2018 Retail Innovator of the Year, WWD 2017 Best Company Small Cap Award, Business of Fashion’s 2017 BoF 500 list, Vanity Fair’s New Establishment 2017 list, Forbes 40 over 40, W Magazine’s GameChanger Award, Fashion Group International’s Innovation in Luxury Retail award, and The San Francisco Business Times Most Influential Women of the Year.
Wainwright is a frequent speaker at industry events like the Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit, New York Times Luxury 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 non-profits focused on women, children and the arts.