Julie Wainwright

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Julie Wainwright
Nationality United States
Alma mater Purdue University

Julie Wainwright is an e-commerce entrepreneur. She is the founder and CEO of The RealReal, an online marketplace for authenticated luxury consignment.


Clorox and Berkeley Systems[edit]

Early in her career Wainwright began working for The Clorox Company in brand management and computer software.[1] By age 30, she replaced Wes Boyd as CEO of Berkeley Systems[2][3] where she was instrumental in changing the company's strategy by making it a leading interactive entertainment entity.[4] As president and CEO of the company, she reduced a two year decline in productivity.[5] She was among one third of the employees that were laid off from Berkeley[6] when the company was sold to CUC in late 1996.[7]

Reel.com and Pets.com[edit]

She then became President and CEO of Reel.com, replacing founder, Stuart Skorman. After 27 months, Hollywood Video purchased Reel.com for $100,000,000 and Wainwright left the organization to be replaced by Jeff Jordan. At this time she had almost 20 years of experience with software, technology and consumer-product industries. She was approached by John Hummer of HummerWinblad Ventures to run Pets.com.

Wainwright was CEO of Pets.com when it ceased operations 268 days after its initial stock offering - "one of the shortest-lived public companies on record" according to Kirk Cheyfitz, author of Thinking Inside the Box: The 12 Timeless Rules for Managing a Successful Business.[8] After shutting Pets.com in November 2000, her husband sought a divorce.[9] Wainwright said that this was a very difficult time in her life: "I had two major life crises in the same week, one public and one private, that sent me on a journey of self-discovery and healing I couldn’t have anticipated."[10] In a 2015 article, Forbes gave The RealReal a FORBES-estimated valuation of $300 million saying “the startup is in a much better place than Pets.com ever was.”[11]

The RealReal[edit]

Wainwright founded The RealReal in 2011, and the company shipped its first orders in June of that year. As of June 2017, The RealReal had raised $173 million in venture capital funding.[12] The company’s focus on sustainability led to its becoming the first luxury member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s CE100 USA.[13]

By December 2017, The RealReal employed 950 people and was estimated to be on track to have around $500 million in annual revenue.[14]

Advisory Roles[edit]

Wainwright is an advisor to Springboard Enterprises’ New York Fashion Tech Lab and Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management. She has been a board member of the Headlands Center for the Arts, Magic Theatre and San Francisco Art Institute.


The San Francisco Business Times recognized Wainwright as one of the most-admired CEOs of the year in 2014, and again in 2017 as one of the most influential women of the year.[15] In 2016, Wainwright accepted the Fashion Group International’s award for Innovation in Retail e-Commerce on behalf of The RealReal[16] and won Springboard Enterprises’ Northstar Award.[17] She has been included in the Business of Fashion’s BoF500 for both 2016 and 2017[18], Vanity Fair’s New Establishment list 2017, and Forbes 40 over 40[19].In 2017, The RealReal received the award for Best-Performing Company in the small-cap category from WWD.[20]


  1. ^ SmartNow (accessed April 25, 2009) Archived April 15, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Skorman, Stuart; Guthrie, Catherine S. (February 9, 2007). Confessions of a Serial Entrepreneur. John Wiley and Sons. p. 128. ISBN 978-0787987329. (Subscription required (help)). 
  3. ^ Ginsberg, Steve. "Milken's Knowledge expands with Discovery Centers buy". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved January 13, 2014. 
  4. ^ Business Week (accessed April 25, 2009) Archived March 5, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Ginsberg, Steve. "Berkeley Systems wagers $10M on Internet games". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved January 13, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Who's next? CUC nibbles at Spectrum Holobyte". www.bizjournals.com. Retrieved 2017-09-11. 
  7. ^ Ginsberg, Steve. "Oracle lays out framework for headquarters growth". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved January 13, 2014. 
  8. ^ Cheyfitz, Kirk (2003). Thinking Inside the Box: The 12 Timeless Rules for Managing a Successful Business. Simon & Schuster. pp. 30–32. ISBN 978-0-7432-3575-4. Retrieved January 13, 2015. 
  9. ^ Ustinova, Anastasia (June 21, 2008). "Julie Wainwright is so over the dot-com bust". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 13, 2015. 
  10. ^ Miller, Claire Cain (August 1, 2008). "Chief of Pets.com Is Back, Minus the Sock Puppet". The New York Times. Retrieved January 12, 2015. 
  11. ^ Mac, Ryan. "From Doghouse To Penthouse: The Remarkable Recovery Of The RealReal's Julie Wainwright". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-09-14. 
  12. ^ Loizos, Connie. "The RealReal ropes in $50 million in new funding". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-09-11. 
  13. ^ "CE100 USA". Retrieved 2017-09-11. 
  14. ^ "A look at 42 women in tech who crushed it in 2017". TechCrunch. December 22, 2017. Retrieved December 29, 2017. 
  15. ^ "Meet 2017's Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business". www.bizjournals.com. Retrieved 2017-09-14. 
  16. ^ "The Fashion Group International's Night of Stars". Beauty Fashion Fragrance. 2016-10-31. Retrieved 2017-09-14. 
  17. ^ "Springboard Enterprises 2016 Winners Circle". 
  18. ^ "Julie Wainwright is One of the 500 People Shaping the Global Fashion Industry in 2017". The Business of Fashion. Retrieved 2018-02-07. 
  19. ^ Johnson, Whitney. "40 Women To Watch Over 40 Celebrates Possibilities Ahead For Women". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-02-07. 
  20. ^ Clark, Evan (2017-09-11). "Rihanna to Speak at the WWD Apparel + Retail Summit". WWD. Retrieved 2017-09-14. 

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