Julie Wainwright
Alma materPurdue University (BS)

Julie L. Wainwright[1] is an e-commerce entrepreneur. She is the founder and the former CEO of The RealReal, an online marketplace for authenticated luxury consignment.



Early in her career Wainwright began working for The Clorox Company in brand management and computer software.[2]

Berkeley Systems

By 1996,[3] she had replaced Wes Boyd as CEO of Berkeley Systems[4][5] where she was instrumental in changing the company's strategy by making it a leading interactive entertainment entity.[6] As president and CEO of the company, she reduced a two-year decline in productivity.[7] She was among one third[8] of the employees that were laid off from Berkeley[9] when the company was sold to CUC in late 1996.[10][11]


In March 1998, Wainwright became president and CEO of Reel.com,[12][13][14][15] replacing founder Stuart Skorman. Four months later, Hollywood Video purchased Reel.com "in a deal valued at $100 million."[16][17][18]


Wainwright was approached by John Hummer of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners to run Pets.com, and 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.[19] After shutting Pets.com in November 2000, her husband sought a divorce.[20] 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."[21]

The RealReal

Wainwright founded The RealReal in 2011, and the company shipped its first orders in June of that year. 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.”[22] By December 2017, The RealReal employed 950 people.[23] The company's focus on sustainability led to its becoming the first luxury member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's CE100 USA.[24][25]

In early 2019 The RealReal announced it would be adding an additional half-million square feet of e-commerce center space in Perth Amboy, New Jersey to its existing e-commerce centers in Secaucus, New Jersey and Brisbane, California. Wainwright was mentioned on CNBC in a report about the company's authentication process.[26] In early 2020, TheRealReal was sued by investors in a class action lawsuit in connection with alleged securities laws violations stemming from TheRealReal's initial public offering.[27][28]

On June 22, 2022, The RealReal announced that its founder and CEO Julie Wainwright had stepped down.

Advisory Roles

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.


In 2019, Wainwright received the Parsons Table Award.[29][30] In 2018 Wainwright was included in Inc.’s Female Founders 100 list, Entrepreneur’s 50 Most Daring Entrepreneurs and Fast Company’s Most Creative People In Business.[31][32][33] In 2017, The RealReal received the award for Best-Performing Company in the small-cap category from WWD.[34] She has been included in the Business of Fashion’s BoF500 for both 2016 and 2017,[35] Vanity Fair’s New Establishment list 2017, and Forbes 40 over 40.[36] In 2016, Wainwright accepted the Fashion Group International’s award for Innovation in Retail e-Commerce on behalf of The RealReal[37] and won Springboard Enterprises’ Northstar Award.[38] 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.[39]

Wainwright was selected for the inaugural 2021 Forbes 50 Over 50; made up of entrepreneurs, leaders, scientists and creators who are over the age of 50.[40]

See also


  1. ^ Fitzgerald, Michael. "Woof! Pets.com goes to the dogs | ZDNet". ZDNet. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  2. ^ "SmartNow". Archived from the original on April 15, 2009. Retrieved April 25, 2009.(accessed April 25, 2009)
  3. ^ "Reference at www.bizjournals.com".
  4. ^ Skorman, Stuart; Guthrie, Catherine S. (February 9, 2007). Confessions of a Serial Entrepreneur. John Wiley and Sons. p. 128. ISBN 978-0787987329.
  5. ^ Ginsberg, Steve. "Milken's Knowledge expands with Discovery Centers buy". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  6. ^ "Business Week". Archived from the original on August 16, 2000. (accessed April 25, 2009) Archived March 5, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Ginsberg, Steve. "Berkeley Systems wagers $10M on Internet games". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  8. ^ "Berkeley Buy-Out Brings Layoffs". Wired. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  9. ^ "Who's next? CUC nibbles at Spectrum Holobyte". www.bizjournals.com. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
  10. ^ Ginsberg, Steve. "Oracle lays out framework for headquarters growth". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  11. ^ MILLER, GREG (10 April 1997). "CUC Agrees to Acquire Berkeley Systems Inc". Retrieved 18 October 2018 – via LA Times.
  12. ^ "Now Reel.com Is Really Real". wired.com. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  13. ^ "REEL BUMMER - Movie Web business collapses after a run-in with dot-com reality". sfgate.com. 23 June 2000. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  14. ^ "Hollywood 2.0". Wired. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  15. ^ "E-Commerce". www.7inone.com. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  16. ^ "Hollywood Entertainment to Buy Reel.Com". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  17. ^ Pelline, Jeff (July 31, 1998). "Reel.com goes Hollywood". CNET News. Archived from the original on 2000-01-21.
  18. ^ "10 Tech Pioneers: Where Are They Now?". PCWorld. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ Ustinova, Anastasia (June 21, 2008). "Julie Wainwright is so over the dot-com bust". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  21. ^ Miller, Claire Cain (August 1, 2008). "Chief of Pets.com Is Back, Minus the Sock Puppet". The New York Times. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  22. ^ Mac, Ryan. "From Doghouse To Penthouse: The Remarkable Recovery Of The RealReal's Julie Wainwright". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  23. ^ "A look at 42 women in tech who crushed it in 2017". TechCrunch. December 22, 2017. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  24. ^ "CE100 USA". Retrieved 2017-09-11.
  25. ^ "The Real Real". ellenmacarthurfoundation.org. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  26. ^ Zamost, Scott (2019-11-05). "CNBC: The RealReal's shares plunge as poor training and tough quotas cast doubt on 'no fakes' pledge". CNBC. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  27. ^ Inc., Shareholders Foundation (2020-03-10). "NASDAQ: REAL Shareholder Notice: Lawsuit against the RealReal, Inc. announced by Shareholders Foundation". NASDAQ. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-01-28. ((cite news)): |last= has generic name (help)
  28. ^ Jacobs, Alexandra (2019-01-23). "Tycoon of the Pre-Owned". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  29. ^ Petrarca, Emilia (2019-05-21). "Pharrell Is Feeling the 'Design Theta Waves'". The Cut. Retrieved 2019-09-06.
  30. ^ "Parsons Benefit 2019 | The New School News Releases". www.newschool.edu. Retrieved 2019-09-06.
  31. ^ "100 Women Making Money, Creating Jobs, and Changing the World". Inc.com. 2018-10-04. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  32. ^ Staff, Entrepreneur (2018-10-23). "The 50 Most Daring Entrepreneurs in 2018". Entrepreneur. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  33. ^ "Most Creative People in Business 2018". Fast Company. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  34. ^ Clark, Evan (2017-09-11). "Rihanna to Speak at the WWD Apparel + Retail Summit". WWD. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  35. ^ "Julie Wainwright is One of the 500 People Shaping the Global Fashion Industry in 2017". The Business of Fashion. Retrieved 2018-02-07.
  36. ^ Johnson, Whitney. "40 Women To Watch Over 40 Celebrates Possibilities Ahead For Women". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-02-07.
  37. ^ "The Fashion Group International's Night of Stars". Beauty Fashion Fragrance. 2016-10-31. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  38. ^ "Springboard Enterprises 2016 Winners Circle".
  39. ^ "Meet 2017's Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business". www.bizjournals.com. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  40. ^ Gross, Elana Lyn; Voytko, Lisette; McGrath, Maggie (2021-06-02). "The New Golden Age". Forbes. Retrieved 2021-06-02.