Academy of Art University on Producing Opportunity for International Graduates for Today’s Art and Design-Hungry Job Market
The US job market for designers is booming, and there is currently a high demand for those skilled in art and design. An estimated 70 percent of creative professionals and 64 percent of marketing professionals report their teams to be severely understaffed. When asked about which roles they would prioritize in the hiring process, their answers include web design and production.
Furthermore, according to the Creative Group 2018 Salary Guide, an estimated 45 percent of advertising and marketing executives find it challenging to find highly skilled and creative professionals. This means that there is a need for individuals with expertise in the field. This is particularly true for those whose skill set is diverse and who are comfortable wearing more than one hat. Their skills will place them ahead of everyone in the applicant pool and may also land them a higher salary. Examples of this include a graphic designer who is also experienced in creating videos or an art director who also knows how to write snappy copy.
Another aspect that contributes to this year’s strong job market is employers’ desire to retain skilled individuals. An estimated 52 percent of executives report to be worried about employee retention. This is congruent with the fact that one in every three employees is considering switching companies within the next six months. This combination of companies seeking to keep employers while they are seeking to make a switch in a short amount of time is an advantage for those who are entering the job market.
Efforts to Improve Work Environments for Artists
There are additional noteworthy points that make the job market as favorable as it is this year. The competition for skilled designed professionals is resulting in better perks that are offered by creative agencies. Furthermore, more than ever, creative employers are granting their staff flexibility in the workplace, such as choosing when and where they want to work. In fact, as many as 76 percent of companies reported that they offer some form of alternative work arrangement.
How Academy of Art University Prepares Students for Design Careers
Academy of Art University in San Francisco offers an array of modern degree programs and as such produces graduates with the aforementioned professional skills that are highly sought after in the current job market. The Academy of Art University has a curriculum that is not only well aligned with the shifting relationship of art and business toward one interdisciplinary field, but it houses several schools that educate students in all the right fields for today’s professional demands. The institution’s schools range from acting to art history to graphic design to landscape architecture and photography, to name a few. The School of Graphic Design, for example, offers its students a chance to create a well-rounded and diverse portfolio that showcases their creativity as well as a strong problem-solving acumen. Students also get a chance to learn about the effects of sustainability on design. According to the school’s website, their Academics programs “are designed to equip aspiring artists and designers with a comprehensive toolbox of knowledge and marketable skills that they will use in their future career.”
An Outlet for International Students Interested in Design
Furthermore, the institution welcomes prospective students from all over the world. The Academy of Art University offers many resources for its international students such as travel, visa renewals as well as information about how they can get involved and succeed not only in their studies but also following graduation in terms of gaining employment eligibility.
Their website includes links that provide international students with detailed instructions pertaining to obtaining their I-20 form, F-1 visa as well as when, where and how to make the appropriate payments as well as submit relevant visa forms prior to arrival on campus.
On the same websites, international students are provided with detailed guidelines regarding when and how to apply for classes following completion of all visa-related documents. Students are also informed about every step from the moment they arrive in the United States, such as how to arrive at the school, campus and housing as well as payments and health insurance procedures. Additionally, international students are provided with all relevant administrative information that is needed as they are seeking employment. The Academy of Art University provides step-by-step guidelines as well as links to relevant forms all in one place.
If you are an international student interested in a career in art and design, it is incredibly important to follow all policy and instruction so that you stay on top of all the required forms and applications necessary to living, studying and working in the US.
Wherever your interests lie in the realm of art and design, the job market today is hungry for experienced, educated and diverse applicants. With increasing recruitment efforts and a desire to retain talent, it is clear our professional environment has a massive place for creatives from around the world.
We’ve all heard about the American Dream before-the dream of starting from very little and climbing your way up the ladder of success, all on a basis of hard work, ingenuity, and good old-fashioned blood and sweat. However, there are only a handful of examples of people who have truly lived that American Dream out at every end of the spectrum, moving from nothing through to experiencing the kind of life many people only dream of.
Shervin Pishevar is one such individual; he didn’t get to where he is through mere good luck. After immigrating with his parents to the United States in 1976, Pishevar experienced the ups and downs that are a part of acclimatizing to a country different from his birth country of Iran. Although his father had originally come to the US with the goal of completing his master’s degree, he soon found himself returning to Iran just two years later to be a part of the revolution. So, Pishevar learned from a very early age to deal with chaos and uncertainty as his parents were split across two countries, and that experience was truly formative in shaping the ethos and work ethic that he carried with him into future business ventures.
Pishevar was always driven by the desire to learn, which was instilled in him by his parents, alongside the value of hard work. Because of this, he began publishing work at the young age of just 20, when he first published an article on human rights and doctors in JAMA, which had a significant carry-on effect on the formation of the Istanbul Protocol. At a young age, Pishevar had tasted what it felt like to be a part of shaping the world he lived in, and that desire would continue to define his choices during his career.
Although he had a strong attraction to the medical professional, Pishevar decided that he would instead follow the call of entrepreneurialism.
His first venture into technology came in 1993 when Pishevar had a lightbulb moment. Using the web, he was able to access information from all across the globe. Suddenly, he saw that technology would offer him the access he needed to truly change the world. This way, he’d be able to impact many more lives than if he had followed his original passion into medicine.
Pishevar’s early work saw him growing companies that provided online services, which was still groundbreaking in the early 90s. Since then, Pishevar has now funded 50 companies, continuing to grow products and services that improve the lives for many people through the specific benefits they offer.
However, Pishevar’s work isn’t solely in the business and technology spaces. He’s continued to make the world a better place for many through his philanthropy and passion for charity. Pishevar holds the honor of being named as one of only 10 members on the UN Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council and has served his country as a US Entrepreneurial Ambassador on many State Department trips. He even received the privilege of working alongside President Obama at the Summit on Entrepreneurship. Pishevar also takes a more straightforward approach to philanthropy, supporting organizations such as Water and Invisible Children in their direct efforts within Africa. As Pishevar has gotten older, he’s been able to connect his own personal story with his work as well. The formation of The Cyrus Prize allowed for a $100,000 genius grant to be awarded to Iranian innovators, connecting Pishevar’s love of innovation with his Iranian roots and love for his home country.
You’d imagine that a man as busy as Pishevar would take a hands-off approach to his investments; instead, Pishevar values the tension of creative entrepreneurialism and has provided a strong guiding hand to many of his start-ups. By staying close to their development, Pishevar is able to lend his decades of first-hand experience to teams as they take great ideas and shape them to be most strategic and effective within the marketplace.
Taking a hands-on approach has positioned Pishevar to always be ready when a great idea comes across his table, and there’s no greater proof of this approach than in his world-changing conversation with Elon Musk. Seated together on a plane in January of 2012, Pishevar convinced Musk to take the early form of his idea for the Hyperloop and publish it, so that Musk’s thoughts would be available for strategic approach. Musk followed his wisdom and, a year later, the first white paper on the Hyperloop was published.
Pishevar has been able to bring his years of experience and connections within the technology disruption industry and create teams of talented creators and innovators to tackle the idea behind the Hyperloop and all of its potential.
Now, the public stands to benefit from this work, with Pishevar’s team in conversation with governments around the world about how the Hyperloop can be built to change transportation for the better. In countries like Russia, India, and the US, the Hyperloop as a means of travel may soon be a reality. And when that happens, we’ll never look back.
If you need some inspiration for innovation, look no further than Shervin Pishevar. The Iranian-born child who immigrated to an unknown country with his parents has never looked back, and now the entire world stands to benefit from his hard work, commitment, and compassion. A world without Pishevar is a world without many innovations that are now cornerstones of industries, and we can’t wait to see what Pishevar has in store for us around the corner.
Two of my favorite things to do in life are fishing and playing golf. I think it’s incredibly important to have interests outside of work, these hobbies keep me grounded and help to make me a well-rounded individual that only helps me run NICE Global.
When did you first get involved with this hobby? How did you discover a love for it?
I started fishing at a very young age, probably at five or six years old. I’m not sure why, but I asked my parents for a fishing pole for Christmas one year and they happily obliged. The reason why I wasn’t sure was that I had never been introduced to fishing by anyone in my family or my friends. Maybe I watched a show on television one weekend or read a book about it, whatever it was, I was intrigued by it. And from the first day I went fishing, I knew it was something I would do forever.
My golfing interests didn’t start until I finished high school. I’d always known about golf and wanted to play golf, but my twin brother and I were so involved with other sports, it was tough to find the time. When I finally did find the time and made the commitment, I was hooked. I found it to be the most challenging game or sport I’d ever done.
Read Paul’s FiveHundo interview here.
How often do you spend time on this hobby? How often would you spend doing it with unlimited free time?
With everything that is going on in my life, I still find time to play golf once a week and fish once a week. Part of it is because I love to do both of them, the other part is they allow me to decompress and get my mind away from all the things which create tension and stress in my life.
In addition to playing once a week, I’ll try to sneak in one or two golf trips a year where I’ll play four or five days in a row. Living in South Florida, we have our fair share of really good golf courses around us. But sometimes you want to play really great courses, world-renowned courses, legendary courses, bucket list courses like Pebble Beach Golf Links, The Old Course at St. Andrews, The Straits Course at Whistling Straits, Old Head Golf Links, Carnoustie Golf Links, the list goes on and on. My list is long so I won’t run out of bucket list courses anytime soon.
If I had unlimited free time, which I don’t, I would probably fish and golf three or four days a week between the two. The days I didn’t fish or golf would be spent doing something related to one of those two hobbies. Maybe it would be researching some new bucket list courses and planning a golf trip to Scotland or Ireland? Maybe I would plan a trip to the Dominican Republic during marlin season or to Mexico during the sailfish bite? Maybe it would be cleaning my fishing equipment and organizing all my tackle? These things will sound crazy to most people, but they put my mind at ease and I love it.
As with anything in life, both fishing and golfing can be very competitive. Golf for me is all about having fun and relaxation, so I wouldn’t want to make it competitive. There was a time for me when fishing was really competitive. Near the end of my high school days, I met a group of guys similar to me that had both a passion and obsession with fishing. Saltwater fishing to be exact, we would fish for sailfish, dolphin, kingfish, tuna, wahoo, cobia, snapper, grouper and more. Most people believe that fishing is all about luck, but it’s really about preparation, execution, and attention to detail. Especially when it comes to competitive or tournament fishing.
Tournament fishing comes with a tremendous amount of preparation, days, if not weeks in advance sometimes. First, you set your preparation around the type of tournament you’ll be fishing. Is it a one-day sailfish tournament, or is it a two-day meat fish tournament? Is the tournament local or does it require you to travel? What kind of bait is allowed? You really have to pay attention to and follow the rules or you could be disqualified. Some of these tournaments carry six-figure purses, so validation of the fish being caught live and after the tournament will most certainly be done. Some tournaments require video footage, some require the fish to be tested with a torry meter to make sure it was caught that day, and some even require a lie detector test.
Once you’ve identified the type of tournament, you’ll start preparing your equipment for that type of fishing. If necessary, you’ll start catching live bait and keeping them alive in large pens. You’ll start making rigs and selecting the best and most appropriate tackle you’ll need for the fish you want to target. You’ll make sure the boat is setup to fish specifically for the type of fish you want to target. You’ll start reaching out to local fisherman to get a gauge of where the fish are biting or not biting so you can determine how the fish are moving and where you might want to fish. You’ll pre-fish the day before the tournament to make sure everything is in good working order and ready to go. Each one of these steps really include multiple additional steps, so you can see it take a tremendous amount of time and preparation if you want to compete at the highest level in tournament fishing.
Tournament day is when the execution kicks in. Teams that are prepared and execute when an opportunity presents itself are the teams that tend to do better than the ones that miss their opportunities. When you are presented with bites on tournament day, you have to capitalize. All of the preparation that was done days or even weeks prior to the tournament help with the execution. Sometimes, you’ll find really tough fishing conditions that slow down the bite or cause the fish to be less active, how you deal with the adverse conditions can sometimes determine whether you win or lose a tournament.
We used to fish anywhere from eight to twelve tournaments a year. Those were the days, it was a lot of work but a whole lot of fun. Now that my family has grown and I have added the responsibility of owning my own business, tournament fishing has taken a back seat to recreational fishing. It’s still fishing which is what really counts.
Do you enjoy this hobby alone or with other interested parties (i.e. friends, family members, fellow hobbyists)?
The great thing about fishing and golfing is that both can be done with or without company. Depending on the day, I’m open to going by myself or I’m open to company. Lately, I’ve been taking my two young girls fishing with me, they really like it. They’re not old enough or ready for the golf course yet, so I’ll take them to the driving range and let them mess around. Both activities, in general, can be really great for bonding with your kids, family, friends, and business associates.
I hope my girls’ fish and play golf in the future. Fishing and golfing can teach lessons that I believe everyone can use later on in life. Fishing teaches patience and problem-solving. The fish are not biting, why aren’t they biting like the day before? How do I get them to bite? Which color lure should I use? Which technique should I fish? Should I fish shallow or fish deep?
Golf can be hard at times, challenging, it makes you think strategically, it teaches you honesty, and it highlights integrity. In golf, you keep your own score, you have to know and follow the rules, and you’re challenged almost the entire time.
What is your proudest achievement from this hobby?
My proudest achievement while fishing was when we won one of the largest fishing tournaments in the state of Florida. It was a great achievement for us as a team and an amazing sense of accomplishment for all the hard work we had put in over the years. We had won other tournaments in the past, but this was the tournament of all tournaments and it was a great feeling.
For golf, it was when I shot my personal best low score of 75. Golf is hard, really hard. To shoot only three shots over par as a weekend golfer, was quite the feat.
Paul Herdsman is an experienced entrepreneur, co-founder and current COO of NICE Global, the full-service BPO Jamaican based company specializing in service delivery for other business looking to outsource. As a co-founder of the company, Paul Herdsman is responsible for various aspects of daily operations, strategic partnerships, long-term growth planning. The proud father of two takes every day in stride, successfully handling the his role as a successful entrepreneur, as well as taking the time to bond with his family, whom he considers to be an integral part of his life.
Booming luxury consignment retailer The RealReal has recently released its mid-year luxury resale report – the biannual version of its 2018 State of Luxury – highlighting trends, bestselling brands and emerging designers in the marketplace. Topping The RealReal’s search results and purchases for the first time in its 7-year run was trendy designer label Gucci, ousting previous top performers like Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Christian Louboutin. The Gucci dominance showed a reported 62 percent sales growth and accompanying search volume, popular across all demographics but especially notable among millennials, whose search for the popular brand increased by 48 percent. The report comes after a breakthrough year for the e-comm retailer who, in late July opened their second brick and mortar storefront on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood. The RealReal is one of a handful of companies changing the game, and for brands like Gucci and Chanel who – along with the whole of luxury retailers – snubbed the idea of secondhand… the change is part of a bigger movement we’re seeing that’s championing secondhand as the progressive and obvious environmental and economical option. Consignment is slated to reach $41 billion by 2022, growing 24 times more than overall apparel retail according to a 2018 marketplace report. According to the report, 44 million women shopped secondhand last year, up from 35 million in 2016, with an audience of roughly one in three women 18 years and older. With undeniable data backing the growth of consignment, The RealReal is undoubtedly the industry leader, and in just seven short years has proven the power of their unique business model: authenticity – backing every single item it resells to be 100% the REAL real thing, plus sustainability – lessening the environmental impact created by discarded apparel and offering reselling as the remedy to an ethical extension in cyclical fashion.
Although The RealReal has broken new ground with their recent moves into IRL brick and mortar, their origins in online apparel give the company unique insights with available data across all luxury brands and their extensive database of 8 million items sold to date. This unprecedented look at consumer behavior and the trends in luxury fashion are really shaping the resale market while also supplementing the primary luxury retail market as a whole, providing an accurate reflection of impact and buyer demographics.
“Luxury resale has grown exponentially, and is more mainstream than ever. Both the industry and the public look to the resale market to identify macro and micro trends and to determine what consumers want right now,” said The RealReal Chief Merchant Rati Levesque. “With over 8 million items sold, our data speaks directly to these trends and we’re excited to reveal key insights in this report.”
The report continues The RealReal’s practice in data-driven metrics, taking the pulse of the market, reporting on current trends and forecasting how those trends will bend and impact the current luxury market in the seasons to come. With statistics on over 8 million items sold, The RealReal has a unique vantage point on the emerging directions in both buying and selling across primary and secondary platforms. The revelations reported by the retailer span various topics surrounding the ever-growing resale market: tracking ups and downs in the top-searched luxury brands, evaluating year-over-year sales growth numbers among the top ten selling brands, revealing the most popular brands and their key demographics broken down by gender, reporting trends in consignment, exposing the must-have it-bag both current and for collectors, informing men’s industry insights in apparel and the rise in sneaker resale, and producing relevant information on current, in-season fashion.
State of Luxury: Gucci Gang
According to The RealReal’s 2018 biannual State of Luxury report, the biggest surprise came from the recent rise of search results and purchases for the luxury brand Gucci, rising two spots in half a year from number three to a number one, surpassing Chanel – the brand still reported to be number one among millennial women – and Louis Vuitton.
Gucci’s rise in popularity on The RealReal is reflective of the current culture of popular luxury fashion. Just this year, Gucci’s parent company Kering SA reported a 48.7 percent jump in same-store sales during the first quarter of 2018. This followed a 43 to 49 percent increase in the two quarters before, according to Business Insider. The brands explosion of popularity is credited to teen and millennial shoppers, shaped by pop culture. Another report shows 55 percent of the brand’s sales for the first three quarters of 2017 being made to consumers under the age of 35, and the brand jumped 5 spots, from 15th to 10th as “most popular apparel brand” in a survey of 6,000 teens across the US.
The resurgence of ‘90s styles is partially credited for Gucci’s growth across platforms, with logo-mania usurping every corner of the market from high-end luxury to fast fashion, and brands like Gucci, Calvin Klein, Champion and Tommy Hilfiger reusing the trends from a bygone era for a new set of consumers whose proclivity to branded T-shirts, jumpers and hats reign. Since 2015, under the direction of Alessandro Michele, the brand has refreshed its look for a younger demo, bringing together eclectic use of colors and patterns while using the Gucci logo as a who’s who among the country’s biggest and best-dressed. The first quarter of the year showed Gucci’s online sales up by triple digits over 2017, another indication that its tech-savvy younger shoppers are at the helm of the brand’s growth, boosting sales with every single purchase behind the bright light of their computer screens.
From @TheRealReal Instagram: the resurgence of ‘90s styles and logo-centric designs make the Dior classic saddlebag the most popular on The RealReal, as reported in the latest edition of the biannual “State of Luxury.” This popularity is followed by Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Fendi logo bags.
For The RealReal, search volume for Gucci topped Chanel and Louis Vuitton from their first and second spots this year for the first time and is growing 48 percent faster among millennials than other age groups. Not only is Gucci killing it on the site for search popularity, but it is also the fastest growing brand for purchases, hitting another #1 position on The RealReal as the top brand in year-over-year sales growth, up 62 percent from the last biannual report among all age groups.
According to the insights found in the State of Luxury, Alessandro Michele’s vision for the company is perfectly paired with today’s consumer market, making Gucci a mainstay for new buyers and sellers alike, with shifts in the value of Gucci’s consignment retail up 12 percent. In fitting with this theme, the The RealReal reports the rise of popularity and resale value in iconic, logo-centric styles by heritage brands: the classic Dior saddlebag – up 89 percent in resale value, the Gucci web – up 51 percent, Fendi’s iconic Zucca saw a resale value growth of 32 percent and Louis Vuitton’s iconic LV Mountsouris rose 26 percent; these number are also solidified by the decline in popularity (and accommodating devalue) for past-season styles that weren’t designed with the same logo-centric method in mind.
From The RealReal “State of Luxury” 2018 biannual report: Gucci tops the site’s rise in sales growth and search rankings among consumers and is the number one brand consigned by millennial men.
For men, Gucci steals the show In The RealReal’s report as the number two brand for purchases, the number one brand consigned, the highest grossing men’s brand in resale value – up 21 percent since the last report – and one of the top sneaker searches for men across the country, the Gucci high-top reaching #1 status in Dallas, Texas searches and the brand’s iconic low-top number one in Philadelphia.
Once you wade through the pervasive Gucci-ness of the biannual report, there are a slew of other salient insights. Even though Alessandro’s designs reign, Hermès is still identified as the fastest-growing brand among The RealReal’s millennial consumers, the iconic French brand growing a whopping 71 percent among shoppers aged 18–34 in the first half of 2018.
Shifts in consignment resale value in older contemporary brands like Tory Burch are on the decline, a 34 percent downtick for the first half of the year. Vetements fell 22 percent as shoppers turn to Demna Gvasalia‘s latest designs at Balenciaga, and Johanna Ortiz resale value dropped 27 percent as competing brands with lower price points offer similar styles. On the ups in resale value along with Gucci’s lead: Golden Goose, following on the trends of women’s streetwear and luxury sneakers rising in popularity (up 33 percent), along with new contemporary brands like Ulla Johnson on the rise (up 15 percent). For men, resale value is led by brands focused on logo revivals and strong sneaker and statement outerwear offerings, with Gucci, Amiri and Balenciaga as top leaders; while Vetements ready-to-wear, Balmain ready-to-wear and Bottega Veneta leather goods all saw a decline in resale value.
For men, The RealReal highlights the “dad trend” to continue to pervade the market, with the look for dad-style staples leading the site’s top searches: Hawaiian shirts spiked 84 percent (thanks, Justin Bieber?), while dad hats saw a 67 percent uptick and fanny packs blew out a whopping 614 percent spike in the report’s short half-year span.
From The RealReal “State of Luxury” 2018 biannual report: The “Dad Trend” and the rise of ‘90s logo-centric styles are a major factor in Gucci’s meteoric rise.
The RealReal reports that Yeezy sneakers rule for men in the US coast-to-coast, and the top brands bought by millennial men are led by Rolex, Gucci and Louis Vuitton while the top brands consigned by the same demo keep Gucci and Loui V while adding Hermes to the leaderboard. A few surprises are found when you crunch the numbers. The brand Supreme, which is scattered throughout the site and highly reported to be fashion’s hot commodity, didn’t crack the top 10 brands bought by millennial men despite its hold on pop culture, but it did come in as the sixth most consigned brand – could this mean the beginning of the end for the fast-paced world of “what’s hot” in luxury retail? The RealReal’s State of Luxury could easily make that case.
The RealReal – From eTail to IRL Retail
The company offering these insights on the market has a keen position in the marketplace. The RealReal has moved millions of products, over 8 million it says to be exact, so it’s sizable data on consumer search and purchase habits are of high value to consignment and luxury high-fashion alike, and in the very under-wraps world of luxury goods, tracking changes in search and spending habits is as reliable an indicator as any of the volatile fluctuations of heat and buzz. Founded in 2011 by Julie Wainwright, The RealReal operated online for a number of years before pursuing pop-up opportunities around the country whose successes led to the first brick and mortar stores: the 2017 introduction in NYC’s Soho neighborhood and a second location completed this summer in L.A.
The highly-anticipated summer opening of the Los Angeles store in west Hollywood followed a Series G round of funding that brought in 115 million new dollars for the e-comm retailer in 2018. Based in San Francisco, a west coast storefront was the logical next step after the success of its sister-store in NYC. New and fresh and bright, The RealReal location on Melrose in West Hollywood has already been praised by critics and shoppers alike, it’s airy, contemporary, 12,000-foot showroom boasting a “handbag vault,” a luxury repair center, a separate men’s department complete with a “sneakerdome” for the shoe-obsessed, a watch bar and a full-service suite specifically for tailoring needs. One of the most interesting aspects of the L.A. storefront is the innovative inventory system, engineered by The RealReal to fit its online consignment inventory model. The proprietary inventory system is unique in that it unifies their online shop with the in-store inventory, from L.A. to NYC, guaranteeing that each one-of-a-kind piece is available to every possible buyer at all times and never double sold.
The RealReal’s latest brick and mortar storefront in west Hollywood, L.A.
The New Game
The hundreds of millions of investment dollars made in The RealReal are really telling for the current market trends. Secondhand fashion has outrun average sales growth in the primary luxury market, meaning more and more consumers are turning to consignment for their high-end needs. With this trend toward the secondhand, it’s no surprise that investors want to back online consignment. Online resale is thriving, expected to be worth an astounding $41 billion by 2022, according to a 2018 industry report which goes on to state that shopping habits will continue to work in The RealReal’s favor as consignment slated to occupy one third of women’s closets in the United States by the year 2027, outranking the now high-performing fast fashion brands and legacy retailers. Just last year, a reported 44 million women reportedly shopped resale, adding 9 million new consumers since 2016.
Wainwright plans to take this lead and run: according to WWD, The RealReal CEO plans to install more of The RealReal brick and mortar stores in New York City, while the company is also in talks to introduce more watch and jewelry valuation centers around the country. With this momentum, Wainwright told Reuters The RealReal could be ready to list on the stock market within two years as site valuations are expected to roughly double to $1 billion annually.
Investors aren’t the only sector looking to back the growth of The RealReal. The retailer is communicating with Louis Vuitton parent company LVMH and Gucci owner Kering over potential partnerships, a huge step forward considering the history of conflict and hostility coming from the primary luxury market. This trend toward partnership can be traced back to The RealReal’s 2018 collaboration with luxury designer Stella McCartney who worked with the secondhand retailer in a campaign “The Future of Fashion is Circular.” The two companies came together to challenge the industry’s role in environmental waste, shining a light on consumption patterns and the negative impact of fast fashion. The “Make Well, Buy Well, Resell” campaign was a call-to-action for the industry as a whole – both the primary brands and those who bought and resold their goods. In positioning consignment as the natural next step in cyclical fashion, McCartney’s work with The RealReal marked the first time in history that a luxury fashion house openly embraced consignment and advocated for the items that they produced to live cyclical lives within the model of resale.
If a consumer invests in a quality piece in the primary luxury market, that buyer is putting their investment into quality items that retain value. Once this item no longer serves the consumer, the investment in quality lends itself to the opportunity in consignment. By reselling the item to a secondhand buyer like The RealReal, the seller gives the clothing new life with and creates a positive environmental impact by avoiding the landfill. In reselling the item, the seller also gets a return on their investment, which The RealReal has reported is likely to be put right back into the primary market, thus creating a mutually beneficial, cyclical lifecycle for The RealReal to mix with the primary luxury market. In the realization that consignment actually boosts the primary market, more and more collaborations will emerge as brands embrace their unique opportunities to give their designs new life through the years. The explanation of the model combined with The RealReal’s rise has struck a chord with luxury brands across the world. Chief Merchant Rati Levesque explains, “They’re going out and buying the new Chanel item, the new Gucci item. Over the next couple years, we’re going to be putting $1 billion into consumers’ hands from [commission on] items they’ve sold with us and they’ll spend that in the primary market.” This model, championed by The RealReal and mirroring the trends reported in the industry, is showing to make a huge impact both economically and environmentally. At the helm of the movement, The RealReal leads the way.
100% Gucci, 100% Real. Sold with major discounts and authenticated by the team of experts at TheRealReal.
Via @TheRealReal Instagram
When Graeme Holm launched Infinity Group Australia in 2013, his goal was to help everyday Australians improve their finances and secure their futures. Since then, Holm’s customer-driven approach has gotten proven results, and Infinity Group Australia has become one of Australia’s fastest-growing debt reduction and money management services.
In a recent interview, Holm sat down to discuss his approach to finance, business, and life.
About Graeme Holm
Graeme Holm is an MBA Top 100 Broker and the director of Infinity Group Australia, with locations in Bella Vista, Cronulla, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Port Macquarie. Holm’s career in financial services spans over 17 years, with his first decade spent in a Big Four banking environment.
There, Holm became frustrated with pushing just one branded products and services and with Australian families receiving a poor deal from financial institutions. In 2013, Holm and his partner (in life and in business), Rebecca Walker, combined their passion for finance and their desire to get a better deal for Australian families, and Infinity Group Australia was born.
About Infinity Group Australia
After spending six months in research and development on problems with the Australian mortgage market, Graeme Holm found a lack of ongoing support, advice, guidance, and services for families. Infinity Group Australia changes this approach, providing a personal banker to help clients pay their loans off as quickly as possible. Clients receive monthly performance reports, detailed reviews, and assistance developing and maintaining budgets to ensure their success.
And the approach produces results: 100% of clients pay more off their home loan in the first 3 months with Infinity Group Australia than they did in the entire 12 months prior with the old bank structure. With guidance and support from Infinity Group Australia, clients eliminate an average of $41,000 in debt within 12 months.
The award-winning Infinity Group Australia offers services in debt reduction, wealth creation, and retirement solutions.
From Idea to Reality
When Graeme Holm and Rebecca Walker opened Infinity Group Australia’s first office, they had a couple of desks and one big idea: to transform the Australian loan market. Holm understood that most clients live paycheck to paycheck and make only minimum loan repayments across the 30-year term. He aimed to change that.
“At Infinity, we brought to life the concept of ongoing guidance and support throughout the life cycle of the client loan journey. Think of a ‘personal trainer for your finances.’ If you go to the gym with a personal trainer, you will get better results than without one,” says Holm.
And this sentiment rings true for Infinity Group Australia’s clients. They repay home loans with 30-year terms within 7-10 years on average. Holm says it’s all about having the right structures in place. “By having a financial coach, sticking to a weekly cash-based budget and depositing all other forms of income directly into a fully transactional loan account, you reduce daily interest charges and learn to live on the weekly budget. If you combine these strategies without falling victim to excessive spending like those new shoes or that new Tech gadget, you can and will repay your home loan in record pace.”
Infinity Group Australia Reviews
Holm explains that most borrowers love Infinity Group Australia’s supportive approach. Clients can go to work and spend time with their families while knowing that the bills are taken care of. This removes a great deal of stress.
Infinity Group Australia reviews confirm that Holm and his staff help ease their clients’ financial concerns. Customers emphasize that Graeme Holm and his team are friendly. They genuinely care about their clients’ families and make the process comfortable. Client Rachel Ninham says, “The kids are happier because we are happier, less stressed, have fun, and laugh again.”
Families also credit Infinity Group Australia with helping them reach their loftiest financial goals. “An expert told us that we were not in a position to buy an investment property. Since joining Infinity, we have four and own our own home,” say Andrew and Karene Shephard.
NRL player Jayson Bukuya says, “Thanks to the Infinity team, we’ve now purchased our first family home, which we never thought we’d be able to do.”
Collaboration and Customer Service
So what is the key to all this success? Graeme Holm says collaboration has played a key role in bringing his idea to life. “Through collaboration, we find that people and ideas are stronger. We have a strong culture within our business and we encourage employees to fill the suggestion box, share innovative ideas, and collaborate with other industry professionals,” he explains.
Excellent customer service, too, has been instrumental in the growth of the business. Infinity Group Australia provides customer-centric products and services, and they are devoted to creating a positive customer experience. “Our entire business is now guided by CX and we most recently won the Customer Experience Management Award’s 2018 ‘Overall Best Organization CX’ in Australia.”
Infinity Group Australia also gets involved with the community, giving away a Jeep and a $30,000 home renovation, providing need-based dance studio scholarships, and sponsoring the Cronulla Sharks. (That same year, the Cronulla Sharks went on to win their first NRL Premiership, perhaps coincidentally.)
In addition to collaboration and customer service, emerging trends in Fintech excite Holm. Moving forward, he plans to combine Fintech with CX “to deliver exceptional customer-centric outcomes.” Holm uses Fintech, specifically My Prosperity, to manage his clients’ financial performance and monitor his own financial position.
A Day in the Life of Graeme Holm
In his own life, Graeme Holm applies the same principles of positivity and productivity that drive his business. He starts the day with physical and mental exercise (reading a book or listening to a podcast). He also maintains a personal schedule that is divided into 30-minute increments to maximize productivity.
Holm separates daily tasks into two categories: transactional and transformational (things that will change his business). Transactional tasks are delegated to appropriate staff, while Holm attends to transformational tasks himself.
After evening client meetings, Holm creates a list of his top five transformational actions for the following day. “Before saying goodnight, I make a commitment to these actions. Nothing gets in the way of these five goals.”
One productive habit Holm recommends to others is dealing with the most difficult order of business to start the day. “If you tackle the most difficult thing first each day, it will propel you into the day with confidence and charisma. You will walk a little taller and speak a little more confidently,” he says.
Advice to Entrepreneurs
Holm says his most significant business hurdle to date has been “finding equally passionate and genuine industry talent.” He advises other entrepreneurs, “Stay true to your passion and success. Stop searching and focus on your core objective. The right talent will present itself, and it is usually when you’re not looking at all.”
Aspiring entrepreneurs also shouldn’t be afraid to offer value for free, Holm says. Offering a business owner a free consultation to reduce expenses or increase productivity may land you a paid consulting opportunity within the firm. “My personal motto is if I have delivered so much value for free, imagine what value is aligned with my paid service offering!”
When asked for a book recommendation, Holm names The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli. He reads it at least twice a year. “I highly recommend this for all entrepreneurs,” he says. “It mentions one of the most profound business shifts I have ever experienced.”
Since Infinity Group Australia’s humble beginnings with a couple of desks, the business has expanded to include five locations, one dedicated specifically to sports and entertainment. The company has won numerous awards in customer service, innovation, and more.
In the future, Graeme Holm and Infinity Group Australia will continue coaching Australian families to financial fitness and secure futures.
UPDATE: Infinity Group Australia Has Been Recognized by AFR
The Australian Financial Review (AFR) has ranked Infinity Group Australia as the number 58 most innovative company in its 2018 prestigious list.
Australian Financial Review, in collaboration with Inventium, developed a way of recognizing best performing companies across Australia and New Zealand. Seven years ago, they started publishing a list of companies that passed a tight vetting procedures.
Over time, the list has gained recognition and become a prestigious list companies strive to appear in. Out of over 1,000 companies that went through the vetting, Infinity Group Australia emerged in the top 100 most innovative companies.
In a statement, Graeme Holm expressed their excitement for the achievement and was grateful to the AFR and Inventium. He continued to congratulate his team for doing things in a different way and he expressed how honorable it was to appear in the list. He said that their debt reduction, ongoing budgetary platforms as well as service offering innovation had secured them a spot in the prestigious list.
With over 15 years of experience in the financial industry, Graeme is dedicated to keeping honesty in banks, growing his company even bigger as well as impacting the lives of Australians positively.