With more than 25,000 consignment retailers in this country, it’s hard to deny the trend of frequenting these often upscale stores is much more than a fad. Where else can you buy a brand new (soles never even saw the floor) pair of Louis Vuitton shoes with a regular, retail price tag of over $1,200 for a scant $195.00 (in original dust bag/box)?
Consigning can be an incredibly lucrative business for the store owner, the consignor (the individual whose items are for sale) and a FANTASTIC buy for a savvy shopper.
Not all consignment stores are created equal though and it pays to “sift” through their items and have a conversation about how they verify authenticity, etc. There are nearly as many different types of stores as their are brands on the market today, all of whom cater to a specific niche. Some focus strictly on high end “labels” such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Chloe, Prada, Jimmy Choo, Bottega Veneta, Manolo Blahnik, Gucci (you get the idea) while others choose to carry lines more in keeping with the needs and budgets of a broader range of prospective customers.
About eight years ago I sold some items I no longer had use for on eBay and while I was successful in parting company with said items, I was riddled with questions along the way by my potential “buyers”, had to do the whole pack/ship thing after the sale completed and follow up to make sure they were happy with the items they purchased from me. Great idea right, but then eBay changed, their fees did as well and it wasn’t as attractive to me as a potential “seller” as it once was. That’s when I discovered my local consignment stores, Encore Plus in Deerfield Beach is amongst the nicest I’ve been to (and I’ve been in Manhattan, Miami, San Francisco, Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Los Angeles-you get the gist). It’s not that much different from a lot of other things in life, the people you deal with make it a pleasure (or not) and the merchandise they choose to sell in their venue is determined by their quality standards, their stores concept of “designer” and how competitively they price their wares. I now deal with two stores in my area, Encore Plus (the owners are amazing one owned a tailoring business for years and the other worked in the fashion industry in Milan) for all the couture I have and must part with (or happen to spot there and cannot live without) or Consignment Exchange, also incredibly nice people with some items that fall into the high end category in addition to a wide assortment of more well-known brands such as Theory, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Andrew Marc, Donna Karan, EVERY type of denim imaginable. So now, instead of logging on and listing items, I determine which items will sell best at my favorite stops and make one trip to drop off what I no longer want/need and the checks come in the mail when an item sells. Some shops offer fine jewelry, others carry designer jewels, some specialize in handbags, a big trend I see coming now are for children’s clothes (more on that in another article).
Many of these “gems” do not have an online presence due to the nature of the business, the turnover of merchandise is rapid and the number of employees is often too small to spend countless hours photographing and uploading. But the treasures they hold are untold and astounding. I urge you to shake any preconceived notions you may have about buying something someone else is looking to get rid of and realize the rewards that you ca reap by essentially shopping in some of the most exciting closets in the country and gaining access to what would be for many of us unattainable were it not for the DEEP discounts these purveyors of fine goods offer. You would be surprised how many Palm Beach socialites not only sell, but, BUY from consignment retailers……
Men have a popular saying, “why buy the cow, when the milk’s so cheap” – I say, why pay needless markup when you can have your Jimmy Choo’s and the Manolo’s too???