The Consignment Shop Experience
High fashion at a bargain price
Don’t call it a thrift store. There’s nothing cheap about the high-end, lowcost clothes you’ll find at the area’s chic consignment shops.
What is a consignment shop?
As savvy, budget-conscious moms should know, a consignment shop is the place to go to score lavish secondhand designer clothing, shoes and accessories — think Gucci, Prada, Burberry — for 30 to 40 percent less than retail. It’s also where fashion-forward moms, as consignors, can make a profit on the closet-cluttering stuff they and their kids no longer wear or fit. Here’s how it works:
Consignment shop owners curate trends by agreeing to sell gently used secondhand items for consignors. The consignor owns the item until the shop sells it, at which point the profit is shared, usually in a 40/60 consignor/shop split.
Store policies vary, but merchandise typically remains on display for 30 to 90 days. “Shop frequently, because things change all the time,” advises Lise Esper, owner of 2nd Chance Resale in Bear, DE.
Reputable consignment shop owners adamantly uphold the quality of the items they accept to sell. Davida Levin, who’s owned Worn Yesterday, a dedicated children’s and maternity consignment shop in Manayunk, PA, for 27 years, is well regarded for her “eagle eye. My customers know I’ve already examined the items for spots and tears.”
“I’m very, very fussy,” says Sandee Straccione about the merchandise she selects to sell at Debutante’s Consignment Boutique in Moorestown, NJ. Only pristine condition will do for her elegant inventory of clothing and accessories, stuff like strappy Jimmy Choo sandals and Louis Vuitton handbags.
Why shop consignment?
Kids grow and styles change fast. Parents shop consignment to save money on quality clothes, toys and baby equipment, jewelry, school uniforms, dance gear and formal or special occasion wear.
“I look for quality brands I couldn’t afford otherwise and trendy stuff that I’d rather not pay big bucks for,” says MK reader Laura Kelleher, who frequents Bella Boutique in Chester Springs, PA.
“I do almost all my shopping at consignment,” says Natalie Adamcewicz- Wipf, a 2nd Chance Resale customer. “I’m especially on the lookout for shoes for my daughter; her feet grow faster than the rest of her.”
For Michele Horvath, a fan of Best Dressed for Less in Columbus, NJ, consignment offers a less-costly way to garb her clothes-finicky daughter. “If it ends up being a bad choice, at least I didn’t pay full price for it. And with any luck, my younger daughter will wear it one day.”
That someone else will wear it one day is the perennial goal of consignment. “It’s a green way to shop,” says Levin. “No matter if it’s a Prada diaper bag or a pair of size 2 boys True Religion jeans, we’re always recycling.”
Janet Tumelty is a South Jersey freelance writer.