According to an L.A.-based vintage pop-up the appeal of consignment shopping comes partly from the ability of consignment shops and dealers to respond quickly to new trends.
“ The traditional runway to retail calendar has a problem with response time,” Wainwright said. “We’re seeing collections 6 months before they hit the stores, and by that time we’re bored with them and excited about the next season. Vintage shop and dealers can respond much quicker to trends and curate an aesthetic that isn’t tied to a specific season.”
Besides curating a fashionable look, 16-18% of Americans shop at thrift stores in a year. 11.4% shop at factory outlet malls, 19.6% at brand-based stores and 21.3% shop at department stores. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering consignment.
What Are Consignment Shops?
Consignment shops use a specific type of buying and selling model. A “seller” gives their goods to the shop. Payment for their goods happens once sold. If items do not sell in a set amount of time, the items return to the seller.
Why not eBay?
Why not sell clothes and accessories on the Internet? There’s eBay, Craigslist and the hugely popular Facebook community sale sites. The difference is the curator and the customer. eBay charges significant fees for items. It also requires significant work on the part of the seller. There’s a gamble that an item will sell much lower than the seller would like if the auction doesn’t get much activity.
Craigslist is a free option for selling. People looking to score goods cheaply use it. It’s unlikely that someone is looking for a Hermès bag on eBay or Craigslist. Getting a fair price for that designer bag or dress, thus, is much more difficult. Facebook groups yield offers to pay far less for your goods than they are worth.
Consignment shops are in most towns, even small ones. Shop staff know their clientele and what they seek. Using a high end consignment shop means working with staff who know the actual value of your items. They want to make money which means that you, in turn, make the most for your items. You can reinvest in new and barely used high fashion products.
Consignment Shops Online
More consignment shops are popping up online. Ship your items for free to sellers who already have an online presence. With 80% of Americans shopping online you boost your earning potential considerably.
Consignment has huge benefits:
- Wardrobe Editing & Staying Organized. The average woman has over $500 of unworn clothing in her closet not counting accessories and shoes. Even if she is not interested in profiting from them that is space that is being taken up by unworn items. This can lead to clutter. It is difficult to stay on top of clutter when there is extraneous stuff in the way. The benefits of consignment are not just making money. It also gives your closet room to breathe and be better organized.
- Ethical Consumption & Ethical Elimination. Consumers are aware of their buying and discarding habits. Consignment shops reduce waste. Instead of throwing items out, selling them through consignment allows someone else to use them. It also brings a return on the investment. Purchasing an unworn item already in circulation, or one that is gently worn, is the new recycling.
- Stay On Trend. Consignment shops are perfect for the fashion forward. Keep an up to date wardrobe with the highest quality clothing for less money. An item that isn’t worn is consigned for a financial return. Reinvest this in your wardrobe.
Tips & Tricks for Getting The Most for your Items at Consignment Shops
If consignment sounds like something you’d like to try be sure to follow our tips to get the most return on your investment.
Make Smart Selections. Look for the high end items you don’t wear. This can be a gown you wore for an event, items you didn’t return, or a purse that looked better on the shelf than on your arm. Chances are you have clothing, jewelry, shoes, bags and more that fit this description.
Don’t Just Bring In Items. Whether visiting consignment shops, having a consignment expert come to your home or selling via online consignment shops there are steps to take ahead of time.
- First, get items properly cleaned (steamed, dry cleaned, etc).
- Second, be sure to ask the cleaner to check all fastenings, seams and give the items a sprucing up if necessary. For example, tighten or replace buttons if necessary.
Do Your Research. Don’t just go to the consignment shops closest to you. Research shops, online or in person, that carry items like yours. Is the shop visited by a clientele that would seek out items like those you are selling?
Time To Consign
Is it time for you to edit your wardrobe and make the most of the items you don’t use? Here are a few final thoughts.
Our Favorite Consignment Shops
New York City
Michael’s: The Consignment Shop for Women
- Upper East Side/1041 Madison Ave
- High end. No second or third tier labels. For example, they will take Donna Karan but not DKNY.
- Items must be in pristine condition.
- Nothing more than two years old unless Chanel, Hermes, Pucci
- Seller receives 50% of the selling price which drops 20% every thirty days. At 90 days the selling price lowers to 50% of the original selling price.
- They accept items via mail.
- East Village/180 First Ave
- High end (Chanel, YSL, Prada)
- Consider making an appointment if you’d like the buyers’ full attention. Eleven has an exceptional staff; it’s worth building a relationship with them if you have top labels to sell.
- There is a buy on the spot option that allows for store credit.
- Consign rate is 50% of Eleven’s sale price
- Pro tip: do not judge them by their website, this place is a gem!
Fisch for the Hip
- Chelsea/90 Seventh Ave
- Celebrities love Fisch thanks to its selection of designers like Chanel and Gucci.
- Appointments required when consigning.
- They accept in-season designer items in pristine condition. They pay 50% of the price at which the item sells.
- Upper East Side/1132 Madison Ave
- High end. Encore prefers items that are within a few years old.
- A contract states the starting price for your items. The duration of the contract is three months but there is an option to add one more month.
- The seller gets 50% of the selling price.
- Items less than $400 get marked down 20% after a month; those priced at more than $400 get marked down after 2 months.
- Contracts with a fourth month get 50% taken off the selling price after three months.