Black Consignment Shops Are In, Retail Stores Are Out

January 13, 2012  |  

by Charlotte Young

Who needs the hottest designer labels when you have to pay rent, bills and the job market is still slow? There’s no doubt about it— the economy is helping people realize which expenses are really important. While shopping is still necessary for some, going to the mall isn’t. Fox Business reports that consignment shop small business owners are seeing a rise in consumers selling their unwanted clothing and as a result, there’s also a rise in resale.

“In this economy, I watched women of all walks of life willing to go into consignment stores rather than go to Nordstrom,” Consignment shop owner Denise Jonasz told Fox Business. “They accept the downward economy with dignity and still look beautiful.”

Jonasz owns Pure Couture in Haddonfield, NJ, and in her four years of dealing with the consignment business, she’s seen a steady increase in sales each year. She’s not alone. Fox Business observes that consignment shops have seen an increase across the board.

Women are selling more of their clothes to consignment shops, creating more of a selection. Tamara Fluhr-Gates of Michael’s the Consignment Shop for Women in Manhattan, attributes the success not only to the poor economy, but also to the fluidity of the product.

She notes that her shop sells 80 percent of what they take in within the first 30 days. According to her, because these small shop owners aren’t chained to the product they buy, they have the ability to change prices and to decide what they want to sale. For them, she notes that the consignment model is a win-win.

Economy and inventory aren’t the only keys to consignment success. Location is also important. Proximity to stay-at-home moms and foot traffic is what drives business. Shop owner Leslie Wallach believes she would make 50 percent less if her Los Angeles business was a few blocks further west.

There’s also a changed perception in consignment shopping. “When I first started the business people were embarrassed to say they were buying things from a consignment shop,” Myrna Skoller told Fox Business. “But now they are proud of it…it is almost a status symbol to say you saved the money.”

Skoller is the proud owner of the consignment shop Designer Resale, also in Manhattan. She’s been in business for 21 years and says this is the best year they’ve had. Recently she secured 75 garbage bags containing over 3,000 designer shoes and clothing items.

For her, “honesty and integrity are the most important things and everything else follows.”

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