August 2012

Consignment Shopping Stylish, Smart

Author: Special To C2 Magazine

Once upon a good economy, people didn’t flinch when paying full retail for a designer label or think twice before purchasing an expensive outfit for their precious child who might wear it only a handful of times before outgrowing it. Today, consumers are savvy and smarter with their hard-earned cash, and many are discovering consignment shopping. When you shop consignment, you are able to purchase designer clothing and accessories at greatly reduced prices, helping you stay within your budget. You will find amazing designer pieces at a fraction of their retail value.

Consignment shops today are different from what they were in the past. Stores are no longer filled with old merchandise no one would be caught wearing or using. Most carry a wide selection of quality pieces in great condition. In fact, some items have never been used and still have tags on them.

Most consignment stores have a primary focus such as women’s and men’s apparel, furniture and home accessories, or children’s clothing. They accept merchandise on a consignment basis, paying owners a percentage when and if the items are sold. Most pay consignors from 40 to 60 percent of the selling price and have a policy of displaying goods for anywhere from 60 to 90 days, although policies vary widely. Some resale shops also purchase additional items outright from individual owners and/or wholesalers.

You never know what treasure you will find in a consignment shop or where an item may have originated. Whether it’s a statement necklace or a vintage handbag, you’ll find unique pieces no one else has. And wearing something unique that flatters you is what fashion is all about.

It’s also the sustainable thing to do. Shopping consignment is one of the most efficient ways to recycle clothing, accessories and even furniture. It’s all about owning a quality item, in great condition for less.

Consignment shopping is also perfect for special events. Black tie events and weddings often put us in a tizzy. Most women don’t have gowns or dresses that are appropriate for a special occasion just lying around. Who wants to spend a ton of money on something we will probably wear only once?

Tips for successful consignment shopping:

-Pay attention to the tags. Lots of resale shops use color-coded price tags to tell when an item was brought in to the shop, which relates to pricing. For example, all red tag items may be 50 percent off, all yellow tags 25 percent off, and blue tag items may be new arrivals selling for the full price on the tag. Ask a sales person to explain the store’s system.

-Shop early in the season. For the best selection, shop early in the season. Resale shops take summer items starting as early as March, and if they are very busy, they may sell the best items before summer actually starts!

-Try it on. Don’t trust the size on the item’s label. Different brands size their items differently, so you should always try on the items before buying, as most consignment shops have very strict return policies.

Beyond clothes
-Fabulous furniture and household accessories can also be found in consignment stores. Furniture consignment stores (especially in the Hilton Head area) have great finds, including rugs, lamps, artwork, end tables, dining room tables and more that won’t break the bank. Here are some tips:

-Carry a list of what you’re looking for with ideal dimensions for each piece. Be sure to measure the clearance of doorways and stairs in your house. Keep a measuring tape with you.

-If the consignment store does not offer delivery of large pieces, you will need to arrange your own shipping. Ask the store for recommendations. Most stores will allow you to keep your purchase at the store for up to a week until you can arrange pick up.

-Inspect furniture carefully. Sit on chairs to test for comfort, loose joints or wobbly legs. Open doors and drawers to check for any sticking, broken parts or damaged or missing hardware. Shop owners inspect merchandise before accepting it, but sometimes they miss something, so double check.

-Value design above finish or upholstery, which can be changed. If it’s not an antique, imagine how paint or a slipcover can create a fresh personality. Be creative!

Consignment stores want to know you

Relationships can go a long way toward making your furniture or clothing consignment store shopping experience a pleasant one. Form relationships with the owner or the staff—the people who are in the shop every day and can keep an eye out for sizes or styles that you are looking for. Sign up for the store’s mailing list to receive sale notices and other information.

On Hilton Head Island:

Chella D
841 Wm. Hilton Pkwy.,
Suite D
( South Island Square)

Classic Consignments
122 Arrow Road
(843) 842-4041
Fabulous Finds for U
1230B May River Rd. (Bluffton)

Forever Young
51 New Orleans Rd.
(Next to Asian Bistro)

Furniture Solutions 151
151 Arrow Rd.

Lists to Go
A list of local consignment boutiques, thrift stores & coffee shops.

My Sister’s Closet
1020 William Hilton Parkway

The Stock Exchange
1401 Main Street Village

In Bluffton:

Hilton Head Consignment
1504B Fording Island Road

Kathy’s Closet
16A Palmetto Way

Vintage Market:
Home Furnishings on Consignment
4375 Bluffton Pkwy, Bluffton

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