Anyone can tell you having a strong passion for what they do has elevated their level of excellence to serve others and be successful in business. We recently interviewed some Consignment Industry all-stars to find out what keeps their passion alive and why they wanted to get into the Consignment Business. Here’s what we learned:
Tracy True Dismukes has owned Collage Designer Consignment for 17 years and admits retail was not on her radar with an undergraduate degree in Finance and later earned an MBA while an Internal Management Consultant for a “top 20” bank holding company. “I really enjoyed the ‘thrill of the hunt’ I got from shopping at consignment shops. I had to dress like the executives I worked with, so shopping at consignment stores was a smart thing to do to stretch my budget.” With business on her mind, Tracy says, “I always thought I could do a better job than the stores where I was shopping, and there was something about the business model that I loved, you pay for what sells.”
Tracy thought this was a brilliant business model and says, “I didn’t have to sink a fortune into inventory that may or may not sell, the consignors bring in the merchandise for free!” As for the costs of doing business that are involved, she says, “It’s a pay as you go expense, and I also liked that I could go to market and buy the accessories that make last year’s dress look new and up-to-the-minute.” Fashion sense is good business sense, “Market is a great education on current trends and keeps the shop owner up on what items customers will be seeing at retail and what they cost in the retail marketplace.”
“I think so many people that start consignment shops like the idea of having their own boutique. For me, it was all about the business. When a fantastic Louis Vuitton bag comes in, I salivate not because I want to carry the bag myself, but because I know we can get a healthy price on that item!”
“From the time I began to work and earn money in High School I’ve enjoyed shopping in Consignment Stores,” says Jeanne Bingaman, owner of Nearly New Consignments Boutique. “The thrill of finding that perfect unique, “new or nearly new” item always kept me coming back for more!” Jeanne’s passion for the business became clear when she thought, “What better way to earn a living than to own a business in a space that I have always have fun supporting?” “There has always been a delight in finding exciting and unique clothing and accessories!”
Sometimes making it big in the business world doesn’t always begin with a passion, you might have to stumble upon something to discover you love it – and make it enjoyable for millions of others. In 1997 Shannon Wilburn, now CEO of Just Between Friends, was a young mom who had just started staying at home. “I really wanted to find a way to save some money – and at the same time recoup the investment on all of the many clothes that my children would outgrow having barely worn them (if at all).” Shannon recognized the same was true with toys and baby equipment. Shannon says she approached a friend of hers and had their first consignment sale in my living room in Tulsa, Okla. Shannon remembers, “We used the utensil drawer for a cash drawer!” Her brilliant consignment idea caught on quickly and in 2003 she franchised the concept. “Today we have 124 franchises in 23 states that each have two – sometimes three – sales a year. This year we expect our gross sales to top $20 million.”
What keeps your passion for consignment alive? Share your comments and feedback with us below!