The recession has dealt a blow to many businesses throughout the past two years and many consumers have changed gears when it comes to both discretionary and non-discretionary spending for the family. As the national economy begins to rebound, we wanted to how the consignment industry has fared and what the future looks like for the global second-hand marketplace. We interviewed a couple of consignment store owners to learn how their businesses fared and what role they feel their stores and the consignment industry as a whole will play in future shopping trends.
Has the recession of the past couple of years impacted your business positively or negatively?
“The recession has definitely had a positive impact on Just Between Friends” says President, Shannon Wilburn. “From 2009 to 2010, Just Between Friends saw a 40 percent increase in growth.” “Our gross sales system wide have more than doubled going from $6.8 million to $15.1 million as we added 44 franchises in the last two years bringing our total number of franchises to 108.” Wilburn believes the recession has fueled this growth, bringing them excellent franchisee candidates.
The recession has had a much different impact for Adriana Spitzer, owner of Bellissima Resale Boutique in Corona Del Mar, California. “The recession has affected my regular customers as well as consigners. Consigners are being very careful about how much they spend since their budget has been cut (a lady who could spend $10,000 a month, now has budget of $4,000). Also, they are keeping their items a little longer than before, and I saw for the first time some consigners shopping in my store (very wealthy ladies).”
What types of clients are you working with?
Shannon Wilburn says “Our shoppers and consignors are typically families in middle income America looking to save some money on their gently used children’s and maternity clothes, toys and baby equipment.” Just Between Friends offers children’s and maternity items so the clientele includes young families and even grandparents. “We have also seen an increase in participation of families who shop the more high-end stores,” Wilburn says.
At Bellissima Resale Boutique, Adrianna Spitzer says “clients are keeping their items a little longer than before,” and she noticed for the first time some unexpected consigners (very wealthy folks) shopping in her store.
What role do you think your store or consignment shops in general will play in future consumer-shopping trends?
Shannon Wilburn says her franchises grew more than 100 percent from 2009 – 2010. “Not only has our system grown in sales and franchisees, but we have also seen the same growth in the number of shoppers and participating consignors.” “The recession has put a spotlight on our industry and I do not think that the stigma of second-hand shopping exists to the extent that it did before the recession.” Shopping consignment is logical and more parents across the country are coming to realize that they can help their family’s bottom line by choosing consignment, especially when you can pick up the latest styles. Adriana Spitzer says, “I believe that consignment stores are going to be a very important part of the future economy because of the awareness of savings that can be found. There is no reason to pay regular price for designer items when you can find them for a quarter of the price at consignment boutiques.”
Just Between Friends – http://www.jbfsale.com
Bellissima Resale Boutique – http://www.bellissimaconsignment.com/