Consignment Shops have been a part of towns and cities for decades. They serve a niche audience of buyers and sellers by providing fabulously frugal solutions for shoppers who want to dress to impress and sellers who realize the value in “recycling” their gently used clothing, jewelry and even furniture. In 2008, the economy and money markets began to slip, so was this the turning point for Consignment Shops to become more popular than ever? How have Consignment Shops fared since “The Great Recession” began, and how are they doing today as the country emerges from these difficult economic challenges? We interviewed a few prominent and veteran Consignors in the industry to get their insights, here’s what they had to say:
Jeanne Bingaman of Nearly New Consignments Boutique in New Jersey says, “Knowing what fashion trends are popular, and especially having a thorough knowledge of designers is extremely important. Being able to identify and understand the subtleties of various designers has helped both the customer and the consignor receive the greatest benefits possible.” But there are still challenges says Bingaman, “As the economy has dipped, it has become more of a challenge to set pricing that satisfies both the customer and the consignor. Shoppers are looking for more and larger discounts, while consignors are hoping to make more money.”
Was the economic downturn a positive turning point for the Consignment Industry? Some think so. Tracy True Dismukes, Owner of Collage Designer Consignment in Birmingham, Alabama, says, “Consumers have been discovering consignment stores in a big way and these shops have been opening up in record numbers since 2008.” “In 2008, as the economy was tanking and recycling and going ‘green’ was coming back into fashion, we started our television show, Consignment Chic, to show people that even though their budget was tighter than ever, they could still maintain the standard of living they were accustomed to.” It seems a resurgence in shopping consignment and the idea of profiting from unused items was more than intriguing to a select few. “People started discovering that consignment stores were well merchandised, highly selective in what they carry and offer service that is rare to find in the mall, says Disumkes. Also, more and more people are cashing out their closets now, so not only are there more stores, there is also plenty of variety and selection of top-notch merchandise as well.”
Shannon Wilburn, Co-Founder of Just Between Friends says, “I believe the recession has led many people to consignment events or shops to make ends meet.” The changing economic climate has clearly brought strength in numbers. Wilburn says, “The main thing we have noticed is the continual growth. We have consistently seen 20 to 35 percent growth among our franchisees, located throughout the United States.” “I believe the recession has led many people to consignment events or shops to make ends meet, says Wilburn. “Once someone discovers consignment, it is difficult for to return to paying retail – even after their financial situation improves, so we anticipate that consignment events like ‘Just Between Friends’ will continue to thrive.”
How has your Consignment Store evolved over the past few years? Are you shopping more Consignment and less high-end department or specialty store retail? Share your comments and insights with us below!