Women paying less for pricey brands through consigning

Alexandria Keener hangs handbags at My Girlfriend's Wardrobe (Photo by Paul Kuehnel)

Alexandria Keener hangs handbags at My Girlfriend’s Wardrobe (Photo by Paul Kuehnel)

While consignment stores once faced a thrift shop stigma, women are now discovering their secret. Shoppers can score premium-brand items for a fraction of what they’d pay at a department store. And some of the items are new with tags.

Cindy Quick, owner of The Top Drawer in Springettsbury Township, said she’s seen women’s perception of consignment stores change drastically during her 15 years in business. Now, women who can afford to shop elsewhere choose consignment because they see it as a smarter choice.

“A lot of our regular shoppers aren’t people who would have to shop consignment because of the cheaper price,” Quick said. “We have women from all walks of life that buy and consign. They don’t do it because they have to; they do it because they want to.”

An increased awareness about recycling coupled with the economic downturn has also led to an upswing in consigning, Quick said. It’s not every day you can buy a Christian Louboutin handbag for a fraction of the retail price.

It’s that promise of finding luxury items at bargain prices that keeps women coming back to consignment. Alexandria Keener, co-owner of My Girlfriend’s Wardrobe in York, said women can purchase brands through consignment that would never fit into their budget otherwise.

“The biggest attraction is buying designer and name-brand items for a third or half of what they sell for in stores,” Keener said. “And if you take items in to consign, you can use your store credit to go shopping for new items.”

Where to start?

But the process of cleaning out a closet is daunting for many women who often don’t even know where to start. Keener recommends women sort their closet by season first, as consignment stores only take seasonal items throughout the year.

“You need to make sure you bring in clothing that’s appropriate for the season,” Keener said. “Otherwise, the shop won’t accept the clothing. Everything needs to be in like-new condition — no stains or holes. If it’s dated or pilling, the store won’t take it.”

The Top Drawer only accepts clothing styles from within the last two years, which is a major incentive for women to stay on top of cleaning out and organizing their closet on a regular basis.

For women who just can’t find the time — or the nerve — to tackle their closet, My Girlfriend’s Wardrobe offers a free closet clean-out service to women living in the York area.

“You just need a minimum of 10 items that we will definitely take,” Keener said. “They need to be like new or new with tags. If it’s a designer item, it has to be authentic.”

Once items are dropped off at the store, the consignment shop takes care of the rest. Consigners receive a check in the first full week of the month for items sold in the prior month.

“You’re saving money and getting items you can’t even tell are used,” Keener said. “You can get a Gucci handbag that retails at $2,000 for $600.”

Now that’s a markdown.

If you go

My Girlfriend’s Wardrobe is located at 14 N. George St., York. The shop also sells its consigned clothes online at www.mygirlfriendswardrobe.net. For more information, call 717-668-3020.

The Top Drawer is located at 2331 E. Market St., Springettsbury Township. The shop will soon begin selling its clothes online at www.thetopdrawerconsignment.com. For more information, call 717-840-3844.

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