Let’s talk “making more” by converting your secondhand clothing into cold hard cash. Or helping other people sell their clothing and taking a cut. I’m talking about either selling your clothes at a consignment shop OR owning that consignment shop! I spoke with Sandra Packwood, owner of Do You Deja Vu in Warrenton, Virginia, to find out more.
How did you first get started in the consignment business and how many years has it been now?
I’ve been open 7 years and weathered all kinds of economies, and still my business – and those who consign with me – thrives. consigning with my store is a great, easy way for people to make money. I sell fabulous items at terrific prices.
Tell us how it works. A customer brings you a sack of clothes and what happens next?
I personally go through the items people bring me because I am the one who curates what we will and will not sell in my shop.
Let’s tell people what sells best. You’ve brought some bestsellers to our studio for me to check out. Tell us about these garments. What makes them such hot stuff? And how much can you sell them for?
The bestsellers by far are accessories like belts and scarves because they can fit most anyone. In addition, high-end designer items like Gucci do very well. But I also carry normal store brands like Ann Taylor because I want to appeal to a broad spectrum of clients.
You then put the clothes you accepted on display. Is there a time limit for how long you’ll try to sell them? And if something doesn’t sell, what do you do with it?
Yes, I limit the amount of time I leave things on display. I keep the store fresh. Customers have a choice of getting their clothing back or allowing me to donate it to several charities that I work with.
The women who consign through you, what are they doing it for? Spending money? Money to live on? What?
Some truly need the money. Others sell things so they can buy others and freshen their wardrobes. many live here and might like the opportunity to make some “mad” money, as one of my consignments calls it.
For those who might want to OWN a consignment shop rather than selling at one, what’s the most fun or satisfying thing about the business?
I am also a stylist, having worked for Jil Sander and Escada. Many of my customers walk through the door and announce, “Sandra, dress me!” And I do. Time and again.
Who would be more likely to consign through you than do what you do, how does the commission work? What’s your cut and what’s theirs?
A common commission in the business is 50/50. I also do 60/40 sometimes.
OK, Give me some examples of customers who have really scored and made significant money selling clothing at your shop.
One woman brought me a fur to sell and I cut her a check for more than $4,000.
And what about you, Sandra? Is owning a consignment shop a good living for you?
I am a single mother. I support myself and 3 kids. It’s a living in the high five figures for me. AND, more importantly, I am doing something I absolutely love.
Sandra Packwood, owner of Do You Deja Vous, already taught us how to sell at consignment shops. Now, she’s doing double duty by teaching us how to “Save More” by consignment shopping, as well!
So Sandra, the women who shop at your store, are their finances tight and they can’t afford to shop retail? Or are they upscale but like a bargain? What brings them in?
Both! I get all kinds of women of all different ages and means.
Do you find that some people have to get over the idea of wearing someone else’s “used’ clothes?
Rarely. Interestingly, the ones who are the most squeamish are teenage girls, perhaps because their parents have always bought them everything and they don’t understand the value of what they are getting.
What would you say to those folks to help them get over it?
Many of the clothes for sale in my shop are brand new with tags on. Others have been drycleaned. Everything is in top condition.
Now let’s talk about the deals people get when they shop at a store like yours., Give me 2 or 3 examples of what things would cost new versus what you sell them for.
Gucci scarf: Original price $500. Consignment Price: $222.
Kate Spade shoes: Original Price: $200. Consignment price: $39.
Kate Spade Dress: Original Price: $350. Consignment price: $129.
Would you say your shop is pretty typical as far as the percentage savings people can expect?
Yes, savings of 50-75%.
Do you think your customers wear your clothing on the down low and keep it a secret that they bought it at a consignment shop? Or do they brag about it?
Both! Some women tell me they get so many compliments. Some don’t tell because they don’t want their friends to come because they wear the same size and they don’t want the competition!