The Business of Consignment with Heather Jones
STYLE: Tell us about your fashion experience and what lead you to the business of consignment.
HJ: I have a degree in Fashion Marketing & Merchandising. I've worked in a number of different facades of the fashion industry ranging from model booking to business consulting. I am a fashion stylist as well. I work with personal clients as well celebrities. I have also been assisting clients in selling their high-end goods for about 7 years. I have owned my boutique for just 5.
STYLE: We think consignment is one of the best luxury shopping hacks. However, it used to have a negative connotation. People would shop discretely because of the stigma of shopping for used items. What do you think has changed?
HJ: Yes, it has changed considerably. I think with the surge of off-price department stores, websites like Guilt, helped consignment become more accepted. Also, the fact that fashion is ever-evolving and finding the means of affording those wardrobe upgrades. Consignment is a vessel for many fashion enthusiast. Therefore it is no longer taboo. Besides, not all consignment merchandise is used. Some things are new, out of season pieces that were missed the first time around. A lot of limited editions and sample pieces make their way into our market. Pieces that may no longer available at retail. Consumers have become more savy making full use of consigning creating additional income by selling their unwanted items on consignment. This surplus cash can be used to invest in wardrobe upgrades and other expenses. I think luxury consumers these days really appreciate that aspect of the consignment business.
STYLE: What are some tips for new consignment shoppers?
HJ: Each consignment store is very different. As an avid shopper, as well as founder of my own consignment shop, I've come to realized this. You'll find shops that cater to an older demographic, selling more formal and conservative pieces - to shops that deal specifically with eclectic and more costume items. Shops like mine that offer a wide range of merchandise including super high end to mid-tier labels for consumer of every age. It is best to do your research on what type of merchandise each store carries before visiting their location.
STYLE: How do you select the merchandise for your location?
HJ: I truly follow the fashion zeitgeist when buying. I have an extremely diverse clientele ranging from college students to middle aged fashion enthusiasts - both male and female. You can only imagine how difficult it is to appease them all. I have to stay in- tune on product knowledge as well as the ability to forecast trends. I think I've done a great job with that at Trunk Show Designer Consignment. I offer a wide selection of merchandise. My item selection ranges from current items sold at luxury retailers; to more novelty or unique pieces that are trendy but, a few years older. I think most of customers appreciate my "eye" and I believe that translates through the hip and trendy vibe of my shop.
STYLE: What made you decide on a physical location rather than online?
HJ: It was not until VERY recently that I adjusted to shopping online. I am more of a hands-on shopper. I enjoy that tangible aspect of making a purchase in an actual store. I like to feel fabrics, check lighting, and simply try things on. Although e-commerce is a really booming business, I think creating an atmosphere for shopping luxury consignment has given me leverage in the industry. I feel the option of an in-store experience is all well appreciated by my customers. Additionally, it has given me the opportunity to actually meet the wonderful people who support me and my business. This is really important for me as an entrepreneur.
STYLE: Describe the TSDC shopping experience.
HJ: We also offer personal shopping services, styling advisement, and closet overhaul services to our clients as additional services under our consignment business. I am super hands on with every aspect of my business. I try handle every single consignment appointment personally, and make an effort to sell every single item myself. It helps me understand people and consumers in general. Everyone has their individual fashion needs. When shopping with me, I really take the time out to understand. I want to be clear on what my customers are looking for and try to fulfill that. Whether its purchasing their first designer handbag, or investing a new pair of fall boots, I try to make sure that every purchase is the perfect fit for the buyer. It's more than just making a sale, its building relationships and creating a "quasi" personal stylist experience. I want clients to know that Trunk Show Designer Consignment has taken time to fulfill their needs.
STYLE: Where do you see your business in the next 3 years?
HJ: I initially started my business in Harlem, I grew up here and I wanted to cater to the fashion void in my community. As I develop my brand and expertise I feel the demand for my services are growing. I am considering a more showroom style space in another part of NYC. (to-be-determined). I want to really focus on the online business as it contributes to about 70% of our sales at this current moment. We will be creating a more savvy e-commerce site to accommodate the demand. Our new showroom will focus on the services that we offer -exclusively by appointment.
STYLE: What Luxury Hacks can you offer our readers?
HJ: 1) Wait for the sales, if you can. Almost all designer merchandise goes on sale. However, some items will sell out indefinitely, so learn to decipher what you should wait for and what you should jump on asap.
2) Know what to invest in. With fast fashion, luxury consumers are mixing and matching high-low priced pieces to create an ultra luxe look. I'd say always invest in designer handbags, blazers, coats/jackets, and shoes. You can find great deals on these wardrobe essentials at sample sales or shopping consignment of course.
3) Don't cheat yourself, treat yourself. This goes back to my previous hack. Some of my customers will try to psych themselves out of investing in a classic silk Prada blouse sold at my shop for $100, for a chiffon version for $40 at H&M that won't survive the fashion cycle beyond the next 2 years. As you begin to build your wardrobe you want to increase longevity in the pieces that you buy. Look out for amazing silhouettes and fabrics, and don't be afraid to add a little extra cash to your shopping budget to make those things attainable. Invest in well made designer classics so that they will carry you through the years.
Thank you Heather for chatting with us. Xo!
Follow Heather Jones on Instagram @hfashionista
Follow Trunk Show Consignment on Instagram @tsdc_