Shop and Sell Consignment Like a Pro
Local boutique owners share their best tips to help you score a deal.
In college—when I was interning for free and spending my summer savings on books and rent—my family liked to joke that I had “champagne taste on a beer budget.” It’s true, especially when it comes to fashion. There’s something magnetic about the quilted print on a Chanel 2.55 bag, which evolved from Coco Chanel’s first purse design in the 1920’s (one that implemented the first-ever functional cross-body strap for women). And the D-shaped belt buckle on a Burberry trench coat, which gets its moniker from the the WWI soldiers holed up in trenches for whom the coat was originally designed.
Iconic pieces like these mean you can wear both art and history, but usually at a hefty price.
Enter consignment shops—which are not to be confused with thrift stores. Especially not the local boutiques whose proprietors have upped the ante to accommodate our area’s affluent tastes, going to great lengths to find gently used, designer items in near-mint condition.
For shoppers, half of the fun is relishing in the thrill of the hunt, but ultimately they want one thing: to look chic while saving money.
If you’ve never shopped at or sold through a consignment store before, it can be a tricky landscape to navigate. How can you be sure of an item’s authenticity? How do you know when a piece of merchandise has been marked down to the lowest price possible? How can sellers get the most money for their gently used items? For answers, we went straight to the source: local consignment shop owners. Here are their tips for fashionistas looking to score great deals or cash out their closets.
Owner: Carmen Lopez
Location: 2601 Wilson Blvd., Arlington
Stock in trade: High-end, luxury clothing and accessories with featured brands like Kate Spade, Jimmy Choo, Prada and more.
When does Current Boutique re-stock?
“New treasures are put out on the floor daily,” Lopez says. “However, I would say Friday is the best day. We aim to process and get all inventory out before the weekend. We also have a bunch of fashion bloggers who come in to consign and make several drop-offs all throughout the month, so if you happen to pop in a day or two after they drop off you will discover a goldmine of goodies!” Shoppers should follow local bloggers like Julien Garmen of It’s Julien and Natalie Pinto of The Fashionably Broke who tend to post on their social media if they’re making a big drop off.
Can shoppers haggle?
“We tend not to entertain haggling. If someone is looking for a discount then we encourage [them] to sign up for our email list. We send out discounts and promotions.”
When are your biggest sales?
“Black Friday, End of Summer Sale [in August] and the End of Winter Sale in January, where we take 20 percent off of everything in the store and have 50 percent off of select items. It’s a great time to snatch up incredible savings.”
How does Current ensure quality and authenticity?
“Our buyers are experts in quality. All clothing, handbags, shoes and accessories are triple checked for authenticity. We carefully inspect gemstones, gold and sterling silver jewelry pieces. We have expert buyers on staff who thoroughly inspect all items for serial numbers, stamps and craftsmanship to verify [that they are the real deal].”