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5 Tips for Fashionably Shopping Resale

The resale/thrift/consignment markets have boomed since the recent economic downturns, and since so many women decided to follow their dreams and open their own “boutiques.”  According to the Association of Resale Professionals, “The resale market is blossoming thanks to value-conscious consumers.  With an increasing awareness of the importance of reducing pointless waste, we are progressing from a disposable society to a recycling society – a change that has enormous potential for the resale industry as a whole…after all, resale is the ultimate recycling.”


This is one of the many reasons, Dallas, a local resale boutique owner went into the business.  Other reasons included her love of the fashion industry and lack of job openings in her area of study when she and her family came here from another city for her husband’s job.  She is one of the many stories of the women in our area who run these boutiques.  Marilyn is a single mother and her shop has provided for her family.  She has faced many trials, but seen it through and become a neighborhood friend. Next to her cash register is a small sitting area, where I will at times rest and visit with Marilyn and her customers.

You will see many tips for shopping resale.  Always give yourself time to inspect the garment closely; take time to try clothes on; look for your favorite brands or designers; and if you love it, buy it (the garment won’t stick around).  But, I think the number one tip should be to make the shop owner or employees some of your very best friends.  Here’s why:

  1. I have to say at the top, you will probably make true friends for the women themselves. I have so enjoyed sending business to and supporting the ladies I have met…they are dynamic businesswomen and love the small shop, personal touch.  Another shop owner, Linda, has now created a resale empire in our city with furniture and clothing…three impressive locations.
  2. They will let you know which days they like to restock.
  3. You can tell the owners which brands or items you are looking for and ask for a call or email if they come into the shop. “If someone comes in with amazing size 9 boots, give me a contact!”
  4. Most of these shops do not have return policies, but if you are close to the owner, something can be worked out. The same goes for a layaway plan…most do not have them, but for a key customer or friend, something often can be done.
  5. A friendship or relationship sometimes gives you bargaining power. At least, you can ask them to contact you when the garment is going through a mark down or hitting the deep discount rack at the back of the store.

What I love most about these shops is the feel of great service and community.  These ladies understand developing a loyal customer base with great service and a smile will keep their business thriving.  I really love talking fashion with them and even helping to style a customer or two.  Supporting women and business is so worthwhile for all of us, and it doesn’t hurt our wardrobes either!  Go out and make some new friends this week!

Is anyone else a loyal consignment shopper?  Please…tell us what you have learned!

Thanks for stopping by my own little boutique on the Midlife Boulevard.  Have a wonderful week!

midlife boulevard, columnist, midlife women, middle-age, midlife crisis

Pamela Lutrell

Pamela Lutrell began her blog, over50feeling40, July 2010 with a desire to encourage women over 50 to walk in strength, confidence and joy. Of course, head turning style makes each day fun!

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Tuesday 7th of October 2014

All great tips Pam! I love to consignment/thrift shop, but you really need to spend time to find those gems. I would love to own a store like this one day - a dream of mine!


Tuesday 7th of October 2014

It is so great because you really never know what you will find!! Thanks for the great tips Pam!

xoxo Karen The Arts by Karena


Tuesday 7th of October 2014

Yes, I am certainly a consignment shopper. LOVE the thrill of the hunt! Pam, I have so very much wanted to open one of these boutiques myself. I love the concept of offering great fashions for an affordable price, and to work in an enviroment where women are there to enjoy themselves and find treasures - there are so many things you could do to enhance that experience for them. It is on my back burner as I watch the changes in healthcare and wonder how long I will have my current job. But I am a consignment shopper through and through! You nailed it about establishing relationships. I tend to go back to the shops where the owner is present. There are some around here that have different employees each time you go, they are on their cell phones, not engaging, you know how that goes.

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